Nov. 15 Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News

Linette Watkins


Linette Watkins

Mary Linette Harwood Watkins, 79 of Raleigh, passed away peacefully at The Oaks at Mayview on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at 7:45 a.m. Her loving husband Frank and her family have been by her side during a multi-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Linette was born in West Asheville, on July 3, 1939.

Linette is survived by her husband, Frank Watkins; son, Hardin Watkins and wife Liz Jackson; son, Battle Watkins and wife Shannon Watkins; four grandchildren, Graham Watkins, Noah Watkins, Lottie Watkins, and Corrie Watkins; and sister, Linda Harwood Crawford of Weaverville, NC. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray Harwood and Marguerite Cambron Harwood of West Asheville, NC.

She graduated from Lee Edwards High School in Asheville, attended Mars Hill University, and received her bachelor’s degree in education from Appalachian State University. She loved being an elementary school teacher with a career that spanned over 35 years primarily in Buncombe County and Henderson County Schools. One of her proudest moments was being named Teacher of the Year at Dana Elementary School at the pinnacle of her career.

She was a faithful and devoted member of French Broad Baptist Church for over 37 years and proudly served as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and church librarian. Her passion for crafts is evident in the numerous macrame, ceramic, cross-stitch, painted and sewn items that she made and shared through the years. She spent countless hours devotedly attending sporting events and school functions with and in support of her children and grandchildren. Linette was a Tar Heel!

She loved the Lord her God with all her heart, mind and soul. She truly believed in the power of prayer. Her family and friends have been greatly impacted by her faithfulness.  With humility, Linette defined the selfless love of Christ and will be greatly missed by her family members, friends, and former students.

A celebration of life service was held on Nov. 10, at French Broad Baptist Church in Hendersonville, with the Reverend Kemuel Pruitt officiating.

The family received friends on Nov. 9, at Harwood Home for Funerals ( in Black Mountain.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the Mars Hill University Advancement Office, Attn: Karen Hedrick, P.O. Box 6792, Mars Hill, NC 28754.  Mars Hill College provided scholarship aide to Linette that enabled her to attend college, and it would delight her to enable others to have the same opportunity in the future. 

Jean Stewart

Black Mountain

Jean Stewart

Jean Fritts Stewart, 91, died Nov. 2 at home in Black Mountain. She was the wife of the late William Kenneth Stewart, Sr. (1997) and the daughter of the late William Everett and Georgie Greear Fritts. She is survived by her children Ken Stewart, Jr. of Apopka, FL; Kerry Stewart Barretta of Black Mountain; Kathy Stewart of Winter Park, FL; Karyl Stewart of Johns Island, SC; and Kelli Stewart of Savannah, GA; her grandchildren Kendon Barretta and wife, Taylor, of Black Mountain, NC and Hali Tauxe-Stewart of Tallahassee, FL; her brother, David Fritts and his wife, Marie, of Savannah, GA;  and a host of nieces, nephews, and step-grandchildren.

Jean was born in Savannah but lived in many places- the Bahamas, where she raised her five island-loving children; Puerto Rico; and many locations along the Southern Atlantic Coast. Not surprisingly she loved the water and enjoyed water skiing, scuba diving, sailing, fishing and crabbing. She was an avid golfer and gardener. Jean was a servant of her church and family – she will be remembered for the many acts of love and kindness she shared not just with them, but generously among all she came upon who were in need.

A memorial service was held at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church, in Savannah, GA at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10.

Remembrances may be made to Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church, 1008 Henry St., Savannah, GA 31401 or Christ Community Church, P.O. Box 279, Montreat, NC 28757.

John Wrenn


John Wrenn

John L. Wrenn, 77, of Asheville, passed away Nov. 4, 2018.

Mr. Wrenn was born Nov. 17, 1940 in Buncombe County to the late George and Betty Wrenn. John was self-employed in the rental property industry and he was a member of Friendship Presbyterian Church.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his brother, George Wrenn.

John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jeanette Blalock Wrenn; special nieces and nephews, Grover Rose (Dave) of Florida, Cynthia Phillips (Jeff) of Old Fort, Karen Stewart (Jerry) of Fletcher, Sharon Wrenn (David) of Asheville, Kim Berlage of Black Mountain, George Wrenn (Cindy) of Hendersonville, and Todd Woods of Swannanoa; and sister, Dale Woods of Asheville.

The family received friends at Harwood Home for Funerals on Nov. 7. A celebration of life service followed, with Rev. James Lamb officiating. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery.

At other times, the family will be at the Wrenn residence.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to CarePartners Hospice and the caregivers from Home Instead.

Memorial donations may be made to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, 38 Glendale Avenue, Asheville, NC 28803.

