Wilma Elizabeth Haynes Conner, age 91, of Old Fort, North Carolina passed away, unexpectedly, but peacefully, into the arms of Jesus on Friday, November 19, 2021 at Mountain Ridge Health and Rehabilitation in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Wilma was born on May 26, 1930 in Buncombe County to the late Arthur Leroy Haynes and Arizona Burleson Haynes. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by seven brothers, Galveston, Harlen, Herrold, Boyce, Boyd, Adger and Graham Haynes; and one sister, Marian Haynes Horton.
Also preceding her in death were her husband of forty-five years, Reverend Willie “Bill” Conner and a daughter, LaVon Conner Walker.
She is survived by two children, Janet Conner McGinnis and her husband James “Jim” McGinnis; and Reverend Billy Ray Conner and his wife Anna Wills Conner, all of Old Fort; ten grandchildren, Darren, Derrick, and Davin McGinnis (Rachel); Curtis (Tammy), Martina, Branson (Olivia) and Dwayne Conner (Alisha); Cherelle Walker Pack (Anthony), Travis (Tracy) and Brandon Walker (Greta); seventeen great-grandchildren, Gavin and Kayla McGinnis; Brian, Elissa, Tyler, Jada, Jackson, Mason, Tanner, Presley and Stetson Conner; Tyler (Megan), Cody, Cassie, Isaiah, Jacob and Toby Walker; and three great-great grandchildren, Jace, Alex and Cole; one brother, Robert “Bob” Haynes and wife Delores of Hendersonville; two special sisters-in-law, Dorothy Conner and Barbara Haynes and son-in-law, Randall Walker, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Wilma moved with her family at the age of six to the Bill’s Creek Community of Lake Lure, North Carolina. There the family owned and operated a large farm and dairy operation. The land is now the home of the Apple Valley Golf Course.
At Lake Lure High School, she was a star basketball player, something of which she was very proud, and in her later years would “shoot a basket” if she got the opportunity.
She had a green thumb and could make anything grow. She would get very excited watching flowers she had planted thrive. Other hobbies included playing Bingo with her co-residents at Mountain Ridge, doing word search puzzles or putting together jigsaw puzzles with her daughter. Her favorite pastime was reading her Bible daily.
Always considering herself “just a housewife”, she was a strong supporter of her husband in the gospel ministry. Her love of God was strong and her faith unwavering. As a pastor’s wife, she mentored many young people and especially young married ladies in the art of cooking and maintaining a household. Near the age of eighty, while living at West Haven Apartments, she delighted herself in helping “all those old people” who lived around her.
Together she and her husband served in pastorate at Grassy Knob Baptist Church in Polk County, North Carolina, Lackey Town Baptist Church in Old Fort, and established the Valley Chapel Baptist Church in Old Fort in 1972. Her beautiful alto voice could always be heard in the choir. She also served as Sunday School teacher at various times.
The Conners and the congregation of Valley Chapel Baptist Church established the Valley View Memorial Cemetery in Old Fort in an area adjacent to their old homeplace. Reverend Conner was the first member buried in the cemetery.
A funeral service for Ms. Conner will be held on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at Lackey Town Baptist Church, which she most recently attended when able, with Reverends Billy Conner, Jeffrey Parker and Brandon Walker officiating. Receiving of friends will be from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. prior to the service at the church. She will be buried in Valley View Memorial Cemetery, where her husband will be re-interred beside her.
Flowers are welcomed and appreciated, or memorials may be made to The Conner Family, P.O. Box 533, Old Fort, North Carolina 28762 or to the charity of one’s choice.
The family would like to express sincere appreciation to all the staff at Mountain Ridge Health and Rehabilitation for the care given to our loved one. She loved each of you and felt your love in return.