Obituaries – March 22, 2017


F. Jack Nelson

Oct. 18, 1940 — March 17, 2017


F. Jack Nelson, 76, of Spruce Pine, managed to leave this house he loved feet first, just as he intended when he bought it 20 years ago. Always in charge, he died on March 17, 2017, in the 17th home he had provided for his family. He was born Oct. 18, 1940, in Danville, Illinois, and raised in Peoria by his father, Fred J. Nelson Sr., who taught him to strive to do the best work possible at any venture (and how to out-fish his brother Randy) and his loving mother Louise Temple Nelson, the Victorian Lady, who was frequently astonished at what she had produced. 

He graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, four months after marrying the love of his life, Roberta (Bobbie) Sundling, a fellow student there. Their 55th anniversary was in February.  

Beginning his professional life as an auditor for Arthur Andersen in Chicago, he next managed to work for several firms either as controller (the youngest one ever at Elgin National Watch Company) or financial vice president on his way to his favorite job representing the president and owner of a pipeline coating and construction company home – based in Oklahoma. In his ventures, he moved the family while he worked in Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Houston, the Philadelphia area, and Plymouth and Lakeville, Massachusetts. He traveled much of the world and negotiated business deals with Russian firms and throughout the Middle East, and oversaw projects such as a section of the Alyeska Pipeline and others in Canada, Mexico and Europe.

He was a fine fisherman and hunted game in several states and a few countries. He and Bobbie won their divisions in a ladies’ and men’s salmon fishing tournament during a pipeline convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but his favorite fishing was during family vacations at Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. The level of competition among the family members for bringing in the biggest trout is still legend in their stories, and he was an avid golf and football fan, having lettered in those sports in high school and college. He was a gifted storyteller of his adventures around the world and a notorious entertainer of business acquaintances and friends when he managed to stay home long enough to do so. Jack had a well-justified reputation as the chef and created several recipes popular with the family.

In addition to his parents, preceding him in death is his sister, Marilyn Nelson Morse. 

Surviving are his wife, Bobbie; daughter, Laura Jean Nelson; sons, Eric Allan Nelson and Bradley Temple Nelson (Alyssa Shatford); five grandsons, Brian Matthew Opat (Brandi Richter) and children Kaitlynn, Lailah, Wyatt, Brina and Caleigh Jo, Richard Greggory Opat (Christie Holland) and children Vanessa, Jack, and Collin; stepchildren Tiffani and Dustin Stanley, Jeffrey Michael Opat, Robert Temple Nelson and William Power Nelson. Also surviving are his brother, Randall Alan Nelson, and his brother-in-law, Alan Nelson Sundling, and his wife, Angela; five nephews and three nieces and their children. 

Since he was a dog lover from his youth, also grieving his loss are his two French Bulldogs and his Bullmastiff.

Jack was a larger-than-life character who was loved and will not easily be forgotten.

Asheville Area Alternative Funeral and Cremation Services is assisting the family. His wishes were for no formal services and people who knew him will remember him in their own way. The family will gather for a Memory Party at a later date. We wish to thank Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge for their tender and thoughtful ministrations, and especially his primary Nurse, Terra McKinney.



Margaret Ann Ollis

Margaret Ann Ollis, 67, of Buchanan Street, Spruce Pine, passed away March 19, 2017. She was a native of Mitchell County and a daughter of the late J.C. and Ethel Gouge McKinney. She was a member of Fork Mountain Baptist Church and was retired from Bassett Walker Company. 

Survivors include her husband, Lee Roy Ollis, of the home; two daughters, Leigh Ann Buchanan (Randal), of Bakersville, and Tammy Yelton (Tommy), of Spruce Pine; and six grandchildren, Danny Moody, Mindy Moody, Isaac Moody, Samantha Hughes, Allison Buchanan and Brennan Buchanan.

She was preceded in death, in addition to her parents, by one sister, Ruby Bryant. 

A memorial service is 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in the chapel of Henline-Hughes Funeral Home with Mark McKinney and Randy Wise officiating.

Henline-Hughes Funeral Home is assisting the Ollis Family. 




Wilford Lee Shuford

Wilford Lee Shuford, 81, of the South Toe Community, went home to be with the Lord Thursday, March 16, 2017, at St. Joseph’s Hospital. A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Stanley and Zora Lane Shuford and husband of the late Kathleen Shuford, who passed away March 28, 2011. He was also preceded in death by an infant brother and two sisters-in-law, Irene and Kay Shuford.  

Wilford loved going to Gatlinburg and visiting Cades Cove and was a logger and heavy equipment operator most of his life. He loved working with his sons building roads and running the bulldozer. He logged with his brothers and operated a small sawmill and logged with his brother, Jim, around South Toe River.    

Surviving is his daughter, Elaine Shuford Hall, and husband, Randall; sons, Doyle Shuford and wife, Kathy, of Marion, and Andrew Shuford and wife, Summer Shae, of South Toe; sisters, Lillian Huskins, of South Toe, and Linda Hendricks and husband, John, of Spruce Pine; brothers, Jim Shuford and wife, Leta, of South Toe, Martin Shuford, of Micaville, Troy Shuford and wife, Fran, of Marion, Junior Shuford and wife, Viola, of South Toe, and Richard Shuford, of Spruce Pine; grandchildren, Jason and Nicole Loftis; great-grandchildren, Connor and Maya Loftis; and several nieces and nephews.

The family received friends from 6:30-8 p.m. Sunday, March 19, in the Chapel of Yancey Funeral Services. Funeral services were 2 p.m. Monday, March 20, at the funeral home. The Rev. Philip Garland officiated. Burial followed in the Autrey Cemetery.

Visit to send online condolences.  





Carolyn Renfro, 68, of Spruce Pine, died Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Brian Center Health and Rehab in Spruce Pine. A funeral service for Ms. Renfro was 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017, at the Crabtree Chapel Baptist Church. Interment followed in The Crabtree Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery. Words of comfort may be sent to the family by going to, selecting Carolyn Renfro’s name and signing her guestbook. Webb Funeral Home of Spruce Pine is assisting the Renfro family.  




Louella Daisy Crowder Simerly, 88, of Marion, died Monday, March 13, 2017. No Services are planned at this time. Words of comfort may be sent to the family by going to, selecting Louella Simerly’s name signing her guestbook. Webb Funeral Home of Spruce Pine is assisting the Simerly family. Ms. Simerly’s obituary has also been posted on Facebook.



Nellie Warren West, 82, of Union Mills, died Sunday, March 12, 2017, at her home. Funeral services were Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at Crowe’s Mortuary with the Rev. Billy Honeycutt officiating. Interment was in Mt. Vernon Baptist Church cemetery. The family received friends one hour prior to the service at the mortuary.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616