photo by Vickie Carpenter

Ada Mae Henry Pickens

Ada Mae Henry Pickens

Ada Mae Henry Pickens, 84, of Franklin, N.C., went home to be with Jesus on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021.

Born in Macon County, she was the daughter of the late Canton and Lillian Elliott Henry. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Eugene Pickens in April 2020; daughter, Pat Browning; son, Jimmy Pickens; one sister, Ruth Frady; two brothers, Lester Henry and Naaman Henry; and brother-in-law Charles Pickens. She was a longtime member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, where she loved working for the Lord. She held various offices at the church throughout the years. 

She is survived by a daughter, Teresa Pickens (Steve) of Greenville, S.C.; brother, Jake Henry (Shirley) of Sylva, N.C.; and two sisters, Nina Coggins of Cullowhee, N.C., and Nellie Downs (Lowell) of Franklin; four grandchildren, Kristy McGuire (Chris), Erica Browning, Robert Browning (Kendra), and Ricky Pickens; four great grandchildren, Chelsea McGuire, Christopher McGuire, Anna Lee Browning, and Kayce Browning; and numerous nieces and nephews also surviving; four sisters-in-law, Lucy Pickens, Judy Shuler, Carolyn Henry and Ruth Holden all of Franklin.

A private graveside service was held at Ridgecrest Baptist Church Cemetery with Rev. Guy Duvall officiating.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice House Foundation of WNC, PO Box 815, Franklin, NC 28744. 

Online condolences can be made at

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Irene Vinson “Rene” Speed

Irene Vinson “Rene” Speed

Irene Vinson “Rene” Speed, 93, of Franklin, N.C., went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.  She was surrounded by her family in the weeks prior to her passing.  She was born in Otto on Sept. 28, 1927, to the late Laura Bell and Sylvester Vinson.  She was married to Harold “Papoo” Speed, her true love, for 45 years who died in October of 1993.  There is a great heavenly reunion taking place as she is now able to see all of her loved ones that went on before her.

She was very proud of her heritage and loved talking about her large family and the good times growing up on the family farm.  She was of the Baptist faith remained a faithful and active member of Riverbend Baptist Church (formerly Faith Baptist Church) as long as her health permitted.  Even when she was unable to attend she prayed and read her Bible often.  If fact, she was the oldest surviving member and last living charter member of the church. She had prayed for a church in her community for many years and she loved her church dearly.  She set the example on how to live a Godly life.  Everyone that grew up around her can remember her quoting scripture to them and offering advice.  One of her most common phrases was, “You have to be kind and good to everyone.”  She was the epitome of “Love is Patient, Love is Kind.”  She retired from Belden after 30 years of working in the Franklin facility.  She loved her work there and the people there were like a second family to her.

She was full of life and loved to laugh and have fun.  She also liked to spend time with family, shop, and visit friends and relatives. Included in this would be spoiling her grandchildren and great grand-children.   When asked “Rene, you going with us?” a quick reply would be, “You’re not going without me.”  She also loved to go on rides, travel, picnic, fish, and be outside.  She loved the fall, winter, snow, birds, apples, holly with berries, and especially Christmas.  She was an avid fan of all the Christmas movies, especially Christmas Vacation. She was a night owl and loved watching the Atlanta Braves, Dallas Cowboys, Golf, College Basketball, David Letterman, Jackass, and Iron Chef to name a few.

 Her food was second to none as her whole family can attest to.  Around the holidays it would not be unusual for her to bake five or six cakes from scratch as well as the full dinner.  In fact, every weekend at her home was like a holiday with people, food, ballgames, and good times. It was common to have a full house on the weekend.  Later in life, as we began to care for her and keep these traditions alive she never passed up anything new.  She could hold her own eating Buffalo wings which became one of her favorites.  

She is survived by a daughter, Carol Ann Speed Sanders; two grandchildren, Russell Sanders and wife Tina and Rodney Sanders and wife Renee; five great grandchildren, Nathan Sanders, Katie Sanders, Nicholas Sanders, Luke Sanders, and Emily Sanders; a granddaughter-in-law, Laura Widner Sanders; one sister, Joanne Cabe (Edwin); three brothers, Ray Vinson (Linda), James “Jim” Vinson (Nancy) and Jerry Vinson (Dora Ann) and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins that she loved dearly.

