Obituaries for April 14

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Benjamin Rich
Benjamin Rich

Benjamin Harrison Rich

Benjamin Harrison Rich, 74, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Born in Covington, Ky., he was the son of the late Benjamin and Clara Fisk Rich. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers, Eddie and Clyde Cross of Earlinger, Ky.  He was of the Catholic faith. He enjoyed fishing and loved working at Fat Buddies with his Fat Buddies family.

He is survived by daughters, Kimberly Rich and Deanna Timmons, both of Franklin; son, Benjamin T. Rich of Franklin; nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Private services will be held at a later date.

Memorials can be made to Backpack Meals for Kids, CareNet, 130 Bidwell Street, Franklin, NC  28734.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Kenneth LaRock
Kenneth LaRock

Kenneth ‘Ken’ Charles LaRock I

Kenneth “Ken” Charles LaRock, I, 93, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Born in Champion, N.Y,. he was the son of the late Leon and Myrtle Benton LaRock. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one son, Kenneth LaRock II and son-in law, Keith Koster and several brothers and sisters. He was a member of Seventh Day Adventist in Vienna, N.Y.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Leola Smith LaRock; one daughter, Laura Lee Koster of Franklin; one son, Anthony LaRock and wife Patricia of Parish, N.Y.; daughter-in law, Bonnie LaRock of Camden, N.Y.; three granddaughters, Kylee Deese and husband Jake of Liverpool, N.Y., Cami Bell and husband Chris of Rabun, Ga., and Katie LaRock of Camden, N.Y.; five great grandchildren, Sean Fried, Hailey Hooper, Jonathan Hooper, Airianna Bell and Kenna Deese; three sisters and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial service was held Tuesday, April 12, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home. Rev. Steve Reeves officiated. A memorial service will also be held at a later date in Camden, N.Y.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Karen Odum
Karen Odum

Karen Mae Tucker Odum

Karen Mae Tucker Odum, 67, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, she was the daughter of the late Henderson and Audrey Mullens Tucker. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Michael Odum. She was a talented singer of southern gospel and bluegrass. She loved making crafts, quilting, sewing, crocheting and knitting.

She is survived by daughters, Tara Raby of Franklin, Angela Kay (L. Michael) of Rainbow City, Ala., Amy Elizabeth (Lewis) Lively of Severn, Md., Audrey Kowmas of Forrestville, N.Y., Rosalie (Dino) Glascock of Boise, Idaho, Michelle Odum of Virginia; brothers; Dale Tucker of Virginia, Barry Tucker of Maryland, Douglas Tucker of Pennsylvania; 12 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at a later date.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Christopher Erdman
Christopher Erdman

Christopher Edward Erdman

Christopher Edward Erdman, 39, of Bradenton, Fla., passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Born on April 6, 1977, he was the son of Steve Erdman and step-mother, Debbie of Franklin and the late Jan Erdman. He enjoyed fishing and worked as a carpenter.

In addition to his father and step-mother, he is survived by five children, Kyle Locicero, Korisa Erdman, Vanessa Erdman, Kayleigh Erdman and Landon Erdman; one brother, Jeff Erdman and two sisters, Kyleen Erdman and Lyndsey Erdman.

Services will be held in Bradenton, Fla.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Mary Murray
Mary Murray

Mary Elizabeth Murray

Mary Elizabeth Murray, 74, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Born in Morristown, N.J., she was the daughter of the late Dorothy Murray. Mary enjoyed cross stitching, crocheting and playing Majong on the computer. She was Methodist by faith.

She is survived by two daughters, Dottie Eagle of Franklin and Johanna Murray of Franklin; grandchildren, Michael Shaw and Leanna Collier, Jerry Shaw and Liz Shaw, Pamela Knoll and Tim Knoll, Jessica Murray, Dylan Conard and Chloe Conard and one great granddaughter, Alice Murray.

No services will be held.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Hazel Willis
Hazel Willis

Hazel Virginia Burns Willis

Hazel Virginia Burns Willis, 92, of Franklin, N.C., went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Thursday, April 7.

She was born in Bryson City, N.C., on Nov. 30, 1923, to Dexter and Dessie Hurley Burns and is preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Garland C. Willis; brother, Richard Burns; twin daughters, Veronia Tucker and Viola Brown; and two stepchildren, Richard and Clifford Willis.

She always had a smile and a hug for family, old friends and newly acquired ones.  She enjoyed reading her Bible, tending her flowers, working in her vegetable garden and canning.  She loved the outdoors, and in earlier years, spent a lot of time in the woods hunting with her two devoted dogs, and was an expert at identifying ginseng and many other medicinal plants. She was well known for her practical jokes and great sense of humor.  Her grandkids adored her. She loved her family, and her greatest desire was to have them all meet her in God’s beautiful Heaven. The family would like to thank those who visited with her in the past few years and played a great part in making those years a happier time.

