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Bobby Wayne Autry
Bobby Wayne Autry, age 77, of Nebo, North Carolina, joined his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020. His last hours were spent at Memorial Campus of Mission Hospital in Asheville with his family by his side. The son of the late Thurston and Claridell Autry, he was born in Dunn, North Carolina on September 19th, 1943. His childhood years were spent in Florence, South Carolina, where he spent most of his time on a baseball field. After graduating from McClenaghan High school, he obtained his bachelor's degree in Education at Methodist College. There he found his passion for teaching and met the love of his life, Donna. Together they committed their lives to education and to each other. Later, he completed his Master’s degree in Special Education at Towson State College in Maryland.
Coach Autry, as he was known in all the High Country, roamed the sidelines and hallways at Avery County High from 1971-1994. He coached both varsity men’s and women’s basketball at Avery High School. He amassed over 350 total wins in just 20 seasons, including 69 straight conference wins as the women’s coach. He was named coach of the year among his peers 10 times. He retired from Avery as the winningest Girls and Boys basketball coach in 1994. Twenty six years later he still holds the most combined program wins. During his tenure at Avery, Autry also coached baseball, men’s golf, as well as football. Not only did Coach Autry establish relationships with student-athletes, but also with those that were on the sidelines coaching with him. Loyalty and friendships were paramount to Wayne, and that’s why he loved his coaching friends and visited with them even in his final days. He touched the lives of many in his unique way through coaching and in the classroom. He taught English Literature as well as Yearbook. Making a difference in the lives of young people was extremely important to him, and he cherished the memories and relationships he was able to form.
Coach Autry’s proudest accomplishments though came later in life as he grew his relationship with the Lord, delivered meals on wheels, and helped those in need. He remained in close contact with many in Avery County and cherished his new friendships with those from Nebo United Methodist and The Arbor in Marion. He continued his passion for playing golf, where he made countless friends. He enjoyed traveling and spending time on the lake. Most of all he enjoyed being an amazing role model, father, grandfather, and husband.
Wayne is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Donna Aldridge Autry; two sons, John Troy Autry and Jeremy Wayne Autry; and two grandchildren, Bailey Autry and Jessi Autry.
A celebration of Wayne’s life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be considered for the Wayne Autry C.O.A.C.H Scholarship. This scholarship, made in Coach Autry’s honor, is to support a senior female athlete each year that embodies outstanding qualities from his beloved Avery High School.
Donations should be directed to:
Memo Line: Wayne Autry C.O.A.C.H Scholarship
401 High School Road Newland, NC 28657
I remember Wayne from our baseball days in Florence SC. He was a good player. Our teams w ere winners. Our family moved from Florence 1960 to Greenville SC. Wayne's career was outstanding, I wish I could have kept in contact w/Wayne.
Richard Bullard Feb 19 2022 3:21 AM
Although late in addressing Wayne's death, I still feel a need to express my thoughts and feelings. I knew Wayne when we played baseball, might I add winning baseball, in Florence. Wayne always had that same smile (as posted on cover). By-the-way, my middle name is Wayne. I lost contact in 1960 as we moved to Greenville SC. I read Wayne's obit, I knew he would be successful, I know all of you we're proud of Wayne's achievements. God bless,
Richard Bullard Jan 6 2022 7:46 AM
Donna and family, was sorry to hear of your loss. Wayne and I were roommates at Methodist and I remember him as full of life and energy and a fine gentleman!
I was shocked to hear the sad news as I am located south in Bostic in Rutherford County.
Mike Bostic Saunders Feb 2 2021 12:00 AM
I am so sorry for your loss...I remember Coach Autry bringing toddler John Troy to Saturday practices in a freezing gym when we didnt even have school. I had the privilege of being both a student and athlete of Coach Autry. He was kinda hard on us and we had to grow thick skin...i.e., Geez Tolley, we should call you Wonder Woman, because when you throw the Ball, we all wonder where its going. Thank you Coach Autry, for teaching me perseverance. ~Becky Tolley Harrison, ACHS class of 1980
Rebecca Becky Harrison Jan 21 2021 12:00 AM
To Donna and the boys, we are devastated by Waynes passing as are hundreds of people that his life has touched through the years. We know how difficult this has been for you, but know you all are in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be.
kenny ward Dec 23 2020 12:00 AM
A candle was lit in memory of Bobby Autry
Harold and Elaine Arrowood Dec 18 2020 12:00 AM
Dear Donna, so sorry to hear about Wayne. My boys loved him as their Coach at Avery, John and Myron Robinson. I will always remember you. Take care my friend.
Jane Robinson Dec 16 2020 12:00 AM
A candle was lit in memory of Bobby Autry
Diana Ollis Parker Dec 15 2020 12:00 AM
Our sweet, kind Mr. Autry. We have missed seeing both of you here on the 3rd floor of the cancer center. He was such a strong hearted man and never let anything defeat him. I still have my sweet Christmas letter and ornament from last year. I treasure our time together. Please know we are all thinking of you and are here if you need anything. xoxo
Melinda Dec 15 2020 12:00 AM
Ill remember Wayne, always smiling and sharing. I love his sweet gruff voice!
Gwen P Straub Dec 15 2020 12:00 AM