OBITUARIES: Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Peggy Sue Pitman Aniello

Peggy Sue Pitman Aniello, 66, of Nebo, passed away Sunday, March 8, 2020, at Brian Center Health and Rehab in Spruce Pine. A native of Mitchell County, she was a daughter of the late Avery Waits and Willie Mae McKinney Pitman. She was previously employed in foodservice. Peggy was a people person. She loved gardening and karaoke.

Survivors include two sons, Christopher Aniello, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Derrick Aniello, of Spartanburg, South Carolina; her siblings, Dorothy Maxine Burleson, of Spruce Pine, Lois Rutherford, of  Monroe, Georgia, Robert Dean Pitman, of Spruce Pine, and Terry Richard Pitman, of Nebo; and five grandchildren, Kayla, Skyler, Noah, Jacob and Kristina.

She was preceded in death, in addition to her parents, by her husband, Fred Gene Aniello; and siblings, David James Pitman, Wayne Avery Pitman and Jerry Waits Pitman.

A celebration of life is 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14, 2020, at Green Valley Baptist Church with Nathan Silvers, Darrin Waldroup and Teddy McKinney officiating. Interment will follow the service in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends following services in the church fellowship hall.

Henline-Hughes Funeral Home in Bakersville is assisting the Aniello family.

Mitchell News-Journal • March 11, 2020


Betty Denton

Betty Denton, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died Sunday, March 8, 2020, after 88 years of a life spent caring for others, her husband, children and grandchildren, and, as a nurse, her patients.

A child of Appalachia, Betty grew up in Spruce Pine and graduated from the Crossnore School. She fondly recalled her school days there and the teachings of a mentor, the school’s founder, Dr. Mary Martin Sloop. Her experiences there shaped her life and influenced her decision to become a nurse.

Her nursing career began with training at Grace Hospital School of Nursing in Morganton, where she became an R.N. It included service at Valdese General Hospital in Valdese, Blackwelder, Caldwell Memorial Hospital and Thompson Medical Specialists in Lenoir. It concluded at the Caldwell County Health Department, where she helped create the county’s first home health program.

Betty was at the forefront of women defining themselves by work and homemaking. Betty loved her family fiercely. Her love affair with her husband, Hadley, lasted almost 60 years, and they poured their hearts into raising their children in the Lower Creek Community of Lenoir.

In 1996, Betty and Hadley moved to Brevard, where they spent many years of blissful retirement in the Deer Lake Community. 

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Hadley, and a grandson. She is survived by her two sons, one daughter, two grandsons and two granddaughters. Her immediate family includes Dr. Eric Denton and Sylke Keding Denton, of Berlin, Germany, and daughter, Effi Scarlett, Van and Tali Denton, of Raleigh, and sons, Tal and the deceased, Will, Mark and Dr. Betsy Burrows, of Brevard, son, John and daughter, Brooke.

In the end, caring nurses and staff of CarePartners of Transylvania County and the Solace Center in Asheville helped Betty’s family keep her comfortable and at peace.

Betty will be buried in a private ceremony at Blue Ridge Memorial Park in Lenoir. 

Instead of flowers, memorials can be made to Crossnore School and Children’s Home through its website, or by mail to the Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 249, Crossnore, N.C. 28616.

Greer-McElveen Funeral Home of Lenoir is handling arrangements.

Mitchell News-Journal • March 11, 2020


Darrel McKinney

Darrel Renney McKinney, 76, passed away in his sleep Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at his home in Spruce Pine. Darrel was born April 8, 1943, in Spruce Pine to the late Texie Lowery McKinney. Darrel loved to tell stories of growing up with his mother and grandmother, “Granny Mary” (Mary Lowery). He especially enjoyed sharing how Granny Mary would always take up for him if he got into trouble because he extinguished a fire once when the clothing she was wearing caught on fire. His childhood was short on material securities but was filled with family love and with fun and mischief with his siblings, cousins and friends. His adventures included freight-hopping to get to Spruce Pine. 

