Obituaries: June 14, 2017

James Attaway

Dec. 30, 1935 – June 3, 2017

James Horace Attaway, 81, went to be with his Lord Saturday, June 3, 2017. He courageously fought to live until the very end.

James was born Dec. 30, 1935, in Hoschton, Georgia to Hoyt and Bella Attaway. He was the last of four siblings and his father died when he was only 2 months old. He graduated from Jackson County High School; enlisted in the Air Force at age 19 and was honorably discharged after 27 years. While stationed in the United Kingdom, he met and married his beloved wife, Jenny Ormonde, of South Shields, England, Nov. 7, 1964. He served in Vietnam and was awarded numerous medals including the Bronze Star. James earned the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and upon retirement from the Air Force went to work in computer operations at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma in 1983. He retired from Tinker Oct. 1, 2003.

James graduated with an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force, Rose Junior College of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the City Colleges of Chicago. James loved his Scottie dogs (MacTavish (dec.), MacDougal (dec.) and McDuff), football (Georgia Bulldogs and SEC) and the mountains. He enjoyed his church, growing roses, the stock market and sluicing for gemstones.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jenny Attaway; his parents; two sisters; one brother; and his son, John Clarke.

Survivors include his daughter, Jane Cole, of Fort Worth, Texas; granddaughters, Karla Merrick, of Fort Worth, and Jennifer Herrera, of Rockwall, Texas; five great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 11, 2017, at Fairpark Baptist Church in Fort Worth. Interment will be beside his wife in Spruce Pine Memorial Park at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Disabled American Veterans.

Thompson Harveson & Cole Funeral Home in Fort Worth is in charge of arrangements.



Patricia Hicks Griffith

May 2, 1948 – June 11, 2017

Patricia Hicks Griffith, 69, of Weaverville, passed away peacefully June 11, 2017, at the CarePartners Solace Center in Asheville. She was the daughter of the late Charlie and Helen Huskins Hicks and the wife of the late Ray Griffith. Patricia was born in Mitchell County on May 2, 1948. She was a former resident of Burnsville and has resided in Weaverville for the past five years. Patricia was a member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church. She loved taking care of family and cooking for others. Although Patricia had no children of her own, she mothered everyone around her and made a special effort to be loving and caring to children and the elderly. Patricia will always be remembered for her smile, her sense of humor and, above all, her positive attitude.

Patricia is survived by her aunts, Nell McMahan, of Burnsville, and Georgia Self, of Spruce Pine; special cousins, Danny Hicks, and his wife, Linda, Teresa Freeman, and her husband, Doyle, and Judy Self; as well as close friend, Tonya Gibson. Many more nieces, nephews and cousins also survive.

Funeral services were 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in the Chapel of Yancey Funeral Services. The Rev. Ricky Ray officiated. The family received friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Interment will be at Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery at a later date.

The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Tonya Gibson and her Medic Transportation team, whom Patricia lovingly referred to as “her boys.” Gratitude is also expressed to the staffs of DaVita Dialysis and the Brian Center of Weaverville.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations be made to the Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 115 Hoyle Brothers Drive, Spruce Pine, NC 28777. Condolences may be made online at



Tommy Edward Hollifield

Sept. 1, 1925 — June 8, 2017

Tommy Edward Hollifield, 91, of Tappan Street, Spruce Pine, died Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Brian Center of Spruce Pine.

Born Sept. 1, 1925, in Mitchell County, he was the son of the late Manley and Effie Buchanan Hollifield. Tommy was preceded in death, along with his parents, by his son, Robert Edward Hollifield; brothers, Rex, Frank, Fred, Paul and Bill Hollifield; and his sister, Mary Griffin.

Tommy was a member of First Baptist Church in Spruce Pine where he was a former deacon. He was the owner of Hollifield Sheet Metal for 40 years, where he catered to many businesses in the surrounding area.

Left to cherish his memories are his wife of almost 68 years, Lillian Ballew Hollifield, of Spruce Pine; a daughter, Susan Hollifield, of Spruce Pine; a former daughter-in-law, Faye Pittman, and husband, Gary; special friends, Cheryl Buchanan and Russell Saxon; his beloved nieces and nephews; and many friends.

A funeral service honoring the life of Tommy Hollifield was 6 p.m. Sunday, June 11, 2017, in the chapel of Webb Funeral Home with Dr. Rocky Branch and Greg Burnette officiating. A time to support the family, share memories and receive friends was 5 p.m. until time of service Sunday, June 11, 2017, in the funeral home chapel. Interment was 11 a.m. Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Spruce Pine Memorial Cemetery.

