July 25 Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News

James G. Knipstein

St. Simons Island, Georgia

James G. Knipstein

Retired Master Sargent, James G. Knipstein, passed June 29, 2019 at the age of 86.  

The big Texan from Corpus Christi sought adventure and travel by joining the United States Air Force out of high school. Jim was a flight engineer on Hercules C-130 transport aircrafts and loved flying search and rescue support for manned shuttle launches during the 60s. Jim was preceded in death by his wife Alene Penley and his son Paul Thompson. He is survived by his children Frieda Winter, Mary Becht (Chuck), Mark Thompson (Mary Helen) and Christine O’Brien (Joseph). 

He has ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren with one more on the way.  Jim loved family reunions, cooking for his grandkids and spending time with friends and family, perhaps a game of cards.  

He cooked a mean batch of tacos but was best known for his sweet potatoes soufflé at Thanksgiving. Jim was always a gentleman, never complained, had a noble heart, and genuine love for people.  

A Private Memorial will be held in the Fall with all his Children. We will miss you Dad/Grandpa!  In lieu of Flowers, please send donations to any Veteran’s Organization. 

Doris Mae Stroupe Clayton

Ocean Isle Beach

Doris Clayton

Doris Mae Stroupe Clayton, native of Asheville, NC, died peacefully with many of her family around her Sunday July 14, 2019, in Ocean Isle Beach, NC where she was residing. 

Doris was the daughter of the late Hermon Wesley Stroupe and Marie Gray Stroupe.  She was preceded in death by husband of fifty years, Reverend Robert G. Clayton; her son, Robert V. Clayton; her sisters, Edith Lee Easley, Hilda A. Sorrells, and Patricia Ann Coffee; and her brother, Wesley Stroupe.

She was proud of her family her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She was an active and involved Pastor’s wife teaching children’s Sunday School, Directing Vacation Bible School, singing in the choir, and spending many summers at Camp Caswell with youth groups.

Surviving her are:  daughter, Renee C. Griffin (Dean) of Ocean Isle Beach; son, Randall W. Clayton (Andrea); granddaughters, Kristen Griffin Alvarado and her daughter Annika, Jessica Leigh Griffin and her daughter Ryder, Robin Clayton Guzman (Leo) and their children Alexis and Tristan, and Richard and Morgan Clayton; sister, Marjorie Loven.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 5:30pm at Harwood Home for Funerals. The family will receive friends immediately following the service.

Many thanks to the Hospice team of Brunswick County who took care of our mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great grandmother. Flowers are not necessary, but if chosen, please send plants or wildflowers in honor of her love of living plants.

Memorials May be made to Hospice of Brunswick County or Gideons International.

Harwood Home for Funerals is assisting the family (

Charlotte Knoefel Sarti

Anderson, South Carolina

Charlotte Knoefel Sarti, 81, completed her sojourn on earth July 12, 2019 after a lengthy and courageous bout with dementia.  Prior to moving to Anderson 3 years ago, as a native of Buncombe County, she resided many years in Fletcher and Asheville, where she was most recently employed as an account manager with Golf Associates in Asheville. Charlotte was also an active and devoted member of the Mills River Presbyterian Church in Fletcher.

Charlotte was the daughter of the late A. Eugene Knoefel, Jr. M.D. and Marie Aline Knoefel of Black Mountain. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a son, Kevin Clark.  Surviving are her daughter Stacey Blackwelder and husband Perry of Hartwell, Georgia,  a son, Brett Clark and wife Teresa, of Las Vegas, Nevada and a brother, Gene Knoefel and wife Ellen of Weaverville.

The family wants to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the caring staff at the NHC Nursing Facility and Caris Hospice Care in Anderson, South Carolina for the loving attention, patience and caregiving they extended to Charlotte, especially in her latter months.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled and held later at the Mills River Presbyterian Church.  

In lieu of flowers the family requests any remembrances be a donation to a charity of your choice.

Earl James Kreisa, Jr.

Park City, Utah

Earl James Kreisa, Jr.

Pastor Earl James Kreisa, Jr. was born April 24, 1939 to Earl and Naomi Kreisa in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He passed away peacefully at the Beehive Home in Park City, Utah Thursday, May 23rd from complications of pancreatic cancer.  

Earl was a Presbyterian Pastor who performed over 200 weddings and even more baptisms. His ministry led him to be the Director of Mental Health in Northern Kentucky creating social programs for those who struggled with mental illness.  

His final ministry was alongside his wife of 49 years, Renee, as the executive director of the Presbyterian Home for Children in Black Mountain, North Carolina. During his 10-year tenure, he raised several million dollars and rebuilt the facility into family style homes that house over 100 children from unsafe or unhealthy home situations.

Earl’s passions included singing, his grandchildren, and the Green Bay Packers. One of his greatest performing moments was playing Emile De Becque in South Pacific at the Richmond playhouse.

Earl considered himself a seed planted 80 years ago now approaching a new place in the presence of God. He is preceded by his wife, Renee. He is survived by his children Karin Wilson (Brian), Jim Kreisa (Allison), and Elizabeth Riley (Eric), his sisters Alice and Susan, and his 6 grandchildren, Linden, Tom, Max, Reece, Summer and Dash.  

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Mountain Life Church in Park City, Utah at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.