On May 1, Irma Jean Abner peacefully departed this world to be reunited with her heavenly Father after a long illness at the age of 83. She was born on January 20, 1937 to the late Emmons and Letitia Walton. She was married to Aaron Abner, Jr. for 58 years until his death in 2011.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by an infant son, Michael, one sister, Laveda Farthing, and two brothers, Glen Walton and Colietus Walton.
She is survived by her beloved children – Debra Finlayson of McKinney, TX; Letrisia “Trish” (Randy) Turner of Irvine; Anthony Abner of Little Rock, AR; and Vicky (Don) Densmore of Mt. Sterling. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Buffy Turner of Richmond; Jeremy (Alexis) Turner of Richmond; Matthew (Kristie) Turner of Waco; Ashlee Turner of Richmond; Justyn (Kristina) Densmore of Mt. Sterling; Kristyn (Kevin) Densmore-Smith of Hazard; and Erin Finlayson of Mt. Sterling. She is also survived by eight great-grandchildren (Hannah Turner, Greyson Turner, Darci Turner, Reid Turner, Maci Turner, Kaydence Densmore, Samuel Densmore, and Morgan Densmore) as well as one sister Laura (Ray) McIntosh and several nieces and nephews.
Irma was known by many titles in her life, everything to “Mrs. Abner” to son-in-law Don, to “rocking Granny” by one of her great-grandbabies, but the title she loved most was that of Mother. She loved her children dearly and still spoke often of Michael, her lost son, even sixty years after his death.
She loved the Lord, gospel, old tv shows, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and listening to the laughter of her children and grandchildren as they loudly played games at her kitchen table during the holidays. She was a hard worker who also loved to laugh and who was often a featured player in our family stories.
There are probably still people who tell of the woman who somehow got dragged out of her car by the seat belt and nearly run over by her own vehicle as she attempted to deposit a letter in the mailbox. And the garage door of her old house in Texarkana, TX may never be the same after she clicked her seat belt button thinking it was the garage door remote and proceeded to drive right through it. She and seat belts did not get along very well, apparently. She loved to sing, she loved to cook (and sometimes ran her grandsons out of their own house when she cooked greens early in the morning), and she loved sitting out on her veranda with her children by her side. She missed her husband greatly and recently said that he had come to visit her and take her on a trip. Perhaps on May 1 she decided that it was time for them to go, and she took his hand once again. She will be missed and will always and forever be alive in our hearts and in the stories we remember and tell with laughter and love.
Private services were conducted Monday, May 4, at the Red Hill Cemetery by Bro. Ray McIntosh. Warren F. Toler Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Ronnie Lee Tipton, age 74, of Harris Ferry Road in Irvine, passed away Monday, April 27, 2020, at the Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital following a long illness. He was born February 17, 1946 in Estill County and was the son of the late Warren and Alean Hamilton Tipton. He was a farmer and had lived in Estill County most of his life. He was a member of the 562 Stafford Masonic Lodge and was a Shriner and a Hillbilly Shriner.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Freeman Tipton; his daughter, Rhonda Arthur (Anthony) of Estill County; three special grandchildren: Shelby Arthur (Drew), Dylan Arthur (Mariah) and Rylee Arthur; and one brother and several sisters.
He was preceded in death by several brothers and sisters.
Private services were conducted Saturday, May 2, at the Rose-Freeman Cemetery by Bro. Mark Pearson. The Warren F. Toler Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Owen Woolery, age 83, of Woolery Lane in Ravenna, passed away Sunday, May 3, 2020, at the Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital following a long illness. He was born January 19, 1937 in Estill County and was the son of the late Jimmy and Josie Walling Woolery. He was a retired mechanic and attended the Christian Church. He had lived in Estill County most of his life.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruby Catherine Griffin Woolery. He is survived by two sons, Alvin (Virginia) Woolery of Estill Co. and Owen Woolery, Jr. of Estill Co.; one grandchild, Jeremy (Andrea) Woolery; three great-grandchildren, Hayden, Chase and Maddi Woolery; and he
was preceded in death by one grandchild, Jamey Woolery, and seven siblings: Thelma, Lillian Young, Eunice Woolery, Birble, Howard, Alton and Willard Woolery.
