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Barbara Gail Young Ford, passed away peacefully at sunrise on December 31, 2016 at CarePartners Hospice Solace Center in Asheville at the age of 78.


Ms. Ford was born in Newdale, North Carolina on September 5th, 1938 to Howard and Laura Young, and joined by a brother, Wade, in 1941.


Barbara was the beloved matriarch of a large extended family. She attended Brevard College after graduating from Harris High School, worked for the Mitchell County School System, and was the Director of Admissions at Spruce Pine Hospital for over twenty years. Barbara had a gift for telling stories and likewise enjoyed hearing them, often while seated at a large table over a good meal with many loved ones. She had an unparalleled love of the mountains and of Yancey County, in particular, and spent her later years enjoying rides through the winding and unfrequented back roads, seeking out pastoral landscapes and old country churches, with her beloved companion of thirty-five years, Norman Evans.


A resident of Penland for many years, Barbara loved pottery and amassed a collection of many master Appalachian craft artists, which she proudly displayed at family gatherings. As a young woman, Barbara had a passion for acting, music, and dance, which she passed down to her sons, Tony and David Ford, and granddaughters, Haley Ford Carden and Madison Ford. Barbara took tremendous pride in their accomplishments as dancers.


Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Laura Young, and her brother Wade.


Barbara is survived by her companion: Norman Evans; two sons: Tony Ford (companion Karen Harmes) and David Ford (companion Mecheel Stewart); granddaughters: Haley Ford Carden and husband Kyle, Madison Ford, Sarah Carpenter and husband Donnie, and Lisa Housley and husband Matthew; great grandchildren: Levi, Joshua, and expected great grandchild Oliver Carden, as well as great grandchildren: Sophia and David Carpenter, and Olivia and Catlin Housley; nephews: Paul Young, Jimmy Young and Carl Mumpower and wife Lisa; nieces: Tania Kirkpatrick and husband Orval, Linda Mumpower Humphries and husband George, and Kimberly Mumpower Tingle and husband Bill; great nieces and nephews: Kristen Mumpower, Kathryn Humphries and husband Sigurjon, Matthew Mumpower and wife Kristin, Sean Humphries, Weston Humphries, William Tingle, and Sara Tingle; and great-great nephew: Magnus Sigurjonsson.


Visitation will be held from 6-8pm on Tuesday, January 3rd, at Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home of Burnsville, and the service will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, January 4th. Barbara will be laid to rest in Pensacola at the Riddle Family Cemetery. Flowers are greatly appreciated or donations may be made to Windom United Methodist Church, 125 Gold Knob Lane, Burnsville, NC 28714.


Richard Engelhardt, 71, of Burnsville passed away Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at his home.

Surviving are:  his wife of 39 years: Nancy; 3 sons:  Christian, Jack and Derek Engelhardt. 8 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.


Pam Shelton, 44, of Burnsville, went home to be with the Lord Monday, December 26, 2016 at Smoky Ridge Health and Rehab. A native of Madison County, she was a daughter of Yvonne Waldrup Bell of Burnsville and the late William Bell.  Pam loved to make jewelry, and grow flowers.

Surviving in addition to her mother, is a daughter; Christina Shelton and boyfriend Shian Calloway of Newland; 3 brothers:  Dale Waldrup and wife Sherrie, of Fletcher, Dana Bell, of Burnsville and Tim Bell and wife, Jamie of Weaverville; nieces and nephews; Amanda Bell, Harley Bell, Austin Bell and McKenna Bell and a great niece: Laila Wright.

Funeral services will be held at 7 PM Thursday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Weldon Ramsey will officiate.  A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Friday in Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Madison County.

The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service, at the funeral home.


