Obituaries for Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Gertrude ‘Trudy’ 

Drews Buckner

Gertrude “Trudy” Drews Buckner, 85, of Spruce Pine, formerly of Lincolnton, went home to be with the Lord Sunday, June 17, 2018, at her home. A native of Lomita, California, she was a daughter of the late H.C. and Edna Wilson Drews, and the wife of the late David L. Buckner, who passed away in 2000. She was also preceded in death by her sisters, Ozeta Brown and Juanita Hawks; and a brother, Edward Drews. She was a devoted and lifelong attendee of Assembly of God churches. She was a church pianist for many years who loved to play and sing. Trudy also loved word games. 

Left to cherish her memories are her children, Jana Buckner, of Carolina Shores, Sheila Glenn, of Spruce Pine, Brenda Buckner, of Chicago, Illinois, and Alan Buckner and wife, Michelle, of Lincolnton; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews also survive.

Funeral services were 3 p.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, in the Chapel of Yancey Funeral Services in Burnsville. Brother Lee Russell and Brother Kevin Crawford officiated. Burial followed in the Academy Cemetery in Burnsville. The family received friends from 2-3 p.m. prior to the services at the funeral home. 

Memorial donations may be made to Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas Child, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.  To send online condolences, visit 



Douglas Lee Dellinger

Douglas Lee Dellinger, 76, of Bakersville, went home to be with the Lord Monday, June 18, 2018, in the Duke Medical Center in Durham. He was the son of the late Spencer and Helen Greene Dellinger.

Doug was a graduate of Bowman High School and Appalachian State Teachers College. He spent his teaching career educating and coaching the children of Mitchell County. He was a member of the Mitchell County Schools Board of Education and was a lifetime member of the Roan Mountain Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. He was also the owner and operator of Lick Ridge Nursery. He loved working with shrubbery, gardening and the outdoors, but especially loved spending time with his grandchildren, from ballgames, farming and just being a friend.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 53 years, Judy McCoury Dellinger, of the home; daughter, Penny Turbyfill and husband, Steve; son, Dale Dellinger, and wife, Stephanie; and sister, Louise Honeycutt, and husband, Bradley, all of Bakersville. Doug was “Paw” to his four grandchildren, Megan Dellinger, Halee Turbyfill, Meredith Dellinger and Ty Turbyfill. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services were 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at the Roan Mountain Baptist Church with the Rev. Mark McKinney officiating. The family received friends from 4-7 p.m. prior to the service. Burial was 11 a.m. Thursday in the Green Young Cemetery. The family received friends at their home at any time.

Memorials may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, 236 Hospital Drive, Spruce Pine, NC 28777.

Henline-Hughes Funeral Home is assisting the Dellinger Family.



James Ronald ‘Ron’ Edwards

James Ronald “Ron” Edwards passed away at home Saturday, June 16, 2018, surrounded by his loving family. He was 84. 

He was born Jan. 20, 1934, in Bakersville, to the late Holden and Lillian Edwards, and was joined nine years later by brother, Sam Edwards. Growing up in Tipton Hill, his childhood routine included milking the cow, working in the garden, attending the local school, where both of his parents were teachers, and spending time with his uncles, aunts and cousins. At Tipton Hill High School, he played basketball and participated in the Debate Club. During this time, he developed a passion for NC State basketball under Everett Case, listening to games on the radio. 

He attended East Tennessee State College, where he met the love of his life, Delores Oliphant, attracted by her black-haired beauty and her brain. Initially planning to become a teacher, he later decided to also apply to UNC School of Medicine at the suggestion of his uncle, Nathan Yelton, and was accepted. He graduated from UNC School of Medicine in 1958. After a residency in family medicine in Michigan, he returned to North Carolina with his pregnant wife, Delores, and their baby daughter. He practiced family medicine in Ayden, where he and his wife added to their family, before returning to UNC in 1965 to complete a residency in pathology.

Following his Pathology residency, he joined Wake Pathology Associates in Raleigh, where he was chairman of the Department of Pathology from 1975-1998. He also served as a medical staff officer and president of the medical staff, the first pathologist to do so. Along with Dr. Dewey Pate and Shaaron Cypher, he undertook the computerization of the laboratory, establishing the second computerized lab in North Carolina and 12th in the nation. He initiated the comprehensive CAP laboratory accreditation program for the labs at WakeMed and all satellite laboratories, beginning this program many years before accreditation became a “must have.” At a national level, he served as a KeyMan for the College of American Pathology, representing the state of North Carolina. In this role, he helped to shape legislation regarding pathology interests at both a state and national level. In more recent years, he led the endowment campaign for the Walter Benson Lecture Series at the University of North Carolina Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 

First and foremost a family man, he was devoted to his wife, Delores, and their three children, Jennifer, Kelly and Vance, who will always remember his unconditional love, sense of playfulness, wonderful (if corny) sense of humor, and affectionate nicknames. Never one to criticize, he preferred to “concentrate on the positives” and he always did so with his family. He embraced life, finding joy in everyday events and interactions. He later shared these qualities and nicknames with his eight grandchildren from the time they were born. He remained close to his many cousins throughout his life, and eagerly anticipated the annual Edwards family reunion, especially enjoying those at Pigeon Roost.  