Private services will be conducted. The Warren F. Toler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Lorene Young, age 61, of Broadway in Irvine, passed away Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at her home following a short illness. She was born January 26, 1959 in Lee County and was the daughter of the late Jim Reed and Lanora Stamper Gross. She was a homemaker and had lived in Estill County most of her life. She is survived by two daughters, Rita (Chris) Greene of Estill County and Patricia McCoy of Estill County; one sister: Jewell Dean Newton of Estill County; three brothers, Lester Reed, Jeff Gross and Steven Gross, all of Estill County; six grandchildren, Jessiya Doan, Ethan Isaacs, Aubree Isaacs, Leslie McCoy, Jr., Ella Greene and Elijah Greene; one great grandchild, and Aniya Cackling.
She was preceded in death by one daughter, Kimberly Goodwin.
Private services were conducted Sunday, May 3, at the Warren F. Toler Funeral Home by Bro. Chris Greene. Burial was at the Beatty Place Cemetery.
Mary Karen Johnson, age 62, of Clearview Drive in Irvine, passed away Saturday, April 25, 2020, at her home following a long illness. She was born November 25, 1957 in Estill County and was the daughter of the late Willie and Beatrice Plowman Hurley. She was a homemaker and a member of the Full Gospel Evangelist Ministry. She had lived in Estill County all her life.
She is survived by her husband Horace Charles Johnson; one daughter, Patty Turner (Herman) of Estill Co.; one son, Terry Johnson (Tina) of Estill Co.; one sister-in-law, Pat Olinger (Gary) of Estill Co.; one brother, Mitchell Hurley of Estill Co.; three grandchildren: Russell Wiseman, Tyler Wiseman and Alicia Rawlins (Kyle); three great-grandchildren: Kaleb Goosey, Kayla Goosey and Keeley Goosey; and a special granddaughter, Angelica Bailey.
She was preceded in death by one sister, Katherine Allen, and four brothers, Bradley, Matthew, Dale and Russell Hurley.
Private services were conducted. Warren F. Toler Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Shirley Dawn Wehmer ended her earthly journey and began her heavenly journey on April 26, 2020.
She was born August 31, 1935 in Leighton, Kentucky and grew up on a farm in Estill County Kentucky near the city of Irvine. She was the eldest of nine children. She is the fifth great granddaughter of Daniel Boone through his daughter Rebecca Boone Goe. Her sweetness, kindness, and putting others first in her life were admirable qualities we all should aspire to.
She was married to Armin F. Wehmer in 1961 and moved to Austin Texas in 1967 due to her husband’s job transfer. She lived in Austin for the next 53 years. She was a mother of two children that have survived her.
She had a very strong religious upbringing. She was a Nazarene first, then a Lutheran, and later in life became a Methodist. When she was able, she always went to church on Sundays. She really focused on others over herself throughout the years.
She worked for the State of Texas in the department of Human Services as an administrative assistant and later retired from the State of Texas with over 20 years of service.
After retirement, she did extensive volunteer work. First she worked for Northwest Care Givers. She both drove for the elderly and later started arranging appointments for elderly who otherwise could not get to medical appointments. Secondly, she volunteered at the Lamar Senior Activity Center for many years. There she was a receptionist and answered phones. She always gave and never expected anything in return. Shirley was preceded in death by her ex-husband Armin Wehmer. She is survived by her sons, Fred Wehmer of Jacksonville Florida, and Kevin Wehmer of Austin Texas, and granddaughter Erin (Wehmer) Norris of Atlanta, Georgia.
Due to the pandemic, a private service will be held on May 2, 2020, at Cook-Walden Capital Parks in Pflugerville, Texas.
