Mrs. Vivian J. Stikeleather, 94, of Asheville, began her eternal life on July 7, 2021. She was born July 5, 1927, in Asheville, the daughter of the late Roy Vernon Sellars and Mildred Beatrice Annis. She is survived by her son, Edwin Stikeleather of Honolulu; daughter, Randye Williams and her husband, Kelly, of Hiawassee, GA; daughter, Glenda Swann and husband, Kevin, of Apex, NC; daughter, Kelly Cook and husband, Tom, of Modesto, CA.; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Harold G. Stikeleather; daughter, Debra Ann; brother, R.V. Sellars; and sisters, Cecelia Howard, Geraldine Pettit, and Hope Weiss.
Mrs. Stikeleather was a graduate of Lee Edwards High School in Asheville. After graduation, she studied to become a Dental Hygienist. She married Harold Stikeleather on November 18, 1949, and followed him and his career to Latin America, where she bore her first child, Edwin. She and her husband returned to North Carolina in 1953, where she continued to build their family to include Debra Ann, Randye, Glenda, and Kelly. Mrs. Stikeleather invested her time in many pursuits to include: volunteer work at the local bloodmobile, church outreach programs for those hospitalized and in Nursing Homes, and many community efforts to support the underserved. Mrs. Stikeleather’s life was founded in a strong Christian belief and was reflected in her behavior. She was an excellent role model as a servant of God, demonstrated by her commitment to her church in lifting her beautiful voice as an instrument to God as part of the church choir, leading many various Bible Studies, and becoming a mainstay of the church alter guild. Her love of God and Jesus was apparent in all her undertakings, both in the family and toward all people and animals. This was clearly demonstrated by her welcoming into her heart and home all of the pets her children brought home over the years to include: dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, parakeets, ducks, chickens, hamsters, frogs, snakes, turtles, fish, and an untold number of insects. Her gift for providing loving care to all was her legacy to her children and all who knew her. Mrs. Stikeleather always created a welcoming, nurturing and joyful environment for her family, even during times of great personal loss (death of daughter Debra Ann) and 12 home moves over her married life. Mrs. Stikeleather also endured great personal, physical challenges over several years, but never allowed her faith or love of people and family to suffer. Her capacity for always recognizing the best in people and engendering a positive outlook under even the most trying circumstances endured throughout her life.
Mrs. Stikeleather was supportive of all her families’ interests to include her husband’s love for entertaining, her son’s love of water sports and her daughters’ love of dance, horseback riding and other equestrian pursuits, to list only a few. Her signature dishes loved and enjoyed by her family include; fresh homemade apple cake, homemade cheesecakes, “egg-in-a-nest,” coleslaw, and all breakfast dishes, her favorite meal of the day.
The family would like to express our eternal gratitude to the nurses and support staff of Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community. Their kindness, skilled care, and genuine interest in Vivian over the many years that she spent in the various parts of the Community, and especially during the last days of her life, was a blessing to both Vivian and her family.
A celebration of Vivian’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Healthcare Fund at the Deerfield Charitable Foundation (https://deerfieldwnc.org/deerfield-charitable -foundation/).