Rev. Bobby Lee Honeycutt, 74, of Fairview, went home to be with the Lord Sunday, December 25, 2016 at St. Joseph Campus of Mission Hospitals.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Lee and Bertie Robinson Honeycutt.   He was the husband of Carolyn Williams Honeycutt who died August 22, 2016.  He was preceded in death by a grandson:  Byron Joseph Honeycutt and his sister Thanna H. Arrowood.  He was a U S Army Veteran.  Bobby had most recently pastored New Grace Independent Missionary Baptist Church in Mars Hill.

Surviving are his children:  Blinda Teague and husband, Kenny, of Fairview, Sandra Arrowood and husband, Bryan, of Black Mountain, Bobby Honeycutt, Jr. and wife, Heather, of Fairview, and Steven Honeycutt and wife, Valerie, of Asheville; 14 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren and 2 expectant great grandchildren; and, special friends: Bobby and Lucille Martin of Virginia.

Funeral services will be held at 3 P.M. Wednesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Preston Church will officiate. Burial will be in the Robinson Cemetery on Bakers Creek.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the State Veterans Home in Black Mountain 62 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain North Carolina.


Kathleen Austin Hudgins, 87, of Prices Creek, went home to be with the Lord Friday, December 23, 2016 at her home.  A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Mack and Ellen McPeters Austin and the wife of Ottis Hudgins, who died in 2015.  She was also preceded in death by daughters:  Mary Ann and Jewell Ann, a son, Benny Hudgins, grandchildren; Shannon Ray and Seth Hudgins, great grandchildren: Sarah Carpenter, Susanna Hughes, and Kerwin and Kylan Hughes, and 12 sisters and brothers.


Surviving are 13 children:  Michael Hudgins and wife, Linda, of Burnsville, Susie Hughes of Bakersville, Justin Hudgins and Gary Hudgins and wife, Marlene, of Burnsville, Milas Hudgins and wife, Donna, of Buladean, Benjamin Hudgins, Joyce Hughes, Dennis Hudgins and wife, Caroleen, Kathy Robinson and husband, C.J., and Lynn Hudgins  all of Burnsville, Louise Hudgins of Spruce Pine, Darlene Trittin and husband, Chuck, of Bakersville, and Janina Branch and husband, Bo, of Burnsville;  40 grandchildren, 67 great grandchildren, a great-great grandson; 5 sisters: Mildred Austin of Burnsville, Lily Wilson of Old Fort, Jalene Sharp of Black Mountain and Lois Weisenbarger and Elizabeth Manning of Ohio; a brother Jack Autstin, of Morganton, and special caregiver: Melissa Hughes.


Funeral services will be held at 7 PM Tuesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Grandsons, Rev. Charlie Robinson and Rev. Jonathan Hudgins and Rev. Dale Banks will officiate.  A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Wednesday in the Ottis Hudgins Family Cemetery on Prices Creek.


The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 PM Tuesday, prior to the service at the funeral home.

Rev. Charles Edwin Willis

Rev. Charles E. Willis, 84, of Burnsville, went home to be with the Lord Thursday, December 22, 2016 at the Brian Center, of Spruce Pine. A native of McDowell County, he was a son of the late Dallas and Carrie Shore Willis and the husband of Jessie Mickle Willis who passed away in 2007.  He was pastor of Mt. Mitchell Baptist Church for 31 years and Windom Baptist Church for 13 years.  Charles was a retired fireman from South Toe Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as Chaplain.  He was an employee of NAPA for 47 years.

Surviving are a son:  Danny Willis and wife Beth, of Marion; a granddaughter:  Stephanie Kaylor and husband Charlie, of Morganton; a grandson:  Ryan Willis, of Marion; a brother:  Gene Willis, of Burnsville; a great-granddaughter:  Reagan Kaylor of Morganton; 2 great-grandsons Casey Kaylor and Kolton Willis, both of Marion, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 2PM Monday, December 26, 2016 in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Revs. Tom Walker and Bruce Cannon will officiate.  Burial will be in the McDowell Memorial Park, in Marion.

The family will receive friends 12 noon until 2PM, Monday, prior to the service at the funeral home.


