Asheville - Myra Jeanne "Margie" Eblen, age 64, beloved mother, daughter, sister, and friend as well as businesswoman and community volunteer, passed on peacefully at her family home on November 13, 2013. Her courage, warmth, and strength throughout life and even as she faced her final illness inspired those around her. To paraphrase one of her favorite sayings, Margie danced even when life was not the party she hoped for. She served as President of Biltmore Oil Company and Vice-President of Eblen Short Stop Stores. She shared her family's commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy in Western North Carolina.
Born to Roberta and Joe Eblen on June 2, 1949, in Asheville, Margie grew up loving pets, family, and nature. She enjoyed traveling near and far, especially to the beach. Her love of the outdoors perhaps began with family picnics at Davidson River and around the Great Smokies, where she delighted in the woods, streams, lakes, and mountains of our community. Even as a child she was athletic—a gifted dancer and a bit of a daredevil as an early tree climber and high diver at the Pines pool. She graduated from T.C. Roberson High School and attended Southern Seminary in Virginia.
She is survived by mother Bobbie; daughters Amanda Barnard and Samantha Goff and their husbands Chad and Steven; sisters Dr. Anna Eblen and Jennie Eblen and their husbands Rick Popish and Rick Perkins, brother Rock and partner Kristalyn Bunyan, as well as dearly loved grandchildren Evan, Max, and Juliet Barnard, and Emma Goff. Her father Joe passed away in May of this year. Margie was born on Papa Joe's birthday, and they not only shared that special bond but also resembled each other remarkably in looks and personality.
Margie met health challenges bravely and changed them into a positive force as she worked extensively with breast cancer
research and education organizations, including Casting for Recovery and Bares It All. She served on the boards of RiverLink and Eblen Charities. In the past, she performed with Asheville Community Theater and supported their contributions to Asheville arts. Margie was a member of Women for Women giving circle and she was committed to furthering opportunities for women and children. She contributed to animal welfare programs, and, in a telling gesture, supported a farming family she met in Ireland by adopting orphan lambs each year.
Among Margie's awards were Women You Should Know in WNC at the 2006 Women's Expo; Friends of the River, an honor bestowed by Land of the Sky Regional Council; the Critical Link Award, given to non-board members by RiverLink for significant contributions to protection of the French Broad. RiverLink Executive Director Karen Cragnolin spoke about Margie: "It has been said an organization is blessed to have a board member who brings two of the following possible gifts—work, wisdom and/or wealth. When Margie Eblen joined the RiverLink board, she brought all three gifts. She shared her business know-how and wisdom to make RiverLink a better organization. As a board member Margie rolled up her sleeves and attracted others—both family and friends—to tackle any task, be it pulling weeds or staffing a membership booth. Margie never seems to have a dark day or air a complaint. To dance in Margie's world is to embrace life with all its ups and downs and enjoy every minute."
The family would like to thank Cancer Care of WNC and CarePartners Health Services: Crossroads and Hospice. The kind and concerned people who provided Margie's care were a comfort to all of us.
Services will be conducted by Groce Funeral Home, Patton Ave., and will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at Grace Episcopal Church with the Rev. Gary Coffey officiating. Graveside rites will follow at approximately 2:45, Lewis Memorial Park.
Memorials may be made to Eblen Charities, 50 Westgate Parkway, Asheville, NC 28806, and to RiverLink, PO Box 15488, Asheville, NC 28813.
The online register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com