Always a mountain boy at heart, he loved the outdoors and working in his yard and garden. A lover of tomatoes, four or five tomato plants were never enough, and he often had enough to supply the entire lab staff. Upon retirement, he particularly enjoyed spending time in the mountains at the family retreat in Pigeon Roost. 

He was a lifelong Wolfpack fan. As a season-ticket holder, he seldom missed a home basketball game, first at Reynolds coliseum with his family, where he collected “stats” after every game while his daughters and son collected autographs, and later at the PNC Center. He attended the 1974 and 1983 National Championships. And yes, his favorite color was red, “no matter what color it is.” 

A Star Wars fanatic until the end, he loved to remind his family that after seeing the first Star Wars film in Morehead City in 1977, he stated “that was a happening.” He had quite the sweet tooth and always made a special trip to buy fudge at the NC State Fair for his family and friends. He never missed an opportunity to eat at Tony’s Sanitary Fish Market. An avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, he prided himself on owning and having read every Agatha Christie novel, and even saw “The Mousetrap” in London. He loved listening to music.

Known for his unassuming and genuine manner, he was seldom at a loss for words and was friendly to everyone he met. His casual nature extended to his wardrobe. He loved baseball caps and Pigeon Roost T-shirts and almost never wore a tie.

He is survived in death by his loving wife of almost 61 years, Delores; daughter, Jennifer Edwards Kenny, and husband Nick; daughter, Kelly Edwards Highland, and husband, Rob; son, Vance Edwards; eight grandchildren, Jonathan, Thomas, Emma, Benjamin, Holden, Sophie, Preston and Daniel; beloved brother; Sam Edwards; nephew, Chris Edwards; and many special cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Holden Edwards and Lillian Polk Edwards; and cousins, Floyd, Clinton and Wendell Edwards, and Natalie Yelton Morton.

The family received friends from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 E. Millbrook Road in Raleigh, followed by a time for reflections and telling of stories from 7-8 p.m. The funeral service was 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at Henline-Hughes Funeral Home in Bakersville preceded by a visitation with the family at 1 p.m. Interment followed at the Tipton Griffith Cemetery in Relief.

The family would like to thank Transitions HospiceCare for its excellent support and care. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Transitions HospiceCare or the charity of one’s choice. 



Dorothy Howell 


Dorothy Howell Grindstaff, 88, of Grindstaff Drive, Bakersville, died Monday, June 18, 2018, at The Mitchell House in Spruce Pine.

Born June 28, 1929, in Yancey County, she was the daughter of the late Troy and Elsie Jarrett Howell. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Lyda Grindstaff, who passed in 2012; her son, Gary Grindstaff; and all her siblings, Rex, Paul, Pauline, Woodrow, Maude, Kate, Jack, Azeline, Ray, Lee, Joe and Kathleen.  

Dorothy was a loving homemaker and housewife and known for the love and care she constantly gave to her family and husband during illness. She will be dearly missed.

Left to cherish her memories are her son, Tim Grindstaff ,of Bakersville; her grandsons, Craig Grindstaff, of Burnsville  and Jason and wife, Brandy, of Marion; and her great-granddaughter, Chesney Grindstaff, of South Toe.

A funeral service honoring the life of Dorothy Grindstaff was 11 a.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, in the chapel of Webb Funeral Home with the Rev. Sherrill Whitson officiating. A time to support the family, share memories and receive friends was 10 a.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, until the hour of the service in the chapel of Webb Funeral Home. Interment followed in the Rebels Creek Cemetery.

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


Natalie S. Smith

Natalie S. Smith, 85, of Boone, passed away peacefully Friday, June 15, 2018, at home with her family by her side.

Natalie was born Dec. 19, 1932, in Kona, to Melvin and Mae Silver. After graduating from Bowman High School, she attended the Ferree School of Art in Raleigh from 1950-1952. She married Charles “Chuck” Smith in 1957. 

She is survived by her husband, Chuck, and her three children, Terry Smith, of Spruce Pine, Vanessa Smith, of Morganton, and Mitchell Smith and his wife, April, of Boone. Natalie was blessed with four remarkable grandchildren, Austin Smith, of Carrboro, Bridget Ray, of Morganton, Kelly Brannigan, of Boone, and Alyssa Miska, of Osnabruck, Germany. Natalie is also survived by one brother, Jimmy Silver, and his wife, Brenda; and two sisters, Marylee Bailey and Betty Young. Natalie was preceded in death by one brother, Melvin Jr.

Natalie was a devoted mother and grandmother who deeply loved her family and friends. She was an avid painter for most of her life. She was always an independent spirit and after marrying Chuck became an entrepreneur as well. Together they developed Deer Park Lake Estates, Natalie’s Bootery and Scotchman Homes in Spruce Pine. After retiring and moving to Boone, Natalie enjoyed being close to her family, extended visits from her grandkids, tending to her flowers and watching wildlife.

There will be no service per Natalie’s wishes. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Natalie will be tremendously missed by many friends and her family but we celebrate that she is now at peace with her heavenly father.

“And when she shall die,

Take her and cut her out into little stars,

And she will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the sun.”

– William Shakespeare

Online condolences may be sent at Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service in Boone is in charge of the arrangements.



The MItchell News

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