ASHEVILLE - Charlotte Holderman Ray Derrough, age 88, of Asheville, passed away peacefully in her home on the evening of Friday, January 11, 2013, following a brief bout with cancer. Present were her five children, daughter-in-law, and two of her grandsons.
Known to her loving family, and many of her friends, by the sobriquet "Big Cake," Charlotte was revered for her joy, vibrant spirit, humor, smile, and incomparable, passionate love of God and humanity.
Born in Burnsville to Samuel Troy Ray and Winnie Lou Higgins Ray on December 13, 1924, she graduated from Greensboro College in 1946, and moved to Chicago one year later.
On August 26, 1950, she married Roger Derrough of Thomasboro, Ill.; in 1953, they relocated from Chicago to Matthews, N.C., where they lived until moving to Asheville in 1962.
Charlotte cherished working in the yard and garden, and created a warm home that for decades welcomed and entertained diverse guests and family. She devoted much of her time in the 1990s and 2000s to her work with the Asheville Symphony Guild, and was instrumental in developing and then chairing the Guild's Musical Feasts. She was integral in her family's success in the natural foods industry, and was always supportive of her children's endeavors.
Charlotte was a proud democrat, enjoyed puzzles, singing along to jazz classics, and traveling with her family. Just two nights before her passing, she inspected her house, pointed out which plants needed watering, danced with her daughter, Carol, and played two hands of gin rummy with her children.
Survivors include her sister, Llewellyn Estep, of Williamsburg, Va.; son, Roger Jr., and his wife, Janese, of Asheville, and Roger's daughter, Katie, of New York; daughter, Julia Rome, and her husband, David, of Frankfort, Ky., and their sons, Justin and Jeremy; daughter, Carol Neely, and her husband, Steve, of Rutherfordton, and their sons, Morgan and Carter of Asheville, and Hart and his wife, Jen, of Cincinnati, Ohio; daughter, Patricia, and son, David, of Asheville; and great-grandchild, Harper Eames Neely.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Winnie Lou, and father, Troy; her brother, Ronnie; and her devoted husband of 56 years, Roger Derrough, Sr.
A public memorial service will be held at Central United Methodist Church in Asheville at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, with the Rev. Dr. Rob Blackburn officiating. The family will receive friends in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service.
The family wishes to extend its profound gratitude to the staff of CarePartners Hospice for their guidance and compassion, and to Caroline and Ruth of the Center for End of Life Transitions for their extraordinary assistance, deep knowledge and sincere reverence.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations in Charlotte's memory to Central United Methodist Church, 27 Church St., Asheville, NC 28801; the Yancey History Association's Rush Wray Museum, 3 Academy St., Burnsville, NC 28714; CarePartners Hospice and Palliative Care, 68 Sweeten Creek Rd., Asheville, NC 28803; and the Center for End of Life Transitions, 12 Von Ruck Court, Asheville, NC 28801.