Obituaries for January 28, 2021

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Jessie Ruth ‘Tootsie’ Stewart Williams

Jessie Ruth ‘Tootsie’ Stewart Williams

Jessie Ruth “Tootsie” Stewart Williams, 94, of Arden, N.C., formerly of Waynesville, N.C., passed away Jan. 19, 2021.  She was born Dec. 20, 1926, in Macon County, to the late Harley and Pearl Moore Stewart. She was a graduate of Western Carolina University and had her Master’s Degree from Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., now known as Vanderbilt University. She taught school for 25 years in Macon and Haywood County.  She was a member of Fletcher United Methodist Church and she loved to play bridge.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin Thomas Williams; and two brothers, Harley Moore Stewart and Wayne H Stewart.

She is survived by her daughter, Jane Williams of Asheville, N.C.; and a son, Thomas Williams and wife Linda of Alexander, N.C.

The family wishes to thank Trinity View Retirement Community for their care and support of our parents.

A graveside service was held Sunday, Jan. 24, at Longview Baptist Church Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Manna Food Bank, 627 Swannanoa River Rd. Asheville, NC 28805.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Williams family.  Online condolences may be made at

America Potts Hedden

America Potts Hedden, 98,  of Franklin, N.C., went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

She was born in Macon County, North Carolina, the daughter of the late Albert B. Potts and Fannie Irene Russell Potts Buchanan.  In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Aaron Hedden; and siblings, Gladys Paige, Jean Chapman, Edna Rich, John Potts, James Potts, and Alice Potts.  

She enjoyed working hard in her garden, cooking, and spending time with her family.

She is survived by five children, Gloria Jean Katsch (Jim) of Leicester, N.C., Carol Ann Hall of Belmont, N.C., Bruce Hedden (Sandy) of Franklin, Thomas Gary Hedden (Phyllis) of Franklin, and Joan  Beasley of Jesup, Ga.; 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A graveside service was held Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Burningtown Baptist Church cemetery with Rev. Charles Stevens officiating.

Pallbearers were grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Burningtown Baptist Church.

Online condolences can be made at

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Claire N. Snipes

Claire N. Snipes, 94, passed away Dec. 28, 2020, at her daughter’s home in Ocala, Fla. She previously lived in Claremont, N.H. and Franklin, N.C.

She was born Oct. 27, 1926, in Springfield, Mass., the daughter of Charles and Eveline (Paro) Nolin.

She worked as a quality control inspector at Sylvania in New Hampshire. She was also QC Inspector and UAW Union President at Scott Electronics and NCR in Orlando, Fla. Also, QC Inspector at Lockhead Martin in Orlando, before retiring to Franklin with her husband, Milton. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters, Macon County Quilters Guild, American Legion Auxillary, and Red Hat Society. She loved to sew, was an avid reader and stamp collector. She was a blood donor for many years and she also loved to travel. Trips included New Zealand, Egypt, Canada, Hawaii, and many U.S. states and sites. She had met six U.S. presidents in her liftetime.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Milton Snipes; daughters, Cecile Peno; and brother, Charles Nolin.

Survivors include her four daughters, Patricia Kain and husband Fred of Ocala, Cheryl Magoon of Dublin, N.H., Susan Filion and husband Roger of Unity, N.H., and Debra Underwood and husband Donald, of Claremont, N.H.; three step-children, Martin “Jack” Snipes of Orlando, Milton “Chip” Snipes and wife Deborah, of Orlando, and Genna and husband, Chuck, of Ocala; 12 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

No services will be held at this time. Memorial donations may be made in her name to the charity of your choice.

Kenneth Wayne Pearce

Kenneth Pearce

Kenneth Wayne Pearce, 65, of Franklin, N.C., died Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, surrounded by his family in the care of Angel Medical Center staff.

He was born Oct. 10, 1955, in Tampa, Fla., to Gordon and Nancy (Patterson) Pearce. He married his soul mate and best friend, Kimberly Jane Anderson, on July 1, 1989.  

He was born and raised in Tampa and retired as a manager with Verizon (formerly GTE) in Durham, N.C., in 2011. After retiring, he and Kim relocated to Franklin in 2013, their lifelong goal. He was an all-around family man, an out-of-the box thinker, and a handyman. He enjoyed spending time with his family, working on cars and doing projects around the house. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Pamela Pearce Reed. 

He is survived by devoted wife, Kim; daughter, Kelsey, and stepdaughter, Erin (Allan) Barbee; and two grandchildren, Samantha and Kayley.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Pearce family. Online condolences may be made at

William Henry Bahruth

William Henry Bahruth, 89, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.  He was born June 13, 1931, in Manhatten, N.Y., to the late Gustav Bahruth and Anna Krokus Bahruth.  He was a U.S. Army veteran serving during the Korean War.  He retired from National Broadcasting Company where he broadcast for NBC in Washington and was also a member of the White House News Photographer Association. He first worked for ABC channel 7 and retired from NBC channel 4.  He owned and operated a commercial shrimping company for eight years.

