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Mary Lucille “Lucy” Heffner Holmes

Mary Lucille “Lucy” Heffner Holmes

LAUREL PARK — Mary Lucille "Lucy" Heffner Holmes, 88, of Laurel Park formally of Mills River, died at her residence on Sunday evening, July 15, 2012, after a period of declining health. She is a native and life long resident of Henderson County and a daughter of the late Bonnie Louise Nichols and Albert Granville Heffner.

She was married to the late Thomas James Holmes who died in 1999. She was also preceded in death by four brothers; Thomas Granville Heffner, Joe Lee Heffner, Bobby Sherrill Heffner, and Ray Ward Heffner; her sister, Elizabeth Heffner Orr.

She was a 1941 graduate of the former Mills River High School where she was the class Salutatorian. She attended Berea College in Berea, KY for two years. Upon her return to Mills River she then joined the Ecusta Paper Corporation in Pisgah Forest as a librarian and as the Assistant Recreational Director. Born with a beautiful voice and plenty of rhythm she soon endeared herself to the many musical activities that Ecusta offered to its employees under the direction of John Eversman. She traveled with the Ecusta Band as a vocalist including a trip to New York City as well as performing in many local venues. With a song in her heart and her love for the stage she enjoyed summer stock with the blossoming Flat Rock summer theatre of Robroy and Leona Farguar as a Vagabond Player. She made her film debut in "This is the Lord's Acre" in 1959, which dramatized the international Lord's Acre project of the Farmer's Federated filmed in the Mills River Valley.

Her love for being around young people endeared her to a 12-year-old volunteer, Kathy Quinn Brown, during her role as director of the Jr. Red Cross Chapter in Buncombe County. Their friendship has thrived and provided them both with more than 50 years of memories.

After her marriage in November of 1954, she settled into her cherished role of a doting mother, not only to her daughters, but later her grandchildren and to the many students whose lives she touched as a substitute teacher for more than 30 years in the Henderson County and Hendersonville City school systems. She continued to enjoy music as a charter member of the Hendersonville Chorale as well as a choir member of Mills River United Methodist Church and First Congregational Church for numerous years. She returned to the stage in 1979 in Hendersonville Little Theatre's production of "H.M.S. Pinafore" where she was perfectly cast as "Buttercup." She was a faithful member of the Mills River Chapter of the Ladies Red Hat Society, and was an instrumental volunteer in obtaining petition signatures to help with the incorporation of Mills River. She was proud of her Southern heritage, and growing up during the Depression provided her the ability to take weeks to eat a candy bar. She never met a stranger and found that diversity of people, different cultures and beliefs was simply a learning opportunity. She enjoyed reading and writing poetry and respected the solace that listening to nature brought her.

She is survived by her three daughters, Holly H. Yoest and her husband, Bill, of Raleigh, Melody H. Shepherd and her husband, Thos. R. of Flat Rock, Cherie R. Holmes and her husband, Mark Sandborn, of Asheville; her two granddaughters, Scarlett B. Pittillo of Hendersonville, Ashley E. Vaeth of Raleigh; her grandson, Tyler J. Sandborn of Winston-Salem; her great-grandson, Roman W. Pierson of Hendersonville; her step-granddaughter, Audrey Y. Lysko and her husband Paul of Cary, and many nieces and nephews.

The loving attentive care by Dr. James J. Caserio and his entire staff provided "Miss Lucy" with the ability to stay in her home, in conjunction with the professional and caring staff of Spring Arbor West as well as the round the clock care of her Bayada nurses. She felt very loved and comfortable

A funeral service will be held at noon on Saturday, July 21, 2012, at St. James Episcopal Church with the Rev. Eunice R. Dunlap officiating. Burial will follow at Shepherd Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Mills River Public Library, 124 Town Center Dr # 1, Mills River, NC 28759.

A register book is available online for family and friends by visiting

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.