William Pressly
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
122 Skiles Way
Banner Elk, North Carolina, United States

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

this world.

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.

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