Deaths for the week of May 25

Published 11:10 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Edna Smith Harding

Edna Smith Harding, 81, left this earthly world for her heavenly home on Monday morning May 22, 2023. Edna was born on Jan. 10, 1942, at the City Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem. Orville S. Smith and wife Maebelle Fulk Smith had the good fortune of being her parents. She graduated from Hanes High School and went on to become an employee of Southern Bell Telephone Company where she worked as a switchboard operator. On Sept. 19, 1964, Edna married Jerry S. Harding, (deceased) in Davis Chapel at Wake Forest University. They began their marriage on Broad Street in Winston-Salem. During their marriage, they were blessed with a son, Andy, and a daughter, Amanda. They relocated to Clemmons and lived their remaining years there actively involved in the community. In 1993, Edna earned an associate degree with honors from Forsyth Technical Community College in early childhood education. An honor that came with many years of long days of work which started early at Clemmons Moravian Preschool in the morning, dinner in her car and concluded with her college classes at night. Edna worked in several areas in her life, but her most lasting legacy will be educating the young, impressionable minds of children; first as a teacher’s aide, then as a teacher, and finally as the Director of Clemmons Moravian Preschool, a role she served in for 25 years. There is no better example of peace and tranquility than on Edna’s face as she held a child on her lap while reading them a story. A butterfly garden behind the Preschool was built to honor “Miss Edna” upon her retirement. Sharing a very special place in Edna’s heart is her long relationship with Clemmons Moravian Church. Edna spent much of her time there for Sunday morning worship services, Wednesday night potlucks, making chicken pies, helping decorate for the holidays, candle trimmings and so much more. Edna rarely said, “No,” when there was a need at the church. She was a true servant that lived her life with the highest level of optimism and outreach. She impacted so many people with her joy for life. Thousands of children were blessed to have known Miss Edna. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jerry S. Harding. She is survived by son Andrew Harding (Lari); daughter Amanda Harding; sister Doris S. Truitt; sister-in-law Ruth Harding Lillie; grandchildren Isaac Harding and Leah Harding; and nieces Sonya Sawyer and Christa Whitesell. The funeral service will be held at Clemmons Moravian Church on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Christopher C. Thore officiating. The procession will walk past the butterfly garden where the burial service will follow in the churchyard. After the service, the family will receive friends in the church parlor. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Clemmons Moravian Church, P.O. Box 730, Clemmons, NC 27012. Online Condolences may be made at

Mary Lou Reavis Miller

Mary Lou Reavis Miller died peacefully at Kate B. Reynolds on May 20, 2023.

She was born on Feb. 12, 1923, on the family farm in Yadkinville. Her parents were Zenas Herman Reavis and Ruby Ethel Reavis.  She was the second oldest of five children, William Bryce, Lula Mae Renegar, Carl Hoover and Ethel Ann Steelman. Her family donated the land their church was built on and many of her family members have graves in the South Oak Ridge church cemetery. Members of the family still own acres of the farmland.

Mary Lou graduated from Courtney High School and from Lees McRae College where she has remained an active alumnus since 1941 visiting the school each year.

In 1943, she married John Kermit (J.K.) Miller, her high school sweetheart. They have five children, Judy K, John K. Jr. (Linda), Jack K. (Marilyn), Jill K., Jeffrey K. (Beth). She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, JK; brothers, Bryce and Carl; sister, Lula Mae Renegar; sons in-law, Russ Blackburn and Dave Ardoin. She is survived by a sister, Ann Steelman (Howard) of Pfafftown; and grandchildren, Karen Blackburn (Allen), David Blackburn (Debbie), April Doster (Dave), Holly Groce (Michael), Zach Miller (Anna), Lauren Smith (Jon), Courtney Tucker (Jonathan), Whitney Frack (Seth), Kathryn Ardoin, Matt Ardoin, Jay Miller (Amy) and Suzanne Borgia (Michael).

Mary Lou has an impressive history including social worker, school teacher, family dairy farm manager, realtor and CEO of Workshop Village during her later years. Her five children, their spouses, 12 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren can see her life as an example of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work. Mary Lou, or Mama Lou as she was known to many, created a loving supportive family team. She was confident and never hesitated to step in where needed. Her adventurous spirit is to be admired, as she and JK traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad.

