Obituaries for September 19, 2019

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Harley Ray Stamey Cochran

Harley Ray Stamey Cochran

Harley Ray Stamey Cochran, 20, of Franklin, N.C., passed away on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

Born in Sylva, he was the son of Randy Cochran of Nantahala,  and Marcie Phillips of Franklin, N.C. He was a member of Briartown Baptist Church. He enjoyed riding dirt bikes and loved to fish. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Joe Cochran.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by grandparents, Lois Stamey and Phil Tallent of Franklin, N.C., Gary and Gail Phillips of Conyers, Ga., and Syretta Cochran of Nantahala, N.C.; one brother, Kent Cochran and one sister, Kenley Cochran both of the home. Several aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends also survive.

Funeral Services were held on Wednesday, September 18, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home. Rev. Bo Phillips and Rev. Frank Rodriguez officiated. Burial was in the Briartown Baptist Church Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Drew Braswell, Zachery Ray, Tanner Ray, Tony Ray, Kent Cochran and Randy Cochran. Honorary Pallbearer will be Tristan Howard.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Teen Challenge of the Smokies, PO Box 2157, Franklin, NC  28744 or Highways & Hedges, 1158 Main Street, Andrews, NC 28901.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made at

JC Jacobs

JC Jacobs

JC Jacobs of Franklin, N.C., passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, September 15 exactly two months before his 101st birthday. He had fallen and broken his hip on Friday while trying to mash a plastic bottle for recycling in his home where he was living independently. Born on Jacobs Branch in the Iotla community of Franklin, he was the eldest child of Eugene and Bessie Baldwin Jacobs. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Frankie Bumgarner Jacobs and siblings, Kate, Radford and Carroll. He was a World War II veteran, serving in North Africa and Italy. He owned and operated businesses on Main Street in Franklin for over 66 years, and in Highlands, Clayton and Sylva. His business included People’s Department Store, The Twins’ Shop, The Gift Gallery and Bridal Shoppe, Designer’s Alley: Bed and Bath and More. He was a visionary, building Harrison Garden Apartments, Brookwood Subdivision, Carriage Park Condos, and the Meadow Wood Apartment Complex because he felt Franklin needed these types of living spaces. He served as a past President of the Chamber of Commerce, as an Alderman on the Town of Franklin Board and as a School Board Member. He was a 62-year member of the American Legion, a 70-year member of the Masonic Lodge in Franklin and a proud member of the Franklin Rotary Club for over 72 years.

He was a member of First Baptist Church in Franklin, serving as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher and Department Director. He was active in the Baptist Men of North Carolina and served as a member of the North Carolina Baptist General Board. He and his wife Frankie were honored to give generously to the Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina along with many other good causes. He was a life-long learner and loved to travel. He believed in and lived out charity and service to his community. At age 100 he could still add a column of figures in his head and did business on a handshake.

He is survived by his daughters, Janet Jacobs Greene and Nancy Jacobs Paris and beloved son-in-law Vic Greene; two sisters, Helen Byrd of Hendersonville, N.C. and Lois Meadows of Franklin, N.C.; grandchildren Jason Long and wife Mary of Greenville, S.C.; Lori Long and partner Chad Williams of Franklin, N.C.; Heather Barrows Dorion and husband Craig of Cary, N.C.; Brooke Barrows Morgan and husband Kyle of Matthews, N.C.; Taylor Paris Marinakis and husband Zach of Chapel Hill, N.C.; step-grandchildren Megan Greene Roberts and husband Haynes of Athens, Ga.; John Greene of Greenville, S.C.; and great-grandchildren Haelan and Ashwin Long, Abi and Mya Echevarria-Long, Claire, Cole and Sam Dorion, Graycen, Tucker and Annie Morgan, Millie and Jane Roberts, and soon-to-be born baby Marinakis; nieces and nephews. Also considered part of the family are Frances Ashe and Margaret Howard.

A Celebration of his life will be held  on Saturday, September 21, 4 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Franklin. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. with the service following. Burial will take place in Woodlawn Cemetery with masonic rites conducted by the Junaluskee Lodge No. 145 and military rites conducted by the VFW Post 7339 and American Legion Post 108. Dr. Robert Brown, Dr. Victor Greene and Rev. Janet Greene will officiate. Pallbearers will be Jason Long, Craig Dorion, Kyle Morgan, Zach Marinakis, Chad Williams, Scotty Jacobs, Larry Jacobs and David Curtis.

Memorial donations can be made to WNC Baptist Home, 213 Richmond Hill Drive, Asheville, NC  28806.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Betty Louise Rhodes

Betty Rhodes

Betty Louise Rhodes, 88, of Washougal, Wa., passed away on August 10, 2019.

She was born on August 19, 1930 to parents Earl Bartlow and Dorothy Lee Gibson in Bradenton, Fla., and attended Palmetto High School in Manatee County.  She enjoyed being at the beach and shelling.  She also enjoyed nature, the trees and animals.  She always had time for others and walked her Christian walk.  She will be deeply missed by all who knew her. She was a member of Holly Springs Baptist Church.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Donald W. Rhodes and sister, Jane Rhodes.

