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Deaths & Funerals Deaths & Funerals - 08/01/2013

Dr. Raynor L. Duncombe

Dr. Raynor L. Duncombe, 96, died recently at his residence in Austin, Texas.

Born in Bronxville, N.Y., in 1917, he was educated at Wesleyan University, with an M.A. from the University of Iowa in English literature and a PhD from Yale University in Astronomy. He worked as an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. and was director of the Nautical Almanac Office; until recently, he served as a professor of aerospace science at the University of Texas at Austin and was recently made professor emeritus.

He was a member of the NASA space science steering committee having worked on the Vanguard, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects and was instrumental in determining the orbit of Sputnik when launched by the Russians. He was a member of the Hubble Space Telescope Astrometry team and was past executive editor of Celestial Mechanics. He was a fellow of various astronomy associations and received numerous awards.

He was a true renaissance man. He was as comfortable reciting poetry as he was discussing the universe. He learned to fly a plane, had perfect pitch and played several musical instruments, and was skilled at plumbing, carpentry and electrical work. Most of all he had a contagious sense of humor and a well grounded sense of self that was never boastful. He loved encouraging and aiding students in pursuit of their education. He enriched so many lives and will be sorely missed by those who knew him.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Avis Bailey Duncombe and by his second wife, Julena Steinheider Duncombe. He is survived by one son, Raynor Bailey Duncombe (Janice) of Middleburgh, N.Y., two grandchildren, Christina L. Duncombe of Chesapeake, Va., and Raynor L. Duncombe (Heidi) of Mooresville, N.C., and their two children, his great grandchildren, Ava and Zack.

A service, followed by a visitation will be held on Saturday, Aug. 3, at noon at Bryant-Grant Funeral Home, Highway 64 E., Highlands. Burial will be at a later date in Newtown, Conn.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the University of Texas, Department of Aerospace Engineering, 301 E. Dean Keeton C2100, Austin, Texas 78712-0287 with checks payable to UT Austin.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made at

Carol Suzanne Ritzman KirkCarol Suzanne Ritzman Kirk

Carol Suzanne Ritzman Kirk, 84, of Hayesville, N.C., passed away Saturday, July 27, at her residence. She was born in Toledo, Ohio, the daughter of the late Walter W. and Stella Coen Ritzman. She was married 61 years to James Ezra Kirk Jr. who passed Oct. 15, 2011. She was a dental hygienist for 30 years with Dr. Archie Kline in Toledo, Ohio. She was a member of the Phi Mu Sorority at Ohio State University and was a member of the Hayesville First United Methodist Church. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She is survived by a daughter, Patricia K. Beumel and her husband Nicholas of Toledo, Ohio and her son, James E. Kirk III and his wife Janice of Swanton, Ohio; a granddaughter, Amy Katherine Lombarbi and her husband, Jeff, of Columbus, Ohio; a greatgrandson, Ezra David Lomarbi; and a brother, Walter Ritzman of Estes Park, Colo. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Wilma Jane Geddis and Florence Meredith.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Aug. 3, at 11 a.m. at Hayesville First United Methodist Church with Rev. Kirk Hatherly officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hayesville First United Methodist Church, 989 Hwy 64 Business, Hayesville, NC 28904.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made by visiting

Tommy Carroll DrakeTommy Carroll Drake

Tommy Carroll Drake, 59, of Franklin, N.C., went home to be with Jesus Monday, July 29, 2013. Born in Pontiac, Mich., he was the son of the late Clyde C. and Patricia Stiles Drake. He was employed by Drake Software. He was a musician, singing and playing bass, and used his musical talents for the Lord; he was a member of Cowee Baptist Church. He had a big heart.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jewell Ledford Drake; one daughter, Klara Ledford Higgins and her husband Gary of Greeneville, Tenn.; one son, Jonathan Sanders of Franklin, two sisters, Millie Holden and her husband Colonel and Faith Drake all of Franklin; two brothers, Warren Drake and his wife Ronda and Phil Drake and his wife Sharon all of Franklin; and one grandchild, Wyatt Sanders.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Aug. 2, at 4 p.m. at Longview Baptist Church with Rev. Wiley Gibson and Rev. Rusty Coram officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. His son, son-in-law and nephews will serve as pallbearers. The family will receive friends Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bryant-Grant Funeral Home where the body will remain until being placed in the church 30 minutes prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Longview Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 93 Jones Ridge Road, Franklin, NC 28734.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences at

Sallie Ann MasonSallie Ann Mason

Sallie Ann Mason, 57, of St. Cloud, Fla., formerly of Franklin, N.C., passed away Saturday, July 20, 2013. Born in Macon County, she was the daughter of the late Robert S. and Edna Webb Mason.

