Mr. Earnest Edward South (E.E. or Ernie) of West Jefferson peacefully passed away on May 9, 2014, after a period of declining health. He was 84 years old.
Mr. South is survived by his wife Mary Katherine (Kitty Watson) South. They would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary June 21, 2014. Also surviving are two children, daughter Mary Earnestine (Teena) Little and husband, Keith, of West Jefferson; son Turner David (T.D.) South and wife, Kim Mock-South, of Morganton; three grand-daughters (Cori Elizabeth Mash, Jessica Danielle Little and Katherine Allison South); and one great-grandson (Finn Thomas Mash).
Mr. South's life was one of public service, serving his country, county and town. Born in Ashe County March 1, 1930, he was the oldest of six siblings and left home at a young age to join the U.S. Marine Corp. He served for 21 years before retiring as a First Sergeant. While in the Marines he served several tours of duty in both Korea and Vietnam and earned several medals of distinction and commendation letters. Upon returning home he was quickly hired as Ashe County's Chief Deputy Sherriff while he completed Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) in Morganton. He spent seven years there before moving to West Jefferson's Police Department, retiring as their Chief. Retirement proved to be another avenue for further public service, as he was elected to the town council in the early 1990s and later was later appointed to complete the final two years of a mayoral term. Mr. South finally enjoyed 'retirement' by working several years at Jefferson Landing Golf Resort as a starter and ranger.
Mr. South was well known in the neighborhood for having one of the nicest gardens around, particularly proud of his lengthy rows of potatoes and voluminous tomatoes. Corn, cucumbers, carrots and a variety of beans were always in bountiful supply and he was known to drive around the county giving away his surplus supply. Along with his late father-in-law Turner D. Watson, he was also known in the community for his beekeeping prowess and beautiful jars of golden honey. Mr. South's reputation for "working" his bees without safety veils or gloves was legendary, if not ludicrous.
Mr. South loved to hunt and fish. He always had a "pack of beagles" or fox hounds and enjoyed listening to them chase their prey on cool summer evenings. Young deer seemed to gravitate toward his residence. He had pet groundhogs and trained young crows to eat from his hand.
Mr. South enjoyed all types of sports and recreational activity. Always the competitor, he enjoyed friendly games of checkers or chess, billiards, poker and rook. He cheered for the Atlanta Braves and loved tormenting New York Yankee fans. He was a youth athletic coach and assisted in the pioneering of Little League Baseball in Ashe County, working closely with his present brother-in-law Dr. Edward Miller and his late brother-in-law John Henry Watson. Mr. South was both an accomplished bowler (having garnered a 300 game), an avid golfer, winning the Senior Championship at Mountain Aire Golf Club three consecutive years.
Most certainly, his greatest treasures were his grandchildren, who affectionately called him "Popee."
He was a member of Mount Jefferson Baptist Church.
Mr. South was preceded in death by his parents (Frelin and Esther South) a brother, Lloyd; and sisters Boyd and Stella Mae and grandson Kenan Douglas Little. He is also survived by sister Barbara Dillard of Farmington; and brothers Glenn and Floyd South, both of West Jefferson. In addition, he is survived by many special nephews and nieces (too numerous to mention), as well as several friends and colleagues from the law enforcement and military communities.
The family will be receiving friends from noon-2 p.m. Monday May 12, 2014, at the Boone Family Funeral Home, West Jefferson. A "Celebration of Life" service will be conducted immediately following. Interment will follow in Ashelawn Memorial Gardens with Military Rites.
The family respectfully requests no flowers or food please. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Margate Health & Rehab, 540 Waugh Street, Jefferson, NC 28640, or to Medi-Home Hospice, P.O. Box 421, Jefferson, NC 28640.