Kittie Hughes, 75, of Burnsville, passed away Sunday, December 18, 2016 at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital.A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Ernest and Evelyn Wyatt Wilson and the wife of Paul Dale Hughes who died in 1977.  She was also preceded in death by a son, Samuel Hughes, who died in 2005.

Surviving are a daughter: Marilyn Beinke; a son: Allen Hughes and wife Tonya and a very special granddaughter: Lacey Beinke, all of Burnsville; 2 sisters:  Martha Burleson and husband Reed, of Bakersville and Ruth Atkins and husband Rev. Charles Atkins, of Marion and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 2PM Wednesday, in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Ray Strickland will officiate.  Burial will be in the Wilson Family Cemetery at Newdale.

The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service, at the funeral home and at other times, will be at the home of Allen Hughes on Rice Road.

The family wishes to extend their thanks to Hospice of Yancey County, for the care given to their mother. 


Jonathan Chandler, 40, of Burnsville, passed away Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at his home.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of Ron and Beverly Norris Chandler of Burnsville.  He was a 1994 graduate of Mountain Heritage High School, where he excelled in football.  For the past 22 years, he was a partner in Heritage Tree Service.  Jon was a loving husband, father and grandfather, whose greatest joy in life was helping others and riding his Harley, with his many friends.

Surviving in addition to his parents are his wife; Rachel Carroll Chandler; sons Corey Stephen Chandler and wife Isabella and their daughter: Lila of Burnsville and Jonathan Lewis Chandler of the home; a sister: Leah Davidson and husband Matt; and a brother: Jeremy Chandler and wife Misty all of Burnsville, and a multitude of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 7 P. M. Monday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Rev. Maggie Lauterer will officiate. A graveside service will be held at 10 AM Tuesday in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery on Holland Creek in Mars Hill.

The family will receive friends from 5:30 until 7 PM Monday, prior to the service at the funeral home.


  Cable TV Pioneer Dies

 Ray Vance Miller, 83, died peacefully Wednesday December 14th, 2016 at the John F. Keever Jr.  Solace Center in Asheville, North Carolina after several years of declining health.


Born in High Point North Carolina, Ray was the son of the late Adam Winfred Miller and Ada B. Rathbone Miller. He was a resident of Pensacola, North Carolina. Though he traveled throughout the world for both business and pleasure, the mountains of North Carolina, Pensacola in particular, was the place he loved to call home. He loved the beauty of the area, but more than anything he enjoyed the company of the friends and relatives that enriched his life.


Ray was forever a traveler. His first big trip was to California with wife Mary Anne in 1956. He found work in Hollywood as a TV repair man, and that job became the basis for his long career in the cable television business. Lasting from 1956 until his death, Ray’s career spanned that emerging business almost from its’ inception. His career included the involvement in cable systems in Saugus, California, Palmdale, California, Fallon, Nevada, Beaumont, Texas, Central to Southern Florida, Surfside and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Haywood County, North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina, and also back home in Burnsville, North Carolina. At the time of his death, he was founder and CEO of Country Cablevision. Ray always said, “if one found a job that they enjoyed, they would never work a day in their life.” He always felt fortunate to love what he did. During his many years in the cable industry, he contributed to the industry by serving on multiple Boards, including the Outdoor Channel, and lobbying for improvements in the industry. He was honored many times by his peers, most recently with the Cablefax Independent Operators Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. In 1999 he was inducted into the National Cable Television Museum in Denver, Colorado. In 2013 he was presented with North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.


Ray's lifelong dream of travel to the continent of Australia was realized in 1977, when he spent three months traveling throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Ray also loved traveling the desert Southwest, frequenting ghost towns and abandoned mining camps. He enjoyed wintering in the warmth of desert town Quartzite, Arizona. During his lifetime, Ray traveled throughout all 50 states, the Caribbean, Europe, Central America, and Australia.