She attended Rabun Gap Nacoochee School and operated her own mechanic business. She loved her Harley and lived to ride; she was co-founder of the Pickle Bash and influenced many to ride, no matter the weather. She never missed the rally at Daytona.

She is survived by four daughters, Michelle Drew Henry, Karen Lynn McDermott Ward, Stephanie Idon Mason and Samantha Gene Hensley; two sons, Steven Gregory Barnes II and Barry Wayne Mason; one sister, Roberta Mason Hensley and husband Steve; 20 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one niece.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Seth Mason; a brother, Robert Eugene Mason and two nephews, Robert Gordon Hensley and Mitchell Ray Hensley.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences at

Eleanor Hahn Parker

Eleanor Hahn Parker, 94, of Cashiers, N.C., passed away Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Born in Olney, Ill., she was the daughter of the late Peter Andrew Hahn and Elizabeth Stark Hahn. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Arley Dale Parker; daughter, Phyllis Parker Doherty; grandson, Jim Doherty and sisters, Anne Marie Underwood and Lucille Bolander. She enjoyed quilting, cooking and spending time with her family. She was a member of St. Judes Catholic Church in Sapphire, N.C.

She is survived by her granddaughter, Kim Doherty Dillard of Franklin; three great-grandchildren, Amanda Dillard of Franklin and Andrew and Albert Dillard both of Cashiers; five great-great grandchildren, Parker Cabe, Brennan Cabe and Levi Blanton, all of Franklin, Jackson Blanton and Marley Dillard both of Cashiers; two sisters, Virginia Delzell of Greensboro, N.C., and Martha Ohm of Prescott, Ariz. and son-in-law, Frank Doherty of Cashiers, N.C.

A Memorial Mass will be held on 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at St. Judes Catholic Church.

Memorial donations can be made to Cashiers- Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 886, Cashiers, NC 28717.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences can be made at

Ray SwaffordRay Swafford

Ray Swafford, 89, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Friday, July 26, 2013, at his residence. Born in Macon County he was the son of the late Perry B. and Pearl Baldwin Swafford. He was married to Mildred Shope Swafford for 69 years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Franklin. He retired from the hospital where he worked as a business office manager. He was also the City Manager for the Town of Franklin and was a manager for Winn-Dixie. He was a loving husband, father and uncle.

In addition to his wife, Mildred, he is survived by two sons, Daniel Ray Swafford of Franklin, and David Wayne Swafford and wife Linda of Nantahala, N.C.; one sister, Doris Martin and husband Davis of Sylva, N.C., one sister-in-law, Ruth Swafford of Oklahoma and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by two brothers, Harold E. Swafford and Frank E. Swafford; one half-brother, Carl Baldwin; one sister, Grace Kitchens and a half-sister, Annie B. McCall, and an infant brother.

Funeral services were held on Monday, July 29, in the chapel of Bryant Grant Funeral Home with Rev. Steve Reeves and Dr. Robert Brown officiating. Burial was in the Iotla Baptist Church Cemetery. Pallbearers were John Hook, Jim Shope, Clark Shope, Gene Swafford, Rick Rogers, Mac Harrison and Henry Wall. Honorary Pallbearers were Jay Sanders, Alan Vinson, Truman Rogers, Bud Shope, Radford Jacobs, David Cheeks, Johnny Raby and the Swafford West Sunday School Class.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Iotla Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 1537 Iotla Church Rd. Franklin, NC 28734 or to the First Baptist Church at 69 Iotla St. Franklin, NC 28734.

Bryant Grant Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences are available by visiting

Jack Lee BoyceJack Lee Boyce

Jack Lee Boyce, 83, of Franklin, N.C., passed away Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

Born in Washington, N.C., he was the son of the late George Boyce and Beulah Forehand. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Viola Pendergrass Boyce who died in 2006; sister, Ethel Roper; and a brother, Robert Boyce. He was a U.S. Navy Air Corp veteran. He loved the mountains, being outside and hunting ginseng. He was a member of Mt. Sinai Assembly of God.

He is survived by two sons, Lee Boyce and wife Vicky and John “Smiley” Boyce both of Franklin; five daughters, Marie Snyder and husband Richard, Annette Johnson and husband Carl, Nancy Maynard, Hazel Norris and husband Tim and Rachel Deville and husband Cecil all of Franklin; step-daughter, Tina Pendergrass; brother, Buddy Boyce; 23 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren; one god granddaughter; one great-god-grandchild and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home. Rev. John Raby, Rev. Phillip Cochran and Rev. Robert Dryman will officiate. Burial will be in the Tippett Cemetery with military rites conducted by VFW Post 7339 and American Legion Post 108.

