Opha Shepherd Hylemon passed away Sunday. A beloved sister and aunt, who lived 99 remarkable years. She was a long-time resident of the Cane River community in Burnsville, North Carolina. She lived her last years with her family in Tennessee.

She was a native of Yancey County, born Nov. 1, 1921, to the late W.J. “Bill” and Viola King Shepherd. She was the wife of Lawrence Ray Hylemon who passed away in 1963.

Opha was a woman of strong faith and a dedicated member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

She graduated from Bald Creek High School in 1938 and from Asheville Teachers College in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She taught 39 years in Yancey County schools. She recently recalled that her greatest passion was helping children who struggled to learn.

Surviving are a sister: Edna Shepherd Lewis of Jonesborough; a nephew: Danny Lewis and his wife, Christine of New Orleans, Louisiana; a niece: Nancy Dishner and her husband, Harold, of Jonesborough; a great-nephew: Aaron Garland and his wife, Kimberly, of Jonesborough. In addition to her immediate family, she is survived by her cousins: Nancy Buckner and her husband, Nick, and Sherry Fisher, who were particularly close with her through the years. She also loved and appreciated continuing support she received from three very special friends: Jeanie Chrisawn, Barbara Bates and Elaine Dillinger.

Private family services will be held at Edwards Cemetery in the Langford Branch Community in Burnsville. The Rev. Gene King, a cousin to Opha, will officiate.

The family extends sincere appreciation for the tremendously loving care provided by Brookdale Senior Living Community; and for the kindness, support and guidance from Amedisys Hospice Care, both located in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home is respectfully serving the Hylemon family.

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