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Lightning Top Ten: 10, 9

Bidders gathered as the Thos. Shepherd Funeral Directors property on South Church Street was sold at auction on the courthouse steps. Bidders gathered as the Thos. Shepherd Funeral Directors property on South Church Street was sold at auction on the courthouse steps.

10: Death of a funeral home

Although the N.C. Board of Funeral Service ordered the shutdown of Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors in December 2021, the final chapters of the 118-year-old business were written in 2022. Thomas Shepherd, 80, died of “major depression” on New Year’s Eve of last year, a few weeks after state regul

ators issued the final order revoking his funeral director’s license and shuttering the business his grandfather started in 1903. In June, a judge appointed a receiver to take control of Shepherd Memorial Park, which Tom Shepherd’s father founded in 1954. In May, Altmeyer Funeral Homes, which operates more than 40 funeral homes and cremation facilities on the East Coast, including Shuler-Forest Lawn here, bought the Church Street property at an auction on the Courthouse steps. Company President James E. “Jimmy” Altmeyer Jr. told the Lightning he planned a major renovation of the facility before reopening it. “Obviously, the funeral home has been in business for well over a hundred years and people have a family tradition and family history with it and we’re looking forward to offering outstanding service,” he said.

9: No contest

Although the May 17 primary produced one big upset —state Sen. Chuck Edwards defeated Madison Cawthorn in a nationally watched contest —  the Nov. 8 general election was notable for what it failed to produce: competitive races. Three incumbent Henderson commissioners, district attorney, sheriff, clerk of superior court and register of deeds all cruised to re-election against candidates named … blank. After the nationally watched 11th Congressional District primary involving headline machine Madison Cawthorn, the undercard in May produced little suspense. Amy Lynn Holt in May failed to mount an aggressive campaign in her effort to unseat County Commissioner Michael Edney, who went on to win a sixth term. Also in the primary, Jennifer Balkcom turned back former county GOP chair Chelsea Walsh and perennial candidate Dennis Justice to win the Republican nomination for the N.C. House 117 District, District Attorney Andrew Murray defeated challenger Mary Ann Hollocker and magistrate Abe Hudson beat Assistant District Attorney Jason R. Hayes to win a new District 29B judgeship. In a stairstep outcome for legislative seats, state Rep. Tim Moffitt ascended to Edwards’s Senate seat and Balkcom won Moffitt’s House 117 seat. Jake Johnson, having turned back colleague David Rogers of Rutherford County in the primary, won a second full term. Completing the biannual shutout of Democrats, Republican candidates also swept three seats in the putatively nonpartisan School Board election, which became more partisan amid the public’s frustration over remote learning and mask and vaccination recommendations.