She is survived by daughters, Eva Clontz (Gene) of Asheville, N.C.; Jewel Leonard (Larry) of Lexington, N.C.; Clover Norton (Jim) of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Clara Little of Hortense, Ga., and Virgie Yonce of Franklin, and Van Willis (Sandy) of LaPorte, Ind.; step children Dorothy Nix (Harold), of Rabun Gap, Ga.; Marie Bryson of Clarksville, Ga.; and Paralee Willis, as well as numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren; sisters, Mary Longwith, Blanche Upton and Barbara Jean Clark.

Funeral service was held Sunday, April 10, at Macon Funeral Home.  Rev. Neil Pennycuff of Murfreesboro, Tenn., will officiate. Burial was in the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Macon Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Betty Sue Godwin
Betty Sue Godwin

Betty Sue Godwin

Betty Sue Godwin, 81, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Sunday, April 10, 2016. She was born March 16, 1935, in Johnston County, North Carolina, to the late Wade Jordan and Lillie Mae Eubanks Godwin. She attended Chowan College and was a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Biology. She worked for many years in the medical field and was of the Christian faith.

Survivors include her sister, Priscilla Ann Edgerton of Goldsboro, N.C.; niece, Joann Daly (Sherwood); nephews, Larry (Bonnie) Edgerton, Garry (Linda) Edgerton, and Glen Crocker; and a special friend of 50 years, Christine Cunningham of Franklin, N.C.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Ruth Crocker Collier, and a nephew, Dennis Crocker.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Selma Memorial Park in Selma, N.C. The family will receive friends 11:30 to 12:30 p.m., prior to the graveside service, at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma.

In lieu of flowers, the family ask donations be made to Four Seasons Hospice, 171 Hospital Dr. #600, Highlands, NC 28741.

Online condolences may be left at bryantgrantfuneralhome.com

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is serving the Godwin family.

John Koney
John Koney

John Fitzgerald Koney

John Fitzgerald Koney, 50, of Crystal River, Fla., joined his Heavenly Father on March 28, 2016.

He was preceded in death by his father, Christos George Sardelis.

He is survived by his mother, Jo D. Mason (Doug) of Franklin, N.C.; one son, John F. Koney (Alexandra) of Davenport, Fla.; two daughters, Jean and Jessica Koney of Florida; eight grandchildren; two sisters, Cheri Miller of Debary, Fla., Tami Koney (Jeff Jordan) of Franklin; three brothers, Christos Sardelis (Rahema) of Leominster, Mass., Mark Sardelis of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Ronnie Koney of Seabrooke, N.H.; many nieces and nephews and beloved nanny, Anne of Franklin.

Memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Grace Baptist Church. Rev. Frank Rodriguez will officiate.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

Evelyn Byrnes
Evelyn Byrnes

Evelyn ‘Evie’ Mary Byrnes

Evelyn “Evie” Mary Byrnes, 81, of Atlanta, Ga., and Highlands, N.C., passed peacefully on April, 6, 2016, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. She was born in Manhattan N.Y., and was raised in Garrison, N.Y. She graduated from Ladycliff College in 1956 as class valedictorian. She then started her work career with AT&T in White Plains, N.Y.  She moved quickly from engineering to data processing where she held numerous pioneering positions from programmer to division manager. After AT&T, she joined AMS, advancing to Southern Region vice president. After her retirement in 2000, she volunteered at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital. In 2003, she and her husband established a home in Highlands. Her first involvement in Highlands was as a hospice volunteer. She served in local board leadership positions for Hospice and the International Friendship Center.  She served as a founder and vice president of the Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina. She was instrumental in bringing Four Seasons hospice to Highlands and Western North Carolina and served on their board. Prior to her illness, she worked tirelessly on a capital campaign to ensure that a hospice house was built to provide compassionate end-of-life care to the residents of WNC. She was an active member of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, Bible Study, The Rotary Club of Highlands, and a volunteer at the Bookworm and the Highlands Cashiers Hospital gift shop.

