Bakersville - Helen Bowditch Runion, 87, of Bakersville, passed from this life into the arms of Jesus on January 19, 2013 at home surrounded by her family.
A native of Mitchell County, she was the daughter of the late E. D. "Ed" and Bernice Hamrick Bowditch. She graduated from Bowman High School and from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1945 with a major in Home Economics and Chemistry. Mrs. Runion was an outstanding educator, having taught in North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania schools. During the later part of her career, she was a teacher at Gouge Elementary School where she taught hundreds of students. She was a member of the Eastern Star and the retired teachers association. Helen and Bob returned from Pennsylvania to manage Bowditch Orchard which was founded by Helen's grandfather Joseph Bowditch for her father Ed Bowditch. She was a life-long member of Vians Valley Presbyterian Church, which was founded by her grandparents where she served as an Elder and Sunday School Teacher. Helen had a special gift of love and hospitality, lovingly welcoming all those she knew or met. The Runion home was always a gathering place for family and friends. Her children were the joy of her life and she looked forward to having them at home. Family reunions and Christmas gatherings have always been special events where family, friends and the community have always been included.
In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her sisters, Frances Bowditch Garner and Miriam Bowditch, her brother, Edwin Bowditch, and her grandson, Robert Philip Rowland.
She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Robert M. Runion, and by her daughters and sons-in-law, Sharon and Steve Rowland, of Raleigh; Mary and Gary Pyatte, of Bakersville, Ruth and Bill Cline, of Denver, NC, Rose and Tim McDaniel, of Thomasville, and Maxine Runion, of Matthews. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kristy Pyatte Blanton and her husband Jason, Jennifer Pyatte Cook and her husband Josh, Elizabeth Pyatte Payne and her husband Neil, all of Bakersville; Casey Cline and Brather Cline; Andrew Roland, Ben Rowland, and Timothy McDaniel; and five great grandchildren, Abby and Emma Cook, Jace and Keller Blanton, and Evan Payne.
Helen is also survived by Betsy and Sanford Harris of Rocky Mount, Lora Runion of Asheboro, Charles Runion of Spruce Pine, Ruby Runion Kelley of Baltimore, and 16 nieces and nephews and several great nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends Tuesday, January 22, 2013 from 6:00PM until 8:00PM at Henline - Hughes Funeral Home. At other times the family will be at the Runion home, 1085 NC Highway 80.
A celebration of Helen's life will be held Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:00PM at the Vians Valley Presbyterian Church at NC Highway eighty (Mine Creek Rd) with the Pastor Bob Simes, Rev. Neil Payne and Rev. Jacob Willis officiating. The body will lie in state one hour prior to the service at the church. The Roan Mountain Chapter #29 Order of the Eastern Star will perform graveside rites following the service at the Bakersville Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Vians Valley Presbyterian Church, PO Box 2, Bakersville, NC 28705, Hospice of Mitchell County, 236 Hospital Drive Spruce Pine, NC 28777, or Gideons International Mitchell County Camp, PO Box 611 Spruce Pine, NC 28777.
The family would like to thank Faye Freeman, Hazel Grindstaff, the staff of the Mitchell County Hospice and family and friends for their tender care and support of Helen and the entire Runion Family.
Henline - Hughes Funeral Home is assisting the Runion Family.