Obituaries for July 21, 2013

Jul. 22, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

Sybil Buff

Sybil Shuford Buff was born Jan. 24, 1937, in Lenoir, the daughter of Chloe Blair Shuford and Thomas Wilson Shuford. The Blairs and Shufords are large clans deeply rooted in the history of Western North Carolina. She was active in her early years in many clubs and activities and was the Homecoming Queen for Lenoir High, where she graduated in 1955.

She attended Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory in 1955, where she met and married Joe Buff. Joe graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Officer School and served as Engineering and Atomic Defense Officer on board a ship home ported in Naples, Italy. They moved to Naples and roamed all over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Weekends were often spent in Rome, Capri, and Pompeii, with longer trips to the French Riviera, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and Northern Europe. At times Sybil and other Navy wives drove or traveled on Navy ships to meet Joe’s ship in Africa, or the Middle East. When Joe was discharged from the Navy, they returned to live in Newton, where Joe worked as a VP at Bassett Furniture. After their children, Rebecca and Joe Jr., were born, Sybil returned to Lenoir-Rhyne University and received a degree in Education in 1973.

Joe was recruited for a furniture job in Los Angeles in 1973. They moved to Woodland Hills and started attending St. Luke Lutheran Church, along with many of their lifelong friends who came to Woodland Hills around that time. Sybil received her Master’s Degree in Education from California State University-Northridge in 1987 and accepted a teaching position with the Los Angeles Unified Schools at Lokrantz School in Reseda, a school famous for special needs children, where everyone, teachers, students, and parents, was “family.” She taught 30 years before retiring. Her life did not slow down after retirement; it speeded up. Weeks before her death she was in dance/exercise classes at Pierce College 5 days a week in ballet, tai chi, yoga, and dance while working on many projects for her beloved St. Luke and singing with the choir. A musician, she played the piano, guitar, and accordion. She accompanied Joe to many of his writers’ group meetings (IWOSC-Independent Writers of So. Calif). She shared Joe’s excitement when his first novel, “The Vitamin Queen of Ojai,” a novel on aging, set in Hollywood, was published on Amazon and when he was in a movie, “Malchus,” to be released in 2013 ( An avid reader, Sybil read six to eight books a week. Joe encouraged her to join a writing group, which she did, writing memoirs. She belonged to the Sierra Club, hiked, and walked 3 miles every day. She made many friends wherever she went.

Sybil is survived in Los Angeles by her husband, Joseph T. (Joe) Buff; her daughter, Rebecca Buff Darchuk; her son, Joseph T. Buff Jr.; her granddaughter, Kaitlyn Michelle Wyatt, a rising senior at Oklahoma University who spent last semester in Russia, and will graduate this December. Sybil’s younger brother, Tom Shuford, flew in from Lenoir to be with her the day of her death from cancer, Friday, June 28, 2013. She has many relatives and friends in the Lenoir and Hickory area.

Andrea Dixon

Andrea Carol Dixon, 30, of Granite Falls, died Friday, July 19, 2013. Born in Burke County on November 13, 1982, she is survived by her mother, Barbara Ann Epley-Mahorney of Morganton, and her father, Donovan Carol Dixon of Morganton. Also surviving are her paternal grandparents, Glenn and Mary Dixon of Morganton. Andrea was an absolute joy, full of life and a free spirit. She loved to laugh and worried about everyone but herself. Her soul-mate, Andy Scott of Granite Falls, introduced her to the outdoors. They enjoyed spending their time together with hunting, fishing and many hours on the river.

Andrea was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Annie Belle Epley and Nollie Edward Epley.

A gathering of family and friends will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at Mama and Daddy White’s River Cabin, 5175 Powerhouse Road, Morganton. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements. Condolences may be made online at

Billy Johnson

William “Billy” Parks Johnson, age 48, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, July 18, 2013. He was born on May 11, 1965 to William “Bill” Johnson and Iva Warlick Johnson. Billy was married to Sherry Kidd Johnson of the home.

Billy was a loving father, husband and son that will always be remembered for his smile and joyful personality. He was a member of Whitnel Pentecostal Holiness Church and worked for Carolina Power Train.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Willard and Pearl Warlick and LaVerne and Polly Johnson; and his aunt Amanda O’Hare.

In addition to his wife and parents he is survived by his daughters, Lacie J. Wilson and husband, Shane; Kurston Johnson; brothers, Andy Johnson and wife, Sheila; Michael Johnson; and four nephews and two nieces.

The family will have a memorial service at the home of Bill and Iva Johnson, 2508 Old Trenton Place, Lenoir, NC 28645 on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.

Online condolences may be sent to the Johnson Family at

Evans Funeral Service & Crematory of Lenoir is serving the Johnson family.

Ashley Watson

Ashley Danielle Watson, age 27, of Old North Road, Lenoir, passed away Thursday, July 18, 2013 at Caromont Regional Medical Center. She was born June 7, 1986 in Caldwell County to Gaither Wilson Watson of Collettsville and Patricia Shatley Watson of Lenoir. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, Garland Shatley; and uncles, Arthur Shatley and Nonnsome Watson.

Ms. Watson was a Certified Nursing Assistant at Lenoir Health Care and was of the Baptist faith.

Survivors in addition to her parents, include her daughter, Alexis Sanchez of the home; brothers, Garland Watson and wife Toie of Lenoir and Joshua Watson and wife Christal of Lenoir; sisters, Jessica Watson, Elizabeth Poarch and Katie Watson and husband Jose Pascual, all of Lenoir; eight nieces, two nephews; and four great-nephews.

A funeral service will be held Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home Chapel conducted by Rev. Horace Minton, Rev. Greg Minton and Rev. Mike Minton. Interment will follow at Ashley’s Cemetery on Hood’s Creek Road.

The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Serving as pallbearers will be Joshua Watson, Garland Watson, Jose Pascual, James Miller II, David Pitoniak and Allen Watson.

Online condolences may be left at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.