She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Kurt Mast; and stepchildren, John (Donna) and David (Ashley) Mast and Jenifer (Michael) Dobbs of Atlanta; sister-in-law, Debbie Mast, of Atlanta; grandchildren, Connor and Mary Carson Dobbs, Kurt, Will, Erika, Payton, Brady and Delaney Mast. Known as the “matriarch” older sister of the John and Evelyn Byrnes family, she leaves behind six of her 10 siblings, Gerald (Joan) Byrnes, Lawrence (Kathleen) Byrnes, Walter (Alice) Byrnes Sr. Ellen Byrnes, Robert (Rosemary) Byrnes, and Paul Byrnes; her sister-in-aw Gail Byrnes, brother-in-law, James Brady and countless nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved siblings, John, Charles and Garrett Byrnes and Margaret Brady, with whom she is now reunited. In addition, she leaves behind scores of friends in Highlands, Cashiers and Franklin, N.C., St. Simons, Atlanta and New York. Evie Byrnes was a beautiful woman who possessed elegance, style and grace. She was a fine listener who made an impact on all who met her. Her abiding faith, warm smile, wise guidance and gentle demeanor are gifts she leaves to all of us. She enjoyed the company of many dear friends and devoted her time to faith, family and service.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, April 11, at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, Highlands.

In lieu of flowers, her family kindly requests that you honor Evie’s memory by supporting the Hospice House of Western North Carolina PO Box 815 Franklin, NC 28744 http://hhfwnc.org.

Jerry Ray Hughes

Jerry Ray Hughes, 49, of Franklin, N.C., died Friday, April 8, 2016.

Born in Fayetteville, Ga., he was the son of the late Jerry Ray Hughes Sr. and Sue Webb Hughes.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Diane Hughes who died in 2011; brother, Terry Hughes and sister, Teresa Wallace.  He enjoyed fishing and loved his grandchildren.  He was a roofer.

He is survived by two children, Kayla Hughes of Franklin and Jerry Ray Hughes III of Jackson, Ga.; two step children, Amanda Ramey of Clayton, Ga. and Sonya White of Griffin, Ga.; one brother, Thomas Hughes of Marion, N.C.; five grandchildren, Aiden Stormer, Jessie Ramey, Kaylynn Phillips, Miley Hughes and Bo Hughes.

Memorial service was held Wednesday, April 13, at Macon Funeral Home. Rev. Oliver Rice officiated.

Macon Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.

James Ray
James Ray

James Willard Ray

James Willard Ray, 97, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Friday, April 8, 2016. He was born in Macon County on Jan. 8, 1919, to the late John W. Ray and Georgia W. Ray. He was married 66 years to the late Betty Lois Ray who preceded him in death on Jan. 19, 2016. He was a U.S. Army veteran serving in three campaigns; Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland as a machine gunner. He was a hardworking man who worked in construction and farming, and he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He was of the Christian faith.

He is survived by two daughters, Pauline Brabson (Roger) and Diane Passmore (Dillard), all of Franklin; seven sons, Pete Ray (Lori), Paul Ray (Joann), James Ray (fiancée’ Diane Spaninato), Bob Ray (Kathy), Charles Ray, David Ray (Mindy), and John Ray (companion Lisa Curtis) and a daughter-in-law, Jamie Ray all of Franklin; a sister, Gladys Welch of Lincolnton, N.C.; and a brother, William Hess Ray of Missouri; 28 grandchildren; many great grandchildren; and several great great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Gassie Gilbert; and two brothers, Burl Ray and Clint Ray.

A funeral service was held Tuesday, April 12, in the chapel of Bryant-Grant Funeral Home with the Rev. Greg Rogers officiating. Burial followed in the Mt. Zion Cemetery at the double churches. Pallbearers were Chad Ray, Kevin Passmore, Bryton Ray, Roger Brabson, Robbie Ray, and Daren Pressley.

Online condolences may be left at www.bryantgrantfuneralhome.com

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is serving the Ray family.

Jean Spalding
Jean Spalding

Jean Kathleen Spalding

Jean Kathleen Spalding, 86, of Raleigh, N.C., passed away on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Lynn’s Home of Riverside, her amazing home-like care facility. She was a native of Evansville, Ind., the daughter of the late Lucille Hembree. She worked for Home Interiors and Gifts as a regional manager, a job she loved.  She was an energetic, positive and inspiring leader to all who had the privilege of knowing her. She was previously a member of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, Fla., and St. Francis Catholic Church in Franklin, N.C.

She is survived by three of her four sons; David Spalding and his wife Karen of Birmingham, Ala., Timothy Spalding and his wife Janis of Eustis, Fla., and Gregory Spalding and his wife Darcel of Winter Garden, Fla.; daughter-in-law, Betty Spalding of Manilla, Philippines; two daughters, Lisa Spalding and her partner Porter Bell of Raleigh, N.C., and Lori Amis and her husband John of Alpharetta, Ga.; 22 grandchildren, and 28 great grandchildren also survive.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Murl Francis Spalding, her son, Cletus Spalding and her granddaughter, Tiffany Jones.

A Catholic Mass to celebrate her life was held on Wednesday, April 13, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with Father Tien Duong officiating. Burial followed in Woodlawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice Transitions Life Care of Wake County.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences are available by visiting www.bryantgrantfuneralhome.com.

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