Obituary of William Francis Pressly
William "Francis" Pressly, 87, of Valle Crucis, North Carolina,
son of William Morrison and Eula Bailey Pressly, passed
away on November 16, 2019.
The memorial service and celebration of life will be at
2:00 p.m. Sunday, November 24 at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in
Valle Crucis. A reception will follow at the church. The family
will have a private service of inurnment at St. John's
Episcopal Church on Saturday, November 23.
Francis Pressly was born on his father's dairy farm outside
Stony Point, NC, Iredell County on November 24, 1931. He
graduated from Scott's High School and continued his
education at Erskine College and North Carolina State to
receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry
and later a Masters in Education from University of
Francis married Sibyl White, his high school sweetheart, on
June 8,1955; they have been married 64 years.
Francis had a diverse career spanning 4 decades and 5
continents as an educator and programs director in youth
development, agricultural practices and sustainability. He
began his career in Lexington North Carolina as a 4-H
Extension Agent, and soon became the director of the first
Peace Corps program in Brazil in 1961. He and Sibyl lead
Peace Corp volunteers in Rio de Janeiro for 3 years. He
became the Director of International and Domestic Programs
for the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Maryland
where he worked for 20 years. In 1984, he and Sibyl
returned to their home state to realize a dream of historic
preservation, farming and hospitality. They rehabilitated an
old Valle Crucis farm and opened the Mast Farm Inn in June
of 1985. They offered guests a respite from busy lives
providing them with fresh grown food and comfortable
accommodations in a relaxed family setting. Francis retired
in 1996 and continued to be active in many service,
community and church organizations, including Boone
Sunrise Rotary Club, Holy Cross Episcopal Church and Valle
Crucis Historic Commission. Francis and Sibyl served as
coordinators of the Valle Country Fair and pressed untold
gallons of apple cider, grilled hundreds of chickens at the
Valle Crucis Park to raise funds for a new education building
at Holy Cross, and headed the Potato Club down by the river
where the crop was given to a local food bank.
Francis and Sibyl shared a love of gardening and enjoyed
growing vegetables and flowers and sharing their bounty
with the community. His friends loved to see the bright blue
truck coming their way, as he distributed whatever
vegetables were in season. Corn and tomatoes were
specially anticipated. He loved to travel and relax at their
beach house on Topsail Island with his family. He was a life
long Wolfpack fan and loved the years that NC State made it
to the final four!
Most of all, Francis was a wonderful husband, father and
grandfather. He was a mentor to many of all ages throughout
his life. Always willing to pass on his knowledge, advise and
offer a hand to those in need. He reminds us there is good in
Francis is survived by his wife Sibyl, children Bill Pressly and
partner Lia in Valle Crucis, Sally Pressly and her husband,
Tom Ballmer, in Mason City, Iowa, and grandchildren,
Sophie, Jacob and Zach.
Francis was preceded in death by his mother and father,
Eula and William Pressly and his baby brother Paul.
If desired, memorial donations in honor of Francis may be
made to Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina,
Valle Crucis Community Park or Watauga Habitat for
Online condolences may be shared with the Pressly family at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory, Boone, is serving the Pressly family.
Austin & Barnes
Funeral Home and Crematory
194 Queen Street
Boone, North Carolina
Phone: (828) 264-8888
Fax: (828) 264-8889