Obituaries for November 19, 2020

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Gary Finley

Gary Finley, 69, of Highlands, N.C., passed away on Aug. 2, 2020.

He was born in New York, but has lived in both Franklin and Highlands for the past 39 years and he loved these mountains.

He was an Air Force veteran and was proud to serve his country.

He had a love for music and woodworking. He played the trumpet and banjo from a very young age and won many awards.

Many of the wooden signs in the area were freehand carved by him, using a router and chisels. He also hand carved beautiful fireplace mantels, clocks, lamps. He also built furniture and custom made cabinets. He hand carved all scenery and people and built miniatures of a blacksmith shop, woodcarvers shop, and old jail. He wanted to re-create a whole 1800s town but did not get time to finish it.

He helped promote art and craft shows in the area for many years. He donated many of his carvings and crafts to raise money for several local charities.

He was raised by his biological parents until he was 3 years old and then in an orphanage and foster homes until he was 8. He was adopted by Joseph and Lorraine Finley and grew up on their 100-acre farm in New York. His father, Joe, retired as a New York State Assemblyman and owned a second home in Highlands which is how Gary came to live in this area.

He made many friends throughout his life, had a very outgoing personality and loved talking about politics. He will always be missed by his family, who loved him dearly. His family knows that his faith in God was stronger than anyone they have ever known and are sure his childhood had plenty to do with that. His family knows he is with his Father in Heaven now.

He was preceded in death by his dad, Joseph Finley; his mother, Lorraine Finley; his sister, Sandy Richards; and his half sister, Rebecca Milliman.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years Kathie Finley; his oldest son, Erik Finley and wife Dedy; his daughter, Justyne Reese and husband Aaron; his youngest son, Jesse Finley and wife Jennifer; his brother, Don Kunes; his sister, Sharon Day; his adopted brother, Lee Finley; and seven grandchildren.

Wayne Thomas Swank

Wayne Thomas Swank

Wayne Thomas Swank went to be with the Lord on Nov. 10, 2020, while under hospice care for Alzheimers.  He was born on March 8, 1936, in Washington D.C.  He was the son of William Swank and Evelyn Menne.  He is preceded in death by his brother, Gerald Swank, and his parents.  

He is survived by his wife Roberta Swank, and his children, Laureen King (Larry), Douglas Swank (Tommie), Scott Swank, and Mark Swank (Amy); eight grandchildren, Kathryn and Thomas King, Kurtis and Kellen Swank, and Kali Niethammer, William, Elizabeth, and James Swank; and four great grandchildren.

He was a pioneer in forest hydrology. He received his undergraduate in Forest Management from West Virginia University in 1958, a Masters in Silviculture from the University of Washington in 1959, and a Doctorate in Forest Hydrology from the University of Washington in 1972. Beyond these formal activities, he was generous with advice and ideas and he had decades-long partnerships with numerous scientists in federal agencies, research labs, and universities locally and from across the world. While his scientific accomplishments were exceptional, among his greatest contributions were in shaping the careers of students and early career scientists. He served as Adjunct Professor at six universities; primarily at University of Georgia, Clemson University and University of Florida.

He enjoyed woodworking, fishing, running, gardening, photography and playing cards among other hobbies.  He touched all 4 corners of the globe both in business and pleasure travels.  He and his wife of 62 years enjoyed traveling the world together including a three-month stay at the University of Durham in the UK, a two-week trip in Australia and the three-week trip to China. He was a member of First United Methodist Church and long-term member of the Rotary Club of Franklin.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Nov. 14, at Franklin First United Methodist Church.  Memorial donations can be made to

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences may be made to the family at

Joanne Bentz Baro

Joanne Bentz Baro

After a five-year battle with dementia, Joanne Bentz Baro (also known as Memaw to not only her family but to many she embraced as extended family and friends) went Home to be with the Lord on Oct. 19, 2020, at her home in North Carolina, surrounded by her husband, Anthony Baro, her daughter Becca Baro and her granddaughter, Tawny Perez. Also present were her dogs, Shasta, Little, Lucky and Leo.

She is survived by her husband, Anthony Baro; son, Anthony Baro Jr., Becca Baro; and three grandchildren, Anthony Baro III, Tawny and Johnny Perez 

She was born on Nov. 1, 1945, in Miami, Fla., to Dorothy and Bob Bentz, who predeceased her along with her sister Dot Young.

She married Anthony Baro on July 13, 1962. They began their marriage in Miami and moved as the Air Force warranted to Lakeland, Fla., Texas and Mississippi and moved back to Miami after her husband completed service in the Air Force. During those four years Anthony Baro Jr. was born.

After returning to Miami, Joanne and Anthony partnered 58 years in raising their children, as well as being always deeply involved in raising their grandchildren. In addition, Joanne supported her husband in three businesses always by his side and as the children grew, they too were involved. She always had an open-door policy to their home to anyone and everyone who needed – which included through the years 17 dogs of which 13 welcomed her home to Heaven.

In 2001, they moved to North Carolina to care for her mother who had Alzheimer’s. With time, her daughter and grandchildren followed.

She wrote in a paper for Elementary School On Who She Admired: “If I were to choose whom I admire, I would choose my mother. I have always wanted to be like my mother.” Joanne exceeded her desire to be like her Mother in the unconditional love, encouragement, and hospitality she was known for. If there was but a few words to define Joanne – it would be “Infectious, contagious love for everyone she met.”

Joanne is dearly missed and will never be forgotten. Her legacy for all who loved and knew her will be to love and love deeply. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Moffitt Family Funeral Care is honored to serve the family.

Online condolences may be made at

Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson was a widower of a 44-year marriage to Deborah Anderson. The father of four sons, loved and survived by three sons and daughter in laws, Wade and Imelda Anderson, Craig and Deanna Anderson, and Kevin and Sam Anderson. He was blessed with nine amazing grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was also loved and survived by two sisters and brothers-in-law, Ann and Travis Burford, Ruby and Chet Lane, a brother and sister- in-law, Quince and Nancy Anderson, and a brother-in-law, Lonnie Marks. He had six other brothers and sisters who have previously passed, JD, Louise, Martha, Jenny, Mary Ellen and Jimmy.

He was a hard working man in his younger years, retiring from Reynolds Aluminum in Longview Wash., where he and Debbie raised their family. He loved NASCAR, fishing, working on cars, gardening, smoking salmon from his brother Quince and ice cold beer. He taught his children to work hard, finish what you start and to do it right or not at all. He loved his family and always did the best he knew how to do. He will be missed.