JoAnna Pearl Clift Francis, age 84, of Louden Avenue in Lexington, passed away Friday, April 24, 2020, at the Bluegrass Care and Rehabilitation Center following a long illness. She was born March 18, 1936 in Estill County and was the daughter of the late Elmo and Zella Rogers. She was a retired employee of the St. Joseph Hospital and a member of the Trinity Baptist Church. She had lived in Lexington most of her life.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Herbert Clift and Sylvester Francis. She is survived by her son Herbert (Regina) Clift of Fayette Co.; one sister Wavalene Crockett of Fayette Co.; one brother: Chester Rogers of Montgomery Co.; three grandchildren, Lindsay Rose, Joe Clift and Diana Oliver and three great-grandchildren, Breanna Rose, Brantley Oliver and Ella Oliver.
She was preceded in death by one sister, Maxine Shepherd and three brothers, Lloyd, Ernest and Lenial Rogers.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Warren F. Toler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
John Hatfield, well-known Estill County artist and the son of Citizen Voice & Times publisher Teresa Hatfield-Barger, died Saturday, May 2. He was 39.
Mr. Hatfield was a resident of Richmond at the time of his death, but he had lived most of his life in his native Estill County. He had recently been promoted to Quality Assurance Auditor at Framebridge in Richmond, where he had worked for the past 18 months.
Not only was Mr. Hatfield well-known in the arts community, but also on the Kentucky pageant circuit. He was a certified pageant judge for Kentucky festivals and county fairs, and was also certified by the Miss America organization. He was frequently invited to judge pageants all across Kentucky.
He was able to use his love of and talent in the arts to be of service to the community and region. He had served as a founding member, director, and president of the Estill Arts Council, as well as a member of the Estill County Fair Association board and Mountain Mushroom Festival committee. He was also a member of the Lexington Art League, Morehead Art Guild, and Richmond Area Arts Council.
One of his best-known works is the Estill County Bicentennial Mural that graces the side of the building at the end of Main Street in Irvine. The mural, depicting historical places and events in the county’s history, is the first thing visitors to Irvine see when they come off the Irvine bridge into downtown.
He also designed the locomotive mold used in the “LocoMagic” public art project sponsored by the Estill County Chamber of Commerce. Similar to projects involving horses in Lexington, artists were given replicas of the train engines cast from the mold, which they then painted. The artworks were then placed in various areas around the community.
For years, Mr. Hatfield operated an art gallery and studio in the Colonial Hotel building, where he had grown up. The Colonial Hotel was the same building where his father, the late Guy Hatfield, published the Citizen Voice & Times. He studied art under Russell and Deloris McClanahan, having started painting when he was 12 years old. His artistic talent resulted in his winning the “Estill’s Got Talent” contest in 2010. Following in his mentors’ footsteps, he was also an art instructor in his studio.
When he was younger, Mr. Hatfield served as a legislative page for the late State. Rep. Clarence D. Noland Jr. He had also attended the Governor’s School for the Arts during his scholastic years, and was a Kentucky Colonel.
A graduate of Estill County High School, Mr. Hatfield attended the University of Louisville and earned an associate of arts degree in art from Eastern Kentucky University in 2004. He had also served as advertising manager of the Citizen Voice & Times during his career.
Mr. Hatfield is survived by his mother, Teresa Hatfield-Barger and her husband Roger of Richmond; two sisters, Tina Hatfield Roberts of Lexington and husband Tom, and Traci Hatfield of Richmond; three nephews, Matthew Bryant and wife Pheobe, Sebastian Enz and Spencer Enz; a niece, Briana Cahal, and a great nephew Nathan Bryant. He was also survived by four aunts: Patricia Miller, Angela Overbay, Regina Sewell and Shell Hymer, and two uncles: Greg Wright and Marilyn Wright all of Irvine, in addition to a host of cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Guy Hatfield III, and grandparents Guy Hatfield II and Lucy Hatfield, and Donald Wright and Shirley Wright; as well as uncles Larry and Scott Hatfield.
A private family funeral service was conducted on Tuesday at Toler Funeral Home with Jerry Rose officiating. Gravesite services were conducted at the Sunset Memorial Gardens. The family plans to hold a public memorial service once health-related restrictions regarding the coronavirus are relaxed.
Pallbearers were Ray and Kevin Richardson, Josh and Blake Hymer, Matthew Bryant and Chris Wright.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Estill County Arts Council.