Obits for June 20, 2019

photo by Vickie Carpenter

  Anil B. Dholakia


Anil B. Dholakia

Anil B. Dholakia, 85, of Franklin, N.C., passed on June 10, 2019.  He was born on Nov. 23, 1933, in Baroda, India, son of late Balkrishna and Shanta Dholakia.  He graduated in economics and did his post-graduation in law and business administration. He was married for 63 years to the late Savita Dholakia.  

He is survived by a daughter, Varshana Dholakia-Mcgaughey and son-in-aw Earl McGaughey, and grandson Shawn; son, Ketan Dholakia and grandson Raja; son, Samrat and Donna Dholakia and grandson, Andrew, and granddaughters, Isabel and Caroline; sister, Pramila Sullivan and nephew, William.  

   He began his business career at the age of 16 cutting gemstones in Mumbai, India, and specializing in Garnet and Star Rubies.  In 1957, He set his eyes on Japan where he spent threeyears in the gemstone trade there and travelled to Burma, Singapore and Thailand.  He came to the USA in 1960 and resided in New York City with his wife.  In the early ’60s he started his business as Adris Oriental Gem & Art Corporation.  He started doing trade shows all over the USA doing up to 90 shows a year.   In February 1974, with a group of 11 other gem dealers they started a satellite Tucson gem show.  Dubbed the “dirty dozen,” the 12 dealers banded together to start a gem show.  G&LW was born.  He was the youngest and last survivor of the dirty dozen.  

In 1994, he moved to Franklin,  where he lived and worked in the wholesale gemstone and jewelry business as Anil B. Dholakia, Inc.  His passion was to travel for business sourcing new gemstones. He enjoyed buying and selling, and doing tradeshows around the globe.  His business took him to Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, India, China, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Korea, Ethiopia and many more.  He was a leading producer of the London and Swiss blue topaz in the ’80s and had copyright on the patent on the Blue Topaz. 

  He loved helping people to get in the business. This way, he paved the way for the gemstone trade for the Indian community.  He was a pioneer and leader in trade.  He was a legend in his field, highly acclaimed by the gems and jewelry industry both in USA and India.  He had received numerous awards from the gemstone trade. Indian Diamond Colorstone Association awarded leader of the industry in 2005.  He also received a recognition award from Jewelry Television. He was also one of the founding members and director of American Gem Trade Association.

  He was actively involved in business till early 2017 (83 years).  He enjoyed cooking and entertaining friends and family at his home.  The last couple of years he was not keeping well.   He was loved and will be missed by family, friends and industry people. 

Sharon Armstrong

Sharon Armstrong

Sharon Armstrong, 64, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Thursday, June 13, 2019.

Born in Detroit, Mich., she was the daughter of the late Randall White and Frances Christian White.  She was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and later retired as an inspector for the federal government.

She is survived by her children, Jamii Armstrong and John Armstrong, both of Etowah, N.C.; brothers, Tony Nihra (Marianne) of Germany and Dean White (Lydia) of Florida; grandchildren, Kailee Armstrong of North Carolina, Gabriel Armstrong of North Carolina Tawnie Armstrong of Florida, and Precious Armstrong of Florida; one great granddaughter, Adaline Thompson; and one great granddaughter soon to be.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Memorial donations can be made to Appalachian Animal Rescue, PO Box 81, Franklin, NC  28744 or the Wounded Warrior Foundation, PO Box 758516, Topeka, KS  66675.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Thelma ‘Dot’ Jackson

Thelma ‘Dot’ Jackson

Thelma “Dot” Jackson, 76, of Franklin, N.C., passed away June 6, 2019.

Born in Macon County, she was the daughter of the late Boyd McGaha and Joann Shepherd McGaha. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by brothers, Carl McGaha, Gene McGaha, and Furman McGaha; and sister, Tava Fouts. She enjoyed working with kids, working with her flowers and loved reading.

She is survived by her children, Robin Plemmons and Terry Dyer (Jennifer) both of Franklin, and Charles Dyer of Prosperity, S.C.; sisters, Christine Blanton of Cliffside, N.C., and Faye Johnson of Franklin; brothers, Johnny McGaha of Pickens, S.C., and Joe Lyle McGaha of Lake Lure, N.C.; five grandchildren, Amy Dyer, Nicole Dyer, Tiffani Campbell, Mackenzie Jones, and Zach Jones; 11 great-grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; and one step-great grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life was held Wednesday, June 19, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to East Franklin Library Fund, 100 Watauga Street, Franklin, NC 28734.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Sam John Blasingame Jr.