Survivors include a daughter, Lillian M. Bahruth-Mobley (Stevent) of Washington, DC; and a son, William J. Bahruth of Washington, DC.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Gustav F. Bahruth.

No services are planned at this time.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Bahruth family.  Online condolences may be made at

Charles Russell ‘Rusty’ Peek

Russell Peek

Charles Russell “Rusty” Peek, 51, of Macon County passed away on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.

He was born in Jackson County to the late Charles Earl Peek and Claire Peek Dills on March 22, 1969. He lived most of his life in Macon County. In addition to his dad, he was preceded in death by his stepfather, Rev. Oliver Dills of Bryson City, N.C.; grandparents, Eldon and Daisy Ashe of Cullowhee, and Martin and Ollie Peek of Franklin; and two aunts, Jean Carter of Sylva, and Hester Mull of Franklin.

He was an Army veteran who earned several achievement and marksmanship awards before being discharged.  He loved the outdoors and was the happiest sitting somewhere in front of a campfire with friends and his dogs.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by a daughter, Kerry Brianna Peek of Bryson City; two stepbrothers, Matthew Young-Dills ( Tony) and Jonathan Dills, both of Sylva; four aunts, Ethel Shelly, Bethel McCarter, and Margie Edwards (Dale) of Clinton, Tenn., and Ruby  Bennett of Cullowhee; many other family members and an abundance of friends.  He will be missed by many.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate to one’s favorite charity or reach out and help someone who may be struggling during this pandemic.

Online condolences can be made at, all other written condolences and cards can be sent to PO Box 1005, Bryson City, NC 28713.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Ruben Black Anderson

Ruben Black Anderson

Ruben Black Anderson, 83, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in the care of Care Partners Hospice in Asheville, N.C.

He was born in Franklin  March 16, 1937, to the late John Robert Anderson and Frankie Love Anderson.  He was raised in Franklin and moved to Washington State in 1955 to work at Weyerhaeuser Lumber Co. He then moved to Florida to start his lifelong career as a trim carpenter and raise his two daughters. He moved back to Franklin in 1980 to help his parents build their new home and continued trim carpentry work in Franklin and Highlands until retirement. He was known to help many family, friends and neighbors with carpentry projects in their homes, stringing beans, and bush hogging. He enjoyed walking, reading westerns, grilling, gardening, squirrel hunting, splitting wood, working on his land with his tractor, driving his ATV, and eating at his favorite steak and seafood restaurants.   He enjoyed his time most in the company of loved ones, especially in his home or out in the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Clara Belle Johnston.  

He is survived by his daughters, Lori Elliott and Rob Elliott, and Vicki Shirley; granddaughters, Audrey Elliott, Stacey Elliott, McKenzie Elliott, and Kassidy Shirley; and his aunt, Birdia Anderson. 

No services are planned at this time. 

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Anderson family. Online condolences can be made at

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that you “Plant a Tree” in memory of Ruben Anderson.

Joanne Elizabeth Barker Cloer

Joanne Elizabeth Barker Cloer, 72 of Franklin, N.C., passed away Jan. 19, 2021.

Born in Charlotte, N.C., she was the daughter of the late James Stanley Barker and Alice Rebecca Akins Barker.  In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by sister, Judy Essen. 

She was a member of Patton United Methodist Church where she actively participated with missions and hospitality. She enjoyed spending time in the garden tending to her flowers. She also loved to read and was considered a word search conqueror.

Surviving is her husband of 48 years, Johnny Cloer; three daughters, Rebecca Kaminski (Sean) of Franklin, Heather Ray of Franklin, and Susan Cloer of Tarboro N.C.;  two sisters, Jeannette Overman of Daytona, Fla., and Tina Cox of Longview Texas; one brother, Jim Barker of Franklin; five grandchildren, Damon Cloer, Megan Ray, Anthony Ray, Michaela Kaminski, and Alexis Kaminski; one great grandchild, Lewis Brown and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside services were held Saturday, Jan. 23, at Patton United Methodist Church with Rev. Evan Hill, Rev. Andy Cloer, and Rev. Phillip Cochran  officiating. 

Pallbearers were Damon Cloer, Anthony Ray, Austin Hicks, Chris Green, Caleb Cochran, and Jacob Brown. Honorary pallbearers were Lewis Brown, Sean Kaminski, Megan Ray, Michaela Kaminski and Alexis Kaminski.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Patton United Methodist Church Cemetery fund, C/O Gary Holland, 65 Scroggs Rd., Franklin, NC  28734.

Online condolences at

Macon Funeral home is handling the arrangements. 

Acton Wayne Chalu

Acton Wayne Chalu

Acton Wayne Chalu, 72, completed his work and journey on earth when he was called home by his Lord and Savior on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. 

He is survived by his wife Cynthia Chalu of Franklin, N.C.; sisters, Carol Chalu and Lauren Chalu (Jimmy) of Clearwater, Fla.; sons, Robert Finck (Rennie) of Parrish, Fla., and John Finck (Jennifer) of Sandy Springs, Ga.; two beautiful granddaughters, Annabelle and Berkeley Finck of Sandy Springs.