Harwood Home for Funerals ( is assisting the family.

Grace Frizsell

Black Mountain

Grace Frizsell

Grace R. Frizsell, 80, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, Nov. 4.

She was born Sept. 15, 1938 in Yancey County to the late Thomas L. and Maude King Robinson.  She lived most of her life in Buncombe County.  Grace retired from Eaton Corp. then became co-owner of Appalachian Tool and Machine with her late husband, Kenneth E. Frizsell and her son, Eddie E. Frizsell.  She was a former member of Grove Stone Baptist Church and belonged to the Eastern Star Lodge #663 in Black Mountain.  Grace enjoyed golfing at the Black Mountain Golf Course with her many golf buddies whom she dearly loved. She loved her family and her extended family at Appalachian Tool and Machine.

In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by brothers, Lee and Floyd Robinson and sisters, Georgia R. Sams and Lois R. Grant.

Surviving are her son, Eddie and wife, Ann; grandchildren, Jamie and Travis Frizsell; step grandchildren, Heath and Katie Capps and Chuck and Kelly Sams; great grandchildren, Elin, Piper, Carson, and Parker; sister, Evelyn R. Frizsell; special niece, Cindy F. Ogle and many other nephews, nieces and cousins. 

The family greeted friends Nov. 7, 2018 from 12:00 to 1:00pm at Harwood Home for Funerals with a Memorial Service immediately following at 1:00pm, officiated by Rev. James Lamb.

Flowers are accepted or memorials may be made to the Black Mountain Women’s Golf Association.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals (  

Eric Loyn Howie


Eric Loyn Howie, age 48, passed away on Nov. 2, 2018 at his home in Arden. He was the son of the late William “Bud” Loyn Howie Jr and Laetitia Pressley Howie.

Eric grew up in the Grovemont community in Swannanoa with many lifelong friends. He graduated from Owen High school in 1988.

After high school he attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville where he received a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration. Eric was a lifelong supporter of the Owen Warhorses and the UNCA Bulldogs. Eric’s love of meeting and helping people lead to a career in car sales.

One of the joys in Eric’s life was the role of Cub Master of Montreat Pack 50. He loved leading the scouts in various activities and was proud of all the boy’s accomplishments.

Eric loved singing and praising the Lord. He was baptized at First Baptist Church Swannanoa and was a current member of Biltmore Baptist East campus.  He had served in many roles in church including Deacon and Greeter.

Eric was preceded in death by his father and mother, Bud and Laetitia Howie, grandmother Buela Howie, grandfathers William Loyn Howie Sr and Eugene Pressley. He is survived by a sister Kimberly Shelton, Asheville.

His greatest happiness was in the smiles of his children Eric Loyn Howie II and Ella Laetitia Howie who survive him.   

Geneva Ballew


Geneva Ballew

Geneva Louise Ballew, 94, of Weaverville, NC, passed away November 4, 2018 at CarePartners Solace Center.

Mrs. Ballew was born March 1, 1924 in Buncombe County to the late Stephen Wheeler and Connie Mae Lindsey Ballew. She was a member of Union Valley Freewill Baptist Church and retired from Vanderbilt Shirt Company.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by eight brothers and sisters, Paul, William, Fred, Earl and Jack Ballew, Elizabeth Ducker, Frances Fortner, and Eva Mae Hunter.

Geneva is survived by her son, Danny “Butch” Smeltzer (Elaine) of Nantahala Gorge; grandchildren, Sonny, Amanda (Bryan), and Becky; great grandchildren, Brooke, Blake, and Reece; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family received friends on Nov. 12, at Harwood Home for Funerals. A celebration of life service, officiated by the Rev. Darrell Roberts and Bud Lewis, followed immediately.

Burial was in Green Hills Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff of Emerald Ridge Care Center.

Harwood Home for Funerals ( is assisting the family.

Edna Robinson


Edna Robinson, 81, of Swannanoa passed away Friday, November 9, 2018.

Mrs. Robinson was born April 3, 1937 in Haywood County to the late John and Lela Littleton Sexton.

She retired from the Black Mountain Center with 20 years of service.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, James “Jim” Robinson; son, Jimmy Robinson and brother, Charles Sexton.

Edna is survived by her daughters, Debbie Robinson, Robbin Glenn and Darlene Robinson; sister, Shirley Biggs; brother, Jesse Lee Sexton; grandchildren, Misty Pasztor, Matt Robinson, Caleb and Jasmin Robinson, and Lucas Rumney; and great grandchildren, Aleighia and Adrianna Robinson.

The family would like to extend a sincere thank you to the staff and nurses of CarePartners Hospice for their loving care.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals (