Lawrence Ollis, 88, of Frank, died at his home on Whitaker Branch, Dec. 18, 2012.
Much of his family was by his side when he left to join the loved ones who have preceded him in passing. A native of Avery County, he was born August 8, 1924, to Luther and Margie Ollis.
He grew up mere yards away from where he eventually settled on Whitaker Branch to raise his family, and he hunted the hills and tilled the ground there for most of his life. He was a steadfast Christian, and he became a lifelong member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in 1938, where he served as Church Clerk and Trustee. His rich bass voice was a fixture in the back row of the Pleasant Hill choir for decades, as well as an anchor for the Ollis Family Quartet. Ollis took great pride in the service he gave to his country during World War II. He served in the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion of General Patton's 3rd Army, where he garnered recognition as an expert rifleman in addition to five campaign stars. He took part in many of the crucial actions that determined the outcome of the European Theatre, including the Battle of the Bulge. He was a natural story-teller, and if silence stretched for more than a moment when company was present, he would launch into humorous tales of his time in the military, or of growing up in Avery County.
Ollis was preceded in death by his loving wife, Bonnie Hoilman Ollis, to whom he was married 54 years. Their marriage served as the faithful, joy-filled foundation of a large family that will continue to stand as a testament and memorial to their love. He was also preceded by his daughter, Margie Carter, married to Lynn Carter, of Minneapolis.
Remaining to cherish his memory are sister, Ella Antill of Burnsville; daughter, Teresa and her husband, the Rev. Earl Carver Jr., of Frank; son, Allen Ollis and his wife, Lisa, of Pacific Palisades, Calif.; daughter, Bonita and her husband, Ike Taylor, of Spear; granddaughter, Angie Carver and her daughters, Bonnie and Lucie; grandson, Steve Carver, his wife, Chante, and children, Abby and Riley; grandson, Rick Carver, his wife, Lindsay, and daughters, Tillie and Stella; grandson, Grant Carter and his wife, Beth; grandson, Ryan Carter; granddaughter, Peyton Buchanan, her husband, Randall, and sons, Connor and Lennon; and grandson, Dustin Taylor.
Ollis also anticipated a joyous reunion with many other loved ones who have passed on. They include his parents, Luther and Margie; brothers, Baxter, Ivan, Roy, and Verne; and sisters, Orpha Facsko, Esther Ward, and Norma Pearl Gale.
The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Frank, on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church with the Rev. Earl Carver Jr. and grandson Ryan Carter officiating. Interment will follow at Whitaker Branch Cemetery, with military honors conducted by the Newland Pat Ray Post 4286 Honor Guard.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Samaritan's Purse, 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607.
Yancey Funeral Service is serving the Ollis family. To send online condolences, please visit our website at http://www.yanceyfuneralservice.com.
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