The family hosted a 100th birthday celebration on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in the Family Life Center at Clemmons First Baptist Church, where she was a charter member of the quilting ministry. She enjoyed celebrating with over 200 family and friends. A private family service will be held. Contributions in her memory can be made to Clemmons Baptist Church, 3530 Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC 27012, where she was an active member for 57 years. Condolences may be made online at

Elynor Fishel Rights

Elynor Fishel Rights passed peacefully into the presence of the Savior on May 19, 2023. She was born March 2, 1932, in Winston-Salem, a daughter of Coman Marvin Fishel and Cladie Briggs Fishel. In 1950, she graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School. Four years later, she graduated from Moravian College with a bachelor of arts in Christian education and history having also attended the North Carolina College for Women (UNCG) and Salem College. In 1953, Elynor was united in marriage to Burton Jones Rights, a student at Moravian Theological Seminary. In addition to a homemaker, her lifework was supporting the ministry and mission of the congregations her husband served as pastor, Messiah Moravian Church (1955-1960) and Clemmons Moravian Church (1960-1996). She increased the life of the church through her many years of service as a senior high and kindergarten Sunday school teacher, as a soprano in the church choir, and as a dedicated member of the Women’s Fellowship. She was a founding member of the Amos Cottage Guild, Friends of Clemmons Library and the Clemmons Historic Society. In her later years, she was blessed by her volunteer work with the Sunnyside Ministry as a literacy tutor. She especially enjoyed travel with her husband, family camping with their sons in their formative years, service as a CONTACT phone volunteer, events and activities of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church, trips to New York City with her sister, performances by the Piedmont Triad Symphony Orchestra, as well as theater, opera, art museums, historic home tours, libraries, bookstores and family celebrations. Elynor will be remembered for her tender heart, her undying positive attitude, and the faith that carried her through melanoma and Parkinson’s diagnoses.

Her age was 91 years, 2 months, and 17 days. In the year 2000, she was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years. She is survived by her two sons, the Rev. Douglas Coman Rights (Kathy) of Pfafftown, and the Rev. John David Rights (Mary) of Winston-Salem. Also surviving are grandchildren, Jessica Vega (Mark) of Kernersville, Dr. Jason Rights of Vancouver, British Columbia, Adam Key (Erin) of Pfafftown, Austin Key (Jenny) of Pfafftown, Kate Todd (Kyle) of Ridgecrest, California, and Anna Rights of Winston-Salem. She is also survived by a sister, Marilyn Griffin (Albert) of Winston-Salem, a sister-in-law, Eleanor Roller (Gerald) of Roanoke, Virginia, and a brother-in-law, the Rt. Rev. Graham Rights of Winston-Salem, as well as seven great-grandchildren and nine nieces and nephews.

The funeral service was held at Clemmons Moravian Church on Wednesday, May 24, with interment in God’s Acre. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Clemmons Moravian Church, P.O. Box 730,  Clemmons, NC 27012.  Condolences may be made online at

• • •

• Barbara “Bobbie” Jean Ransome George, 76, died on Monday, May 22, 2023, at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home following a brief battle with lung cancer.

• Ronald Keith Robertson, 67, passed away in his home from natural causes on Friday May 19, 2023.

• Johnny Elmer Ball, 88, passed away at his home on May 19, 2023. He was born to John Henry Ball and Mary Lelia Mitchell Ball on June 22, 1934, in Forsyth County.

• Mr. Jan Douglas Ragsdale, 85, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 14, 2023, at Forsyth Medical Center.

• Lavaughn Smith Whitt, 92, passed away on Sunday May 14, 2023, surrounded by her family.

• Lu Tickle Dolinger, 69, passed away peacefully on May 11, 2023, at her home.

• Henry Monroe Jones Jr., 86, passed away at Forsyth Medical Center on May 17, 2023.

• Cathy Lane Knapp, 67, passed away peacefully on May 11, 2023.

• Terry Len Hill, 57, passed away May 14, 2023, surrounded by his loved ones after a short, but courageous battle with cancer.

• Lisa Bright Craig, 48, of Advance passed Friday, May 12, 2023.

• Joe Len Shaver, 75, peacefully passed away on May 15, 2023, surrounded by his family at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home after a brief battle with cancer.

• Joyce Ann Bishop, 75, of Lexington passed away on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.