Pallbearers will be William Boyce, George Maynard, Justin Spates, Jacob Norris, Chad Spates and Bill Stanfield. Honorary pallbearers will be Preston Hathcock, Dalton Hathcock, Dallas Boyce and Matt Norris.

Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences can be made at

Gilbert Forest HargettGilbert Forest Hargett

Gilbert Forest Hargett, died Thursday, July 25, 2013, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Joy Sudderth, three offspring, Dylan Hargett of Warne, Callie Archer and husband Rodney of Andersonville, Tenn., and Cory Hargett of Huntersville, N.C.; two grandchildren, Valen Forest Hargett and Sireen Skyy Hargett; a sister, Kendra Weiss of Randolph, N.J., and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by both parents, Drs. Earl and Martha Hargett, and sisters, Sue Kassin and Paula Weeks.

Born Dec. 4, 1949, in Florence, Ala., and a 1971 graduate of the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady School of Journalism, his experiences included serving as an intern for then Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter. He was also the personal aide to Georgia's Sam Nunn during Nunn's campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1972.

He moved to Western North Carolina in the early 1970s when he was employed by the Daniel Boone Council of the Boy Scouts of America. After leaving the Scouts, he guided on rivers in the southeast for more than 20 years. An expert paddler, raft guide, EMT, wilderness first responder, rock climber, and golfer, he envisioned a center where local youth and youth organizations could go and have hands on experiential education opportunities.

He and his good friends Tom Trawick and Tim Meader started Western Carolina Pacesetters, a non-profit serving youth in Graham, Cherokee, Clay, Macon, and Swain counties following the publication of his book, “Great Adventures In the Southern Appalachians,” in 1994.

A life celebration will be held at the Folk School Keith House at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, G. Forest Hargett River Access Fund, PO Box 889, Murphy, NC 28906; or at the website at

An online guest register at

Dallas Pauline Henson

Dallas Pauline Henson, 94, originally of Franklin, N.C., passed away July 26, 2013, at the home of her daughter, Deborah Henson, in rural Amery, Wisc. She was born May 13, 1919, on Bell Creek, Hiawassee, Towns County, Ga., to Lewis Cass Ledford and Bellzona (Coleman) Ledford. She attended Young Harris College majoring in education. She worked two years in Gastonia, N.C., at Parkdale Cotton Mill and Firestone. She attended Toccoa Falls Institute majoring in business and Bible. She taught Bible schools in the summers for the American Sunday School Union and was active in administrative duties in her home church’s district. After graduating, she taught at Dooley Independent School in Union County, Ga. She married J. B. Henson, on May 4, 1952, in Walhalla, S.C., and they made their home at Riverside, Franklin. They were in dairy farming from 1953-1982. She was active in Hickory Knoll Methodist Church, Homemakers Club, and enjoyed gardening, quilting, crocheting, and is remembered for her good cooking by her friends and family. She loved to work crossword puzzles.

She was preceded in death by her husband, J. B. Henson, her parents and all of her sisters, brothers, and in-laws: two sisters, Beatrice Burch (Grady), Vesta Ledford, and four brothers, Doyle Ledford (Fern, Faye), Dorman Ledford, Olan Ledford (Claudia), and Avery (Jenny).

She is survived by her daughter, Deborah Henson, and son-inlaw, Lorand Swenson, of Amery, Wisc.; two granddaughters, Amanda Swenson of Boston, Mass. and Kristina Swenson of Amery, Wisc.; numerous nieces and nephews (and their children and grandchildren); sister-in-law, Mary Cagle, and cousins.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m. at Hickory Knoll United Methodist Church with Rev. Paul Sears officiating and Amanda Swenson doing the eulogy . Burial will be in the church cemetery. Pallbearers will be Kristina Swenson, Tommy Ledford, Jerry Moss, Lewis Burch, Brian Burch, Phillip Ledford, Roger Hicks, Jim Bruner, Larry Conley, and Richard Alexander. The family will receive friends from 1 to 2 p.m Sunday at Bryant Grant Funeral Home in Franklin. The body will remain at Bryant-Grant Funeral Home until placed in the church 30 minutes prior to services.

Flowers (no potted plants please) may be sent, or memorials may be made to Hickory Knoll Methodist Church, P O Box 26, Otto, NC 28763.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences at

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