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Carol Ann Derrough Neely

July 19, 1956 ~ September 21, 2019 (age 63)

Carol Ann Derrough Neely, age 63, of Lake James, N.C., passed away peacefully in her home on the evening of Saturday, September 21, 2019, following a three year struggle with Leiomyosarcoma. Present were her husband of 41 years, all of her children, her daughter-in-law, and her two beloved grandsons.

Carol loved her family with inimitable depth, and was admired for her love of the natural world; her desire to help and ease the suffering of others through her business, Plum Natural Market, which she owned and operated for 40 years; and the care, respect and gratitude with which she treated her own body and mind. Much like her parents, siblings, husband, and children, Carol had a playful, sometimes mischievous, spirit, and continued to play pranks on her family up until her passing.

Born in Matthews, N.C. to Charlotte Holderman Ray Derrough and Roger Asher Derrough Sr., on July 19, 1956, she graduated from Haywood Technical College in 1978 with a degree in forest management. Shortly thereafter, on June 11, 1978, she married fellow recent Haywood Tech. graduate Steven Morgan Neely, of Rutherfordton, and they began jobs together on the Blue Ridge Parkway; in 1979 they moved to Rutherford County and founded Gracious Goodness Natural Foods on Main Street in Forest City. Along with her brother, Roger, she helped co-found Earth Fare in 1994 and operated Earth Fare in Forest City for more than 10 years before re-branding as Plum Natural Market in 2007.

Survivors include her husband, Steven Neely, of Lake James; sons Morgan Neely, of Carbondale, Co., Hart Neely and wife Jennifer, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Carter Neely, of Durham, N.C.; brother, Roger Derrough Jr., of Asheville.; sister, Julia Rome, of Frankfort, Ky; sister, Patricia Derrough, of Maggie Valley; brother, David Derrough, of Portland, Ore.; and grandsons, Harper Eames Neely and Asher Thomas Neely, of Cincinnati.  

She was preceded in death by her mother, Charlotte Holderman Ray Derrough, and father, Roger Asher Derrough Sr.

A public memorial service will be held at Spindale United Methodist Church in Spindale, N.C. at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, with the Rev. Sharon Decker officiating. Carol requested that attendees wear brightly colored, casual clothing in celebration of her love of traveling in Mexico. The family will receive friends in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service for a time of sharing and music.

The family wishes to extend its deep gratitude to the staff of McDowell County CarePartners Hospice for their guidance and compassion.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations in Carol’s memory to the Yancey History Association's Rush Wray Museum, 3 Academy St., Burnsville, N.C. 28714; Foothills Conservancy, 204 Avery Ave., Morganton, N.C. 28655; and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, 1305 N. Flores St., San Antonio, TX 78212.

Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home in Burnsville, NC  is assisting the Neely family.

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Donations may be made to:

Yancey History Association's Rush Wray Museun
3 Academy Street, Burnsville NC 28714

Foothills Conservancy
204 Avery Avenue, Morganton NC 28655

Refugee & Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services
1305 North Flores Street, San Antonio TX 78212

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