West Asheville/Cruso - Vernell Audrey Eugene Wheeler Shuford (December 15, 1942 - January 29, 2022)
Vernell Audrey Eugene Wheeler Shuford, 79, left this world in the early afternoon on January 29, 2022 and stepped into her heavenly home after succumbing to illness. A native of Haywood County, she was born to the late Reverend Thara Acie and Vaughtie Wheeler and grew up in the Cruso community. She later moved to Asheville upon marriage to her husband of 54 years, Randall.
Nell, as she was called, was a quintessential Appalachian cook. Her roast beef, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and red velvet cake were family favorites. True to her mountain heritage, biscuits were served at virtually every meal, and she always wanted to make sure you had enough, even if it meant getting up from the table to fix more in the middle of a meal.
She was an avid amateur genealogist. She had traced her family back several generations and could always be called on to describe how someone was related or give a birthday or anniversary.
A piano teacher for almost 40 years, she taught hundreds of students – young and old, to worship on the piano. Though never volunteering to play, everyone enjoyed it when she was convinced to play and took her place on the bench. Whether it was a solo at church, or just playing at home; ministering through music in a quartet with her brothers and son, or Sunday afternoon duets with her son Bernard that would inevitably end with one of them saying, “What song were YOU playing?” or with her sister Lillian that, more often than not, ended with one of them laughing, her music was a bit of heaven on earth and a blessing to anyone within earshot.
She loved her family and was proud of her grandchildren, as evidenced by the walls of pictures of them. If you ever sent her a Christmas card, know that it was proudly displayed somewhere in her house throughout the Christmas season. If you sent her a family photo, it would be displayed proudly on her piano for all to see. When listening to her tell a story, you could not avoid laughing as she would sometimes get so tickled herself, she could not continue.
More than anything though, Nell, was a humble servant of her Lord, Jesus Christ. She was faithful to him through the trials of life and never wavered in her devotion to her faith. She was a charter member of Grace Free Will Baptist Church in Cruso where she was a Sunday School teacher for many years.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Gary Wheeler and Roy Wheeler, sisters Inice Wheeler Smathers, Lillian Wheeler Metcalf, and niece Rachel Shuford.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son Bernard (Karma) Shuford of Canton, grandchildren Travis Shuford of Canton/Mars Hill, and Kristi Shuford of Canton. She is also survived by her brothers Gerald Wheeler (Oveda), Howard Wheeler (Birdell), Alvin Wheeler (Linda), Earl Wheeler (Patsy), Russell Wheeler (Rita Kay), sister-in-law Brenda Wheeler, and brother-in-law Keith Smathers.
A private celebration of her life will be held with a recorded video of the service available for viewing on the Wells Funeral Home website. A public graveside service will be held at 3 pm on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at New Cruso Cemetery with the Reverend Kevin Valentine, Reverend Dale Whitson, and Reverend Cameron Bolden officiating.
Masks are required for those in attendance, please.!
The family would like to extend their gratitude and thankfulness to those who provided assistance, support, and encouragement during Nell’s illness.
The care of Mrs. Shuford has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes of Canton and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com