In addition to his mother and grandparents, Darrel was preceded in death by his oldest brother, John Lewis McKinney, whom he thought of much like a father; his beloved older sister, Lois Nell McKinney; and by his beloved younger brother, Kelly Wade McKinney. He was also preceded in death by his stepson, Tommy Shuck.

Darrel graduated from Harris High School in 1961. He was quite proud of his military service with the Army and loved sharing stories about his time in Germany. He was recognized for marksmanship. He later enjoyed serving as the Food Services Sergeant in the Army Reserve, earning recognition for his achievement in this position. After more than 19 combined years in the Army and Army Reserve, he retired in 2003. He continued service to and relationships with his fellow veterans through the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Darrel worked for 17 years as a welder at C.E. Air Preheater in Marion, until the company closed. He remained friends with these coworkers throughout his life and enjoyed reunions with them. In 2005, he retired as a Sergeant from Mountain View Corrections. At these and other jobs, Darrel became friends with his coworkers, enjoying good-natured teasing and a lot of talk about North Carolina basketball.  

Darrel married the late Barbara Mace McKinney, who passed away in 2008. After their divorce, he married the late Eva Meredith McKinney, who passed away in 2006. He married the late Brenda Vaughn West McKinney, who passed away in 2016. Darrel counted himself as blessed for these three marriages and mourned the passing of each of these women, holding their memories close throughout his life.

Darrel’s greatest joy and pride was his family. Left to remember him are his daughter, Mary McKinney, and husband, Jody Prevette, of Boone; son, Matt McKinney, of Spruce Pine; grandchildren, Brooke Penley, of Deep Gap, Seleste Penley, of Swannanoa, and Dylan McKinney and Hayden Owens, of Spruce Pine; his brother, Jerry McKinney, of Newland; his niece, Debbie McKinney, of Spruce Pine; his stepdaughters, Vickie Kirk, and husband Danny, of Lenoir, Lisa Woody, and husband, Steve, and Holly Samples, and husband, Jonathan, of Kingsport, Tennessee; several step-grandchildren; step-great-grandchildren; and many cousins.

Darrel found joy in visiting with family and friends, sharing stories and joking. He coached many youths in Mitchell County, sharing his love of basketball, football and baseball. These former players speak of the difference he made in their lives. He generally loved all sports, but especially Mitchell County and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill teams.  

Visitation was 2-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in the Chapel of Webb Funeral Home. The Memorial Service was 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in the Chapel of Webb Funeral Home with the Rev. Michelle Grit officiating. Military honors were provided by DAV Sgt. E.L. Randolph Chapter No. 57 at the graveside at Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery. Immediately following the committal service, family and friends were invited to share an informal time of storytelling and to visit to honor Darrel at dinner at the Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse in Spruce Pine.

Instead of flowers, please consider a donation to either the Mitchell County Recreation Department, 177 Crimson Laurel Way, Bakersville, NC 28705 ( or DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250  (

Words of comfort may be emailed to the family by going to, selecting Darrel McKinney’s name and signing his guestbook. Webb Funeral Home is honored to be serving the McKinney family. Darrel’s obituary has also been posted on Facebook.

Mitchell News-Journal • March 11, 2020



Virginia Buchanan Crouch

Virginia Buchanan Crouch died Thursday, March 5, 2020. A funeral service to celebrate her life and homegoing was 1 p.m. Sunday, March 8, 2020, at Berry Chapel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine, with the pastors Chris Rathbone and Jim Ledford officiating. Interment followed the service in the church cemetery. Instead of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Mitchell County Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 308, Spruce Pine, North Carolina 28777.

Mitchell News-Journal • March 11, 2020


Austin Jeremiah Stockton

Austin Jeremiah Stockton, the infant son of Rev. Casey Stockton and Ashley Aycock Stockton, passed away Sunday, March 8, 2020, at McDowell Hospital. A service of remembrance for Austin was 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in the Chapel of Beam Funeral Service with the Rev. Toby Crowder officiating. Private interment followed the service at Snow Hill Cemetery in Marion. Instead of flowers, memorial donations in Austin’s memory can be made to Neighbors Feeding Neighbors Food Ministry, P.O. Box 322, Spruce Pine, North Carolina 28777.

Mitchell News-Journal • March 11, 2020