Sam Blasingame Jr

Sam John Blasingame Jr., 76, of Franklin, N.C., passed away on Monday, June 10, 2019. He was born in Atlanta, Ga., to the late Sam John Blasingame Sr. and Clara Durden Blasingame. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Joe Blasingame.

He was a member of First Methodist Church of Franklin, Franklin Rotary Club, and the Gardening Club. He had a doctorate in pharmacy and was the director of pharmacy at Rockdale Hospital for 32 years.

He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Marvilyn Walker Blasingame; children Katie (Scott) Bowen, Kane (Brooke) Blasingame, grandchildren Walker and Mackenzie Bowen, and his dog Maggie Mae Blasingame.

He was a lifelong gardener who brought beauty to everything and everyone he ever touched. He was a kind and selfless man. He was a man of faith, was full of charisma, and was beloved by his community. Sam Blasingame was the man that all men should strive to become.

A memorial service was held Friday, June 14, at First Methodist Church of Franklin. Rev. David Beam officiated. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust (CART), 1985 Tate Blvd. SE, Suite 43, Hickory, NC 28602 and Franklin Rotary Club, P.O. Box 375, Franklin, NC 28744.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Online condolences can be made to

Joyce Marie Long Casey

Joyce Marie Long Casey, 83, passed away on June 11, 2019, after a brief illness. She was born in Spartanburg, S.C., on Feb. 9, 1936, to Benjamin Franklin Long and Ruth Pearson Long. She married the love of her life Robert Thomas Casey Sr. on Aug. 31, 1957, and enjoyed 62 years of marriage.

She attended Lander College and earned an Associate Degree in Secretarial Science and worked for DeKalb County Board of Education for many years and later for a property management group as an administrative assistant. In 1980, she received the “Secretary of the Year Award” for DeKalb County.

She loved to love on her family and friends. She was known for her kindness and ability to make everyone feel special. She was a voracious reader, enjoyed working in her yard and making delicious meals and her famous carrot cake for her family. She was a devoted Christian and member of Coweeta Baptist Church. More than anything, she loved reading her Bible and walking with her Lord and Savior.

She is survived by her loving husband, Robert Thomas Casey Sr.; sister, Janice Long Thoroughman; son and daughter-in-law, Bobby and Mary Leigh Casey, and daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Steve Wray; grandson and wife, Sean and Rachel Massey; step grandson Chris Sellers, granddaughters and husbands, Krista and Blake Renken, Kourtney and Sonny Meade, Kinsey and Scott Levin, Spencer and Andrew Smith; step granddaughter and husband, Carlie and Beau Walters; and granddaughter, Peyton Wray; and several great granddaughters, great-grandsons, and nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held Friday, June 14, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home in Franklin, N.C. Rev. Keith Ashe officiated. Burial was at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg.

Condolences can be made at 

Curtis Edward Brannon

Curtis Edward Brannon

Curtis Edward Brannon, 87, of Charles Town, W.Va., passed away peacefully on June 8, 2019, at his cherished home.

He was born in Atlanta, Ga., to John and Mary (Gore) Brannon. He grew up in Atlanta before joining the United States Armed Services. He served in both the Air Force and the Navy. He was honorably discharged from his military service in 1966. He and his beloved wife Jane (passed March 31, 2018) were married for over 60 years and had two children – Mark and Pamela. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in Engineering. He also developed real estate and worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for many years until his retirement in 2014.  

He had a passion for traveling his entire life and – other than his family – he loved nothing more than discovering new cultures and new people. In addition to his military travel – he chose a different country each year to visit – some of his favorites included China, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil and Canada. He loved watching old westerns and the Atlanta Braves. He was an avid reader and his favorite authors were Louis L’Amour and John D. MacDonald. He enjoyed southern food and vanilla ice cream. He loved people so much and never once met a stranger. Every holiday season – he would pack up boxes of homemade treats and give them out to all of his FEMA co-workers. When he traveled – he always brought gifts for friends and family. He also had a passion for politics and served as a Democratic delegate. He never once missed voting in an election (be it local, state or national) and instilled in his children the importance of voting no matter what. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary as well as the love of his life – Jane.