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 24. 1948, graduated from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill., and received his teaching degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After graduating, he taught American history at Deerfield High School, in Deerfield, Ill., before going on to receive his Juris Doctor from Stetson College of Law in St Petersburg, Fla.  While he was a law student and working part time at Bayfront Medical Center, he found his future wife, Cynthia, a registered nurse, who was there just in the right place at the right time. They were married 45 years ago at Garden Crest Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg.

He had a remarkable 35-year career as a criminal attorney with the State of Florida, serving in both the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office and the Office of the State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit. During his tenure, he held noteworthy positions including Chief Assistant Public Defender in Hillsborough County, and then later, Chief Assistant State Attorney, Chief of the Economic Crimes Division, prosecutor in the homicide division and during a crisis moment in Hillsborough County, he stepped up as the Acting State Attorney for an interim period. In 1995, he was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the DEA, U.S. Department of Justice, for outstanding contributions in the field of drug and law enforcement. In 2010, he was selected to receive the Bell Childers Award from the Tampa Police Department, which stated that his “unselfish contributions and exemplary achievements through the professional practice of law, has made the city of Tampa a safer place to live, work and visit.”

His dream of retirement in the beautiful cool mountains of Franklin became a happy reality in 2010. He stayed busy as an active member of Holly Springs Baptist Church by serving on the deacon board, teaching adult Bible classes and singing in the choir. He loved living in the Mill Creek community and was happy to serve on the Mill Creek Board of Directors (MCEPOA) from 2016-2019 and to serve as a volunteer driver for Care-Net, a local food bank, where he enjoyed giving to others.

He had a passion for singing along with his wife in Mountain Voices, Hilltop Singers, and the Western Carolina Community Chorus. Before that, he sang in Men Macon Music. He would tell you that the most amazing thing he ever did was just this past year, when he traveled to New York City with the Franklin First United Methodist Church choir to sing” Rutter’s Requiem” in Carnegie Hall. 

He was compassionate, honest, kind, patient, thoughtful and humble. When asked how he wanted to be remembered he said that he wanted others to know “he always tried to do the right thing.” Friends and family will fondly remember his keen sense of humor and what a storyteller he could be. When asked what he was going to do next, he always said he was going to “get back on the golf course.” When he suddenly passed away, he had been busy cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they made their way through the playoffs.

While he will be deeply missed by his family and the great many friends he established along the way, he is with our heavenly Father now which brings us much peace and comfort. He would tell you COVID-19 is a terrible disease and pray for you to stay safe.

A graveside service will be held on Jan. 30, at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Fla., with family present and with the sound of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the Holly Springs Baptist Church “Just One Thing” Building Fund or to the Second Mile Food Bank, both at or by mail to Holly Springs Baptist Church, 366 Holly Springs Church Road, Franklin, NC 28734.

Ethel Kirkland Walker

Ethel Kirkland Walker, 95, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Jan. 19, 2021. She was born April 11, 1925, in Swain County, North Carolina, to the late Fred and Lucinda Jenkins Kirkland. She was a homemaker and a Baptist by faith, a true country girl and a lady.  She loved her grandchildren and enjoyed fishing, sewing, embroidering, working in the garden and watching things grow.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by three sisters, Anna Belle Smith, Nancy Russell and Cordelia Shears; brothers, Floyd Kirkland and Leroy Kirkland; a grandson, Steven Sherman; and former husband, Arvil Walker. 

Surviving are her daughters, Barbara Ann Adams (Douglas) and Rosemary Grant; four sons, Lewis Walker (Trish), Jessie Walker, Frank Walker and Phillip Walker; four sisters, Willa Mae Hovis, Louise Hurst,  Anna Lois Shepherd, and Dorothy Reddish; brother, Wiley L. Kirkland; 10 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.  

A funeral service was held Saturday, Jan. 23, in the Chapel of Bryant-Grant Funeral Home with Rev. Lee Russell officiating.  Burial was in the Ridgecrest Baptist Church Cemetery.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Walker family.  Online condolences may be made at

Ora Sue (Thomas) Scruggs

Ora Sue (Thomas) Scruggs

Ora Sue (Thomas) Scruggs, 87, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at her residence. She was a native and lifelong resident of Macon County, the daughter of Jesse W. and Margie B. Thomas. She retired from Belden Electric in 1990 and was of the Methodist Faith. She was married to the late Alfred Scruggs.

She is survived by two daughters, Susie Bryson and Janet (Donald) Gentry of Franklin; a son, Darin (Jessica) Scruggs of Franklin; grandchildren, Shawn Bryson of Franklin, Cassie Gentry Russell (Antonio) of Tampa, Fla.,Gabi Gentry Wang of Franklin, Shaundra and Torin Scruggs of McDonough, Ga., Matthew and Kevin Burgess of Franklin, and Chelsey, Adrian and Derik Scruggs of Franklin; and 12 great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, Alfred, Otis, and Gilmer Thomas; and her son, Alfred Michael Scruggs.

A private graveside service will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 30, for the immediate family.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Scruggs family. Online condolences can be made at