Frances Whitehead

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Frances Whitehead, 100 of Robbinsville, N.C., went home to be with the Lord on July 10, 2020, at her residence.

She was the daughter of Arthur B. and Norma Smith of Maryville, Tenn.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, James Whitehead; her son, Norman Whitehead; and her granddaughter, Shannon Granthum.

She is survived by her children, James Stephen Whitehead, of Harriman, Tenn. and Robert Whitehead, of Greenfield, Ind.; her brother, Jeff Smith of Maryville, Tenn.; and her sister, Marjorie Rawlins, of Clarksville, Tenn.

She has eight grandchildren: Stephen Whitehead, Andrew Whitehead, Casey Whitehead, Heather Walters, Allen Whitehead, Douglas Novotney, and Christopher Novotney; eight great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Frances attended Maryville (Tenn.) High School, where learned to play the violin – performing in the school’s orchestra – and was also a member of the history club. 

Upon her graduation in 1938, she attended Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Va. After college, Frances married James M. Whitehead in 1942. She soon got a job at Alcoa Aluminum during World War II – helping supply material for aircraft parts – and was a Sunday school teacher at Maryville First Baptist Church.

Following her husband’s passing in 1974, Frances relocated to Graham County, a place she visited with her parents when the family would camp on Cheoah Point at Lake Santeetlah.

An avid water skier, Frances always enjoyed life on the water.

After settling in Graham County, Frances would work at both Tapoco Lodge and Fontana Village Resort over the span of the 1970s and 1980s. 

Later in life, Frances became a caretaker for elderly patients.

Frances was a two-time cancer survivor and lived to see the inauguration of 18 different U.S. presidents.

A celebration of her life will be held at the Santeetlah Community Center on Saturday, from 2-4 p.m.