When Ray returned to Burnsville in 1967 from California, he embarked on an entirely new business venture, opening a fly-in/drive-in campground in Pensacola North Carolina, aptly named Mountain Wilderness Airpark. Open to the public, Mountain Wilderness offered camping, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, and weekly square-dances. Ray indulged his enjoyment of camping when he purchased one of the first self-powered motorhomes, his 1965 Streamline Travel Home. He traveled the route from California to North Carolina many times, instilling in his family his curiosity of places and cultures different from his own.


Throughout his career Ray always remembered his community, no matter where he lived. When living in California, he was influential in the development and naming of present-day Canyon Country outside of Los Angeles. He brought countless jobs to Yancey County with the development of the area’s first cable system and the founding of Mountain Wilderness. Throughout all of his ventures Ray always found ways to benefit the community. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce wherever he lived. He volunteered with the Lions Club, various fire departments, the Civil Air Patrol, the Yancey County Medical Board, as well as being a deputy sheriff.


Ray had many interests. He was a voracious reader and especially enjoyed reading about history. He was an avid collector of many things, including playing cards and farm equipment. He loved a good story and a good joke. Ray never met a stranger. He was never so happy as when sharing experiences with a new friend. One of Ray's many interests was his fascination with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. He worked with the TIGHAR organization to attempt to solve the mystery of her disappearance. TIGHAR will make another expedition Nikumaroro in the South Pacific in Spring 2017 to try to solve this mystery. Ray wanted to live long enough to see how the mystery was solved.


Ray is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 60 years Mary Anne (McPeters) Miller, daughter Debbie and her husband Tommy Thomas, of Columbia, South Carolina, son Keith and his partner Linda Peterson, and son Randy and his wife Jeannie (Deyton) all of Burnsville, North Carolina. He is also survived by his granddaughter Danielle Miller and grandson Tyler Miller of Burnsville and grandson, Benjamin Thomas of Charleston, South Carolina. In addition, his survivors include five great-grandchildren. He is survived by his only sibling, Dolores Risner and her husband Tommy, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends worldwide. He will be always missed and lovingly remembered, especially for his sense of humor.


Visitation will be Friday December 16th at Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home in Burnsville from 5-8 P.M. Services will be held at Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home Saturday December 17th at 2 P.M. Pastor A. J. Moore will officiate. Burial will follow at the Eddie McMahan Cemetery in Pensacola. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Eddie McMahan Cemetery c/o Shirley Anders 9449 State Hwy 197 S Burnsville, NC 28714, the John F. Keever Jr. Solace Center in Asheville, 21 Belvedere Rd Asheville, North Carolina 28803, Pensacola United Methodist Church, or the charity of one’s choice.


The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses of the Keever Solace Center for the compassion and care Ray received while there. The family is also indebted to Dr. Clay Ballantine and staff at Blue Ridge Premier Medicine for always offering extraordinary care for Ray. The family would also like to thank all of the employees at Country Cablevision for their kindness and support throughout Ray’s illness.



Calvin Elkins, 74, of Shoal Creek, went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, December 13, 2016, at Care Partners Solace Center in Asheville.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Creed and Amanda Hudgins Elkins.  He was also preceded in death by brothers:  Roscoe, Zenus and Hubert Elkins. Calvin was a retired employee of Unimon Corporation with 29 years of service.  He was a member and deacon of Pilgrims Chapel FWB Church. 

Surviving are his wife of 52 years:  Faye Dulaney Elkins; a daughter:  Stephanie Phillips and husband, Jake, of Wilkesboro; a son:  C. J. Elkins and wife, Miranda, of Burnsville; four sisters:  Avie Pendergrass and Lila Elkins of Valdese, Goldie Allen of Hendersonville and Marilyn Maney of Burnsville; and three grandchildren:  Bayley, Matthew and Delaney.

A graveside service will be held at 1PM Friday in the Dulaney Cemetery on Shoal Creek.  Revs. Clyde Thomason and Russell Hughes will officiate.

The family will receive friends at his home.


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