He is survived by his beloved children, Mark Brannon and Pamela Brannon; his precious granddaughters, Ericka Brannon and Vanessa Namakula; his cherished dog, Samson; sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Leo Marquez; nieces, Maria Russell and her husband Ed, Marty Smith and her husband Ed Smith, Kathy Murphy, Theresa Corpening; nephews, Andy Marquez and his wife Lori, Phil and his wife Mary Beth, Kevin Corpening; and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Funeral services will be held at Mount Zion Cemetery on Saturday, June 22, in Franklin, N.C., at 11 a.m. with Rev. Kevin Chapman of Prentiss Church of God officiating. Bryant Grant Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements.  A private memorial service will be held in Charles Town, on July 14.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Children of Uganda PO Box 659 Charles Town, WV 25414.  Condolences may be sent to the home of Pamela Brannon at 272 Brannon Lane Charles Town, WV 25414.

The immediate family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude and appreciation to Lorraine Armstrong for her extraordinary, loving caregiving in the last few months of his life.

Stephanie Sharon Briggs

Stephanie Sharon Briggs, 67, of Otto, N.C., passed away on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Born in Hope Mills, N.C., she was the daughter of the late Samuel Wheeler and Bernice McBride Wheeler. She enjoyed sewing, making jewelry, pottery, and gardening.

She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Ronald Ray Briggs; two sons, Kayn Nathaniel Simpson (Ellen) of Franklin and Shaun Everett Simpson of San Jose, Calif.; sister, Susie Wheeler of Culdesac, Idaho; brother, Danny Wheeler; two half-brothers; and one half-sister.

No services are planned at this time.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Reach, 158 Heritage Hollow Drive, Franklin, NC 28734.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Charles Anders

Charles Anders

Charles Anders, 95, of Franklin passed away Thursday, June 13, 2019.  He went to be with his Lord after a long and happy life. He was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

He was born on Jan. 28, 1924, in Johnstown, Pa., to parents Edward and Edna Hartman Anders.  He went to work in Baltimore, Md., during WWII where he met and married Lois Clark of the Cullasaja Community.  He served in the South Pacific in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946.  He then returned to Lois and Cullasaja where he was embraced by the Logan Clark family as one of their own.

His career was with Nantahala Power & Light.  He was dedicated to community service and was a friend to many.  He was active in the Cullasaja Assembly of God Church, Cullasaja School PTA, Cullasaja and Franklin Volunteer Fire Departments, Bethel Community Services and was a board member of Maco Crafts.  He was a talented craftsman, jack-of-all-trades and was a Ham radio operator.

He was a lifetime member of the local VFW, was with the American Legion for 35 years and a member of the honor guard.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Lois, and his siblings, Betty Jane, Earl and Beverly.  

He is survived by his daughter, Diane Godfrey and his grandson Derek Godfrey of Winston-Salem.  He enjoyed the affection and devotion of many nieces and nephews and their children from the Anders and Clark families.  Additional thanks to neighbors in the Bethel Community and Cullasaja Church for their many kindnesses to Dad.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, June 22, at 3 p.m., in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home.  Rev. Steve Reeves will officiate. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery. Military Honors will be conducted by VFW Post 7339 and American Legion Post 108.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at Macon Funeral Home.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Ruth Beck Corey

Ruth Beck Corey, 86, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Sunday, June 16, 2019.

Born in Macon County, she was the daughter of the late Merritt W. Beck and Julia Mary Watson Beck.  In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Ralph Ray; second husband, John Marshall Corey; three brothers; and three sisters. She was a member of Wells Grove Baptist Church. She enjoyed gardening; mowing her yard; and doing crossword puzzles.

She is survived by her son, Dennis Ray (Debbie) of Franklin; two grandchildren, Heather McDonald (Dustin) and Katelyn Parrish (Austin); two great grandchildren, Hayden McDonald and Easton McDonald; stepchildren, Mike Corey (Brenda), Roger Bickel, and James Bickel; many step-grandchildren; many step-great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m., in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home.  Rev. Steve Reeves and Rev. Terry Dixon will officiate.  Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at Macon Funeral Home.

Pallbearers will be Keith Ray, Greg Ray, Danny Ray, Terry McCoy, Dustin McDonald, and Austin Parrish.

Memorial donations can be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 400, McLean, VA  22102.

Condolences can be made to the family at