In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by one grandson, Ryan Sanders; one son in law, Roger Sanders; five sisters, Lucille Moffitt,  Betty Sue Elvis; Roberta Welch, Hazel Brookshire, and Dorothy Sosebee and two brothers, Edwin Vinson and Max Vinson.  She is also preceded by several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, March 9, at Riverbend Baptist Church with Rev. Roy Lowe officiating. Burial followed at Highlands Memorial Park.  Rodney Sanders, Russell Sanders, Nathan Sanders, Luke Sanders, Nicholas Sanders, James Farrish, and Jason Rogers served as pallbearers. 

The family would like to thank the folks who helped take care of her when she went to Grandview Manor.  

Crisp Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Janet Marguerite Hair

Janet Marguerite Hair

Janet Marguerite Hair (nee Strout), 78, of Franklin, N.C., peacefully passed away Thursday, March 11, 2021, at Accordius Nursing Home in Hendersonville, N.C.

She was born in Sanford, Me. She was the daughter of the late Arnold and Marguerite Wilson Strout. In addition, she was preceded in death by her husband, Richard in 2008; and a niece, Rebecca Strout Miller in 2009.

She graduated from High School in Yarmouth, Me., and attended Gray Business School in Portland, Me., and Husson College in Bangor, Me.

She was born with cerebral palsy, but that did not hinder her in any way. She always found a way to get around and get it done in her own special way. She was a long-time volunteer for Angel Medical Center in Franklin, assisting others with their medical paperwork and medications. This is where she made a special long-time and lasting friendship with Sheila and David Frank – thank you specifically to Sheila for everything you did for Janet.

A special thank you also to neighbors Marion Shuler and her daughter, Susan, who went out of their way to look in on Janet and particularly during her hospitalization, they took care of her property.

She accepted the Lord as her personal Savior at an early age. She loved to pray and praise the Lord. Her favorite program was the Jimmy Swaggart Wednesday Night Bible Study. Immediately following each study session, she loved to call her brother, Roger, and her sister-in-law Joanna and review the lesson at length. She loved to talk about heaven and would often say, “When I get to heaven, the first thing I want to do is RUN!” She was never able to run here on this earth, but today, she is running.

She is survived by her brother, Roger and his wife, Joanna, one nephew, David (Hillary) and one sister, Ellen, her husband, Herb, and their children, Amanda and Elizabeth.

Arrangements are pending.

Moffitt Family Funeral Care is honored to serve the family.

Online condolences may be made at

Arthur Grover Browning

Arthur Grover Browning

Arthur Grover Browning, 89, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Sunday, March 14, 2021.  He was born July 7, 1931, in Jackson County, to the late John Charles Browning and Lela Cope Browning. He was a U.S. Army Sergeant serving for 25 years, he served during the Vietnam War.  He was a member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, also a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion Post #108, and the Franklin VFW Post #7339 where he served as past VFW Quarter Master and honor guard. He worked as mechanic and he loved to travel.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Minnie Gertrude Browning; a daughter, Linda Browning Andy, and sons, Gary Lee Browning (Phyllis), Terry Wayne Browning and Barry Lynn Browning all of Franklin, NC; six grandchildren, Tera, Whitney, Amanda, Aaron, Casey and Skyler; and one great-grandchild, Kaitlyn.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Sherman Browning and John Browning; and a sister, Laura Rollins.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, March 20, at 2 p.m., in the Bryant-Grant Funeral Home Chapel, with Rev. Tommy Fouts and Rev. Guy Duvall officiating. Burial will follow at Ridgecrest Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 12 to 2 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.

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

David Leslie Hina

David Leslie Hina

David Leslie Hina, 82, passed away peacefully of natural causes at his home in Franklin on March 8, 2021.  At the time of his passing, he was surrounded by his loved ones and comforted by the continual presence of his wife, Bonnie Jo Hina.

Born on Jan. 19, 1939, in Ridgewood, N.J., he was raised as the precocious firstborn son of Alice and Alfred Carl Heine.  From an early age, it was evident that he had a remarkable capacity for resourcefulness.  After an education largely acquired from purchased “how-to” books and manuals, he became a remarkable craftsman and carpenter at an early age, designing and building two family homes almost entirely without assistance.  This capacity for industriousness would also color his professional life as well.  After the completion of a business college degree program, he was soon employed as a purchasing manager for both Lockheed Martin and ITT Corporation where he oversaw contracts for aerospace and industrial markets.

In addition to his vocational accomplishments, he also showed a great affinity for several domestic hobbies.  One of his passions was model railroading – a passion made evident by a stack of “Model Railroader” magazines that could be found in every family bathroom. Fortunately for his family, he also proved to be an exceedingly competent cook.  Some of his more famous dishes included “pepper steak,” an Asian dish upon which he put a remarkably American spin, and his famous apple pie which remains unmatched in the annals of family history.  He even tried his hand at needle and thread, stitching together a homemade “great white” shark costume for his son, Joshua, during one particularly eventful New Jersey Halloween.

