Oct. 3 Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News

Mary Gregory 

Black Mountain 

Mary Gregory

 Mary Gregory, our precious and loving mama, nannie, sister, aunt and friend, passed away peacefully Sept.19, 2019.

A resident of Black Mountain most of her life, Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Reverend George and Jessie Reynolds, her husband and the love of her life for 70 years, Robert (Bob) Gregory, grandson Kenneth Gregory McMahan, sisters, Lucille Holland and Wilma Poteat, and brothers, Buster, Paul and Bill Reynolds.

She is survived by her children, Steve Gregory and Barbara and Ken McMahan; grandchildren, Jeff McMahan, Kendra (Mike) Littleton, Christy (Lee) Hoyle, Travas Gregory, Ashton (Hunter) Robinson; twelve great-grandchildren; sister, Patsy Rice; Godson, Ron Reynolds and several nieces and nephews.

Never meeting a stranger, she was a good and loyal friend to many and considered her Highland Farms friends her second family.

Mary will be remembered by her family as “our rock,” “our oak,” and the “glue” who has kept us together.  We will forever cherish the many memories that we have and give thanks always that God blessed us with her life.  A true inspiration, an encourager, a prayer warrior, and a role model of a Christian lady is her legacy.

The family received friends at Harwood Home for Funerals on Sept. 23. John Snell and Reverend Bill Henderson officiated. 

Internment was at the Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Flowers are accepted and appreciated, however; please consider memorials in her honor to the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, Hand in Hand, Inc. or to Black Mountain First Baptist Church.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals (

Barbara Sawyer


Barbara Sawyer

Barbara Sawyer (age 87) passed away peacefully at the Care Partners Solace Center on Sept. 22, 2019.

A resident of Swannanoa for the majority of her life. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, V.T and Manilla Jones; her brother, Joe Jones; and her son, Steve Sawyer. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Tom Sawyer; sister, Nancy Fleming; her son, Scott Sawyer; her daughter, Suzanne Sawyer Fitzgerald; daughter-in-law, Rene Sawyer; grandchildren Jon Fitzgerald Jr., Bailey Fitzgerald, Taylor Fitzgerald, Jackson Sawyer, Scarlett Sawyer, Jordan Sawyer, and Danielle Sawyer.

Barbara was a proud graduate of Swannanoa High School (Class of 1950) and worked as a secretary for Buncombe County Schools at W.D. Williams Elementary in Swannanoa for 26 years. She enjoyed the outdoors and walking the trails at the Cradle of Forestry. She loved to go dancing and having a good time. She also loved her place at the lake and enjoyed boat riding.

The family received friends at Harwood Home for Funerals on Sept. 26. A graveside service followed at Mountain View Memorial Park in Black Mountain.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the John F. Keever Solace Center (CarePartners) at PO Box 25338, Asheville, N.C., 28813.

Harwood Home for Funerals ( is assisting the family. 

Bob Hunter

Midlothian, Virginia

Bob Hunter

After a long and courageous struggle with cancer, Robert Nolan “Bob” Hunter, age 70, of Midlothian, Virginia passed away Friday, July 5, 2019 at his home. 

Bob grew up in Swannanoa to the late William Bainbridge and Annie Wallin Hunter.

He was a 1967 graduate of Charles D. Owen High School and continued his schooling with a BS at East Tennessee State University, then finishing up at the University of N.C., Chapel Hill, Dental Class of 1977. Bob was a dentist in private practice. Most of his 30-plus years as a dentist were spent serving the veterans at various VAMC. He retired as Chief of Dental Services at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center, Johnson City, Tennessee.

He was known for his quick wit, infectious smile and his kind and caring spirit. His family was the most important aspect of his life. Bob loved spending time with his family and he loved to fish. He often made his own flies for fly-fishing, which he enjoyed with his son, Travis, who unexpectedly passed away 8 years ago in a mountain bike accident in Colorado.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Rita Bowlin Hunter; daughter, Shannon Hunter McConville and husband, Chad; grandchildren, Lilah and Paxton McConville all of Midlothian; sister, Cora Lee Hunter Brackett and husband, Teddy; niece, Faith Gardin and husband, Josh; great-nephew, Maverick Gardin (and his twin, Declan who is with Bob in heaven) of Swannanoa and nephew, Cliff Bowlin of Morristown, Tennessee.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Rotary Park, 1001 Nor Broadway Street, Johnson City, Tennessee.

Local arrangements are by Harwood Home for Funerals (