Survivors include her sons, Randy (Cathey) Gray of Franklin, N.C., Ronnie (Donna) Gray of Bradenton, Fla., David (Barbara) Gray of Washougal, Wa; daughter, Denise (Blake) Pevy of Bradenton, Fla.; 11 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 4 nieces & nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, October 5, at 11 a.m.,  at Holly Springs Baptist Church. Rev. Brandon Breedlove and Rev. Mike Privett will officiate. A graveside service will follow at Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery Fund.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made at

Tracey Eileen Strain

Tracey Eileen Strain

Tracey Eileen Strain, beloved sister of Cynthia Strain of Highlands and Deborah Harp of Loveland, Ohio, died unexpectedly on September 11, 2019. 

Born in Alliance Ohio in 1948 to the late Richard and Barbara Strain, she graduated from Mount Union College with a degree in Library Science and also obtained a Masters degree in Music from Kent State. After working in West Palm Beach as a Reference Librarian, she moved to Highlands in 1989 where she owned and operated Whiskers Gift Shop until her retirement in 2013. Afterwards she did volunteer stints at the Highlands Visitor Center and the Bookworm. An avid cat lover, Tracey enjoyed a lifelong love of books and classical music. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Highlands-Cashiers Humane Society, 200 Gable Drive, Sapphire, N.C., 28774. A private service will be held at a later date. 

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

Robin VanHook Fisher

Robin VanHook Fisher of Brewton, Ala., passed away on July 29, 2019 at home surrounded by her husband, son and step-son. She was born on April 19, 1959 to the late Clarence R. VanHook and Lucy Batman VanHook.

She enjoyed deer and wild hog hunting and classic car shows, especially the “Cruising the Coast” car show. 

She was preceded in death by her father Clarence R. VanHook, infant sister Shirley VanHook, and sister Kathy VanHook Shirley Hayes.

She is survived by her husband Gary Fisher of Brewton, Ala.; her son Randy I. VanHook of Conn.; step-son Rick Fisher of Va.; her mother Lucy Bateman VanHook of Franklin; brothers, Randy VanHook and wife Julie of Franklin, Jerry VanHook of Franklin, and Allan VahHook and Fiance’ Jennifer Nations of Otto; sister Margaret (Susie) VanHook Billingsley and husband Darrell of Scaly Mountain, N.C. 

Graveside services were held on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at Clarks Chapel Cemetery, Larry Raby officiated.  

Robert Gary “Blue” Sutton

Robert Gary “Blue” Sutton

Robert Gary “Blue” Sutton, 65, of Etowah, N.C., passed away on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.

Born in Macon County, he was the son of the late Bob and Betty Dunn Sutton. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Sharlene Dills and a nephew, Danny Dills. Gary was a US Army veteran and was stationed at the DMZ in Korea. He was a telephone contractor for many years. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed fishing with his grandkids. Gary was a member of Windy Gap Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Margaret Hall Sutton; two daughters, Mandi Ballinger (Chris) of Horseshoe, N.C. and Robyn Bryson (David) of Hendersonville, N.C.; two sisters, Barbara Tallent and Sandra Hopkins both of Franklin, N.C.; four grandchildren, Gracie, Cooper, Andy and Sam and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services were  held on Sunday, September 15 at Windy Gap Baptist Church. Rev. Mark Bishop and Rev. Davis Hooper officiated. Burial was in the Shepherd Cemetery. Please come in your best golf-attire.

Pallbearers were Brian Hopkins, Jason Hopkins, Bobby Dills, Travis Tallent, Jimmy Johnson, Max Welch and Bill Stewart.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made at

Pete Armes

Pete Armes

Pete Armes passed away on September 13, 2019 at the age of 93.  He was a current resident of Kingston, Tenn., and also lived and worked for many years in Franklin, N.C.  He was marred to Nancy Imogen Freels Armes for 71 years before she passed on February 21, 2017.  They had 4 children, 11, granchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.  

He worked in hosiery plants in Harriman, Franklin and Rockwood prior to co-owning and operating small businesses with his wife in both Franklin and Kingston.  In retirement,  he enjoyed fishing, camping, traveling and building local access ramps with his church volunteers.

He is survived by three of his four children.  His youngest son Bobby having preceded him in death.  His three surviving children are Paul and his wife Linda, Ronnie and his wife Glenda and Brenda Hughes.

Funeral services were held at Davis Funeral Home in Harriman, Tenn. on Wednesday September 18, 2019.   Burial was at Roane Memorial Gardens in Rockwood.

His nephew Pastor Buster Armes  officiated.  Pall bearers were Stephen Armes, Jerry Queen, Nathan Armes, Travis Armes, Wesley Armes, Brent Queen and Bo Higdon.

 Davis Funeral Home in Harriman was honored to serve the Armes family.

Condolences may be sent to the family at 

There will be a Celebration of Life on Sunday, September 22,  from 2 to 4 p.m., in remembrance of Pete Armes for family and friends unable to attend the service in Tennessee. The service will be held at the Cullasaja Fire Department. There will be more details to follow.  Daughter Brenda Hughes invites you to come and be a part of this special time.