Words of comfort may be emailed to the family by going to, selecting Tommy Hollifield’s name and signing his guestbook. Webb Funeral Home of Spruce Pine is assisting the Hollifield family.



Alma Self McKinney

Feb. 5, 1925 – June 1, 2017

Alma Self McKinney, 92, of Chestnut Grove Road, Little Switzerland, went home to be with her Lord Thursday, June 1, 2017, at Brian Center Health and Rehab in Spruce Pine.

Born Feb. 5, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Fred and Dollie Self. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd McKinney, who passed away in 1987. She was also preceded in death by an infant son, Floyd Beryl McKinney; her brothers, Jake, Gene and Cecil Self; and an infant great-granddaughter, Reagan Elizabeth Hollifield.

Alma enjoyed cooking for her family, working in her garden and reading her Bible.

Left to cherish her memories are her son, Oscar Mckinney, and wife, Sandra; her daughters, Shirley McKinney, Linda Hollifield, and husband, Charles, and Sarah McKinney; her son, Tim McKinney, and wife, Lisa; her sister, Ellie McKinney; her brothers, Fred Ray Self and Harold Self; six grandsons, Mark Hollifield, Marvin Hollifield, Myron Hollifield, Ethan McKinney, Colten McKinney and Kevin McKinney; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service honoring the life of Alma McKinney was 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4, 2017, at the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church with the Revs. Mark Hollifield, Marvin Hollifield, Colten McKinney and Shane Gunter officiating. A time to support the family, share memories and receive friends was 2 p.m. until time of service Sunday at the church. Interment was in the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family would like to extend special “thanks” to the staff of Brian Center and Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge for the wonderful care of Alma.

Condolences may be sent to the family by going to, selecting Mrs. McKinney’s name and signing her guestbook. Webb Funeral Home is honored to serve the McKinney family. Mrs. McKinney’s obituary has also been posted on Facebook.



Maxine Johnson Jones Rathbone

Maxine Johnson Jones Rathbone, 88, of Bakersville, passed away Friday, May 5, 2017, in the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. She was a daughter of the late DeWitt Talmadge Johnson and Madge Wilson Johnson. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Richard “Dick” Jones, and three sisters, Mildred Geouge, Wilma Rose Buchanan and Donna Mae Jones. She was a 1946 graduate of Unicoi County High School. Mrs. Rathbone served as Unicoi County Librarian for 19 years.

She was an active member of Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville for the past 28 years. She was a former member of Ninth Street Baptist Church in Erwin, Tennessee, where she had been a Sunday School teacher, girls’ auxiliary leader and church librarian. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and she will be greatly missed. She was truly a Proverbs 31 woman. She was an active member of the Mitchell County Senior Center.

She is survived by her second husband of 28 years, Orlie Rathbone, of Bakersville; her daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Ed Manfull; her son and daughter-in-law, Alan and Vickie Jones; her stepdaughters, Cindy Burleson and husband, Ronald, and Michelle Carroll and husband, Joe; grandchildren, Amy Tapp and husband, Tim, Jonathan Manfull and wife, Amber, Alma Lee Shumate and husband, Jared, and Alanna Jones and fiance, Justin Houston; step-grandchildren, Beth Allen and husband, David, and Jacob and Mikayla Carroll; great-grandchildren, Carrie Tapp, and fiance, Tyler Williams, John Tapp, Olivia, Ella and William Manfull, and Emma and Abbie Shumate; special nephew and niece, Stephen Jones and wife, Becky, and Susan McInturff and husband, Kevin; and several other special nephews and nieces.

The family received friends from 5-7 p.m. Monday, May 8, at Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville. Funeral services were 7 p.m. Monday, May 8, with Pastor Tim Fowler officiating. Graveside service was 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, at Evergreen Cemetery in Erwin. Minister Tim Tapp officiated.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Roan Mountain Baptist Church, 37 Sandy Branch Road, Bakersville, NC 28705.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Rathbone family through the Book of Memories at Robert Ledford Funeral Home in Erwin is privileged to serve the Rathbone family.


Spruce Pine

Luther Wayne Simpson

Luther Wayne Simpson, 77, of Spruce Pine, died Friday, June 2, 2017, at Smokey Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center. The family received friends from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, in the Chapel of Yancey Funeral Services with funeral services following. Graveside services were 11 a.m. Thursday, June 8, in Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. Visit to send online condolences.

The MItchell News

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