Ralph A. Abernethy, Jr., 91, of Radio Station Road, Newton, NC, formerly of Drexel, passed away Friday, March 12, 2010 at the Palliative Care Center and Hospice of Catawba Valley. Born in Burke County, NC on June 26, 1918, he was the son of the late Ralph Adolphus Abernethy, Sr. and Belle Ballew Abernethy. Ralph was a graduate of Hickory High School. He went on to obtain his BS and MA Degrees from Appalachian State Teachers College. He served for 4 years, 4 months, and 23 days with the U.S. Navy during WWII.In 1949 he moved to Drexel to become a teacher at Drexel High School. At Drexel High School he served as a teacher, coach, and principal for 18 years. He also worked at West Concord School, Morganton High School, Valdese High School, and East Burke High School, where he retired in 1981.An avid gardener, Mr. Abernethy was known locally as a grower of azaleas. He was an active member of the Drexel Community, having held offices in the Drexel Community Fair Board, the Lion’s Club, the American Legion, and Phi Delta Kappa, an honorary society for educators. He served as manager of the Drexel Community Fair for six years. The 1999 Drexel Community Fair was dedicated to him by the board. He was also honored by the Drexel Alumni Association for guiding and directing the paths of Drexel Students.Ralph is survived by his wife of 62 years, Silver Miller Abernethy of the home; sons, Rev. Ralph "Dolph" Abernethy and wife, Sue, of Conover, NC and George Miller Abernethy and wife, Caroline, of Charlotte, NC; a daughter, Sarah Abernethy Hoyle and husband, Joe, of Richmond, VA; eight grandchildren, Jamin Hoyle, Brendan Hoyle, Anna Hoyle, Lara Hoyle, Luke Abernethy, Katie Abernethy, Emmi Abernethy, and Joshua Abernethy; and four great-grandchildren, Emma Foster, Noah Hoyle, Lily Hoyle, and Charlotte Hoyle.In addition to his parents, Ralph was preceded in death by sisters, Louise Abernethy, Josephine Abernethy Morris, Virginia Abernethy Davis, and Helen Abernethy, and a brother, John Ballew Abernethy.The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Monday, March 15, 2010 at Drexel First Baptist Church with Rev. Tito Madrazo officiating. Burial will follow in Burke Memorial Park with military honors provided by Valdese American Legion Post #234. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Drexel First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 308, Drexel, NC 28619 or to the Palliative Care Center and Hospice of Catawba Valley, 3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC 28658. Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

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