While David’s final years were physically challenging, he was always comforted by his deep and abiding faith.  He wished to experience God joyfully and abundantly, and with the assistance of his wife, Bonnie, he was able to meet that objective.  Perhaps his faith in God can best be expressed in one of his favorite biblical passages from the Book of Romans:  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Brenda Hina.  

He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Hina; six children, David Troy Hina (Cheryl), Tara Hosie (Joseph), Noelle Hina, Kim Leonardo (Nicholas), Tyler Faetz (Melissa), and Joshua Hina (Caitlyn); 10 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

A memorial service and “celebration of life” will be held at a later date to be determined in order to accommodate extended family and friends.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home will be serving the Hina family.  Online condolences at

Grady Lee Passmore

Grady Lee Passmore

Grady Lee Passmore, 79, of Franklin, N.C., passed away March 8, 2021. 

He was born in Macon County to the late Jake and Layla Passmore. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by siblings, Bill Passmore, Don Passmore, Annie Mae Carver and Ruth Carver.

He is survived by companion, Reba Diane Wyatt; son, Randy Lee Wyatt (Kaitlyn); siblings, Gertha Fowler, Dorothy Sharp, and Ruby Higgins; and grandchildren, Blake Wyatt and Adrian Wyatt.

A service was held Tuesday, March 16, at Macon Funeral Home Chapel. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Mt Zion Cemetery.

Online condolences at

Eula Beam Thompson

Eula Beam Thompson

Eula Beam Thompson, 88, of Franklin, N.C., passed away March 15, 2021.

She was born to the late Samuel and Ada Watkins Beam. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by husband, James “Bo” Thompson; and her siblings, Frances, Sam, Evie, Junior, Lucille, Thomas, Gussie Mae, Martha, Oscar and Edgar. 

She was a member of Holly Springs Baptist Church. She was a hard worker, loved keeping a clean house, an amazing country cook, and loved her husband, Bo. 

She is survived by her godsons, Chris VanderWoude (Becky) and Scott VanderWoulde (Satu); brother, Johnny Beam (Barbara) of Covington, Ga.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A service will be held Friday, March 19, at 3 p.m., at Holly Springs Baptist Church.

Burial will be at Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Holly Springs Baptist Church Building Fund.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Online condolences can be made at

Cody Elmer Levi Owen

Cody Elmer Levi Owen

Cody Elmer Levi Owen, 25, of Jackson County, North Carolina, passed away unexpectedly Saturday, March 13, 2021, at Memorial Mission in Asheville.

He was an avid Bear hunter and Razor rider. He was such a fun loving and a big-hearted friend to everyone he came in contact with. He was always a phone call away for his family and friends, he would be there no matter what he was doing or the time of day. 

He is survived by his mother, Loretta Luker (Matt Hoyle) and his father, Steven Owen (Heather Waldrop); fiancé, Maria Kirkland; stepdaughter, Clara Faith Panell; an unborn son, Wyatt Levi Cody Owen; two brothers, Dylan Reece of Sylva and Dawson Reece of Waynesville; stepbrother and stepsister, Landon and McKayla Waldrop of Sylva; grandparents, Elmer (Hop) Luker of Tuckasegee, Ann (Cookie) Luker of Sylva; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and a host of friends. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Carmel and Pansey Owen. 

He will lie in state from 1 p.m. Friday, March 19, through 8 pm Saturday, March 20,  at the home of his mother, Loretta on Blanton’s Branch Road, Sylva. 

A funeral service will be held Sunday, March 21, at 2 p.m., at Cedar Baptist Church, Tuckasegee with the Rev. Jason Bryson and Rev. Travis Owen officiating. The family will receive friends from 1 to 2 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will follow at the Mathis Cemetery in Tuckasegee.

Pallbearers are Dawson Reece, Dylan Reece, Carson Shular, Johnny Akins, Josh Hair, Danny Stephens and Aaron Messer. Honorary Pallbearers are Steven Broom, Aaron English, Dustin Warren, Dalton Broom, Jeff Buchanan, Toby Brown, Jesse Ammons, Jamie Saunooke, Kevin Field, Jesse Stephens, Jacob Oakley, Nolan McIntosh, Mitch Jenkins, Doug Owen, Gary Owen, Bryan Owen, Jimbo Wilson, Eric Mathis and Ernest Franks. 

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that donations be made to Bryant-Grant Funeral Home and Crematory 105 West Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734.

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

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