Frances Lee (Riley) Mears

December 31, 1937 ~ March 13, 2019 (age 81)


Asheville - Frances Lee Riley Mears was born on December 31, 1937 in Haywood County to Joseph Ercell and Bertha Lee Riley. On March 13, 2019, she peacefully met her Savior, Jesus Christ.  Frances was preceded in death by her sister, Ruth Elizabeth Hall.

She spent her childhood growing up in Phillipsville in Canton, raised by her grandfather, Dow Francis King. In her late teens, Frances traveled with Ben Smathers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers, square dancing across the country. She spent many years working at American Enka and then Ingles.  

Frances began to teach Chris and Beth and their friends clogging and started a square dance team with many of the Erwin youth called the "Country Bumpkins".  They excelled and won many awards over the years and she so enjoyed the time she invested in those children.

She was an avid NC Tar Heel Basketball and Jeff Gordon NASCAR fan. But her true passion was her time spent with her family and friends. She lived a selfless life, her focus on others' well-being was her heartbeat.

Frances is survived by her husband of 51 years, Harry L. Mears; one son, Christopher Lee Mears; a daughter, Elizabeth Dean Mears; a granddaughter, Caroline Madison Mears; and a sister, Barbara Dean McElreath, all of Asheville.  

Funeral services will be held at noon on Saturday, March 16, 2019 in the Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with the Reverend Keith Hutchinson officiating.  A private committal service will be held at Bell United Methodist Church Cemetery.  The family will receive friends from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to Bell United Methodist Church Maintenance Fund, c/o Mary Jo Ball, P.O. Box 36, Leicester, NC  28748.

The care of Mrs. Mears has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Frances Lee (Riley) Mears, please visit our floral store.


March 16, 2019

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Wells Funeral Home of Canton
3715 Asheville Hwy.
Canton, NC 28716

Funeral Service
March 16, 2019

12:00 PM
Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home
3715 Asheville Hwy
Canton, NC 28716

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