August 25, 1933 ~ November 12, 2020

Born in: Buncombe Co., NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Sylvia Gray Moody Milholen passed peacefully from this world on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at Givens Estates Healthcare Center. She was greeted with joy in Heaven by her loving husband of 65 years, William E. Milholen, her parents, Floyd Victor Moody and Clara Taylor Moody White, her beloved sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Terry Michael, and her brother-in-law, Oscar Milholen, along with numerous family members.

Born in the Moody Family home in Asheville on August 25, 1933, the eldest of what would become six sisters, Sylvia enjoyed a childhood surrounded by both her Moody and Taylor extended families. There were chores to be done and school and church to attend, but she was always surrounded with the love and support of her many aunts and uncles. One of her favorite activities was walking the nearby train tracks picking up coal to use in heating and cooking. Summer days were filled with gardening and long days outside with her two oldest sisters, Nancy and Shelby.

Sylvia attended Asheville City Schools and enjoyed participating in several clubs and activities. Her love of music was cultivated as a member of the school bands, where she played flute under the direction of Mr. Joe DiNardo. She graduated from Lee Edwards High school with honors in 1951.

Upon graduation, she applied to and was accepted into the Radiological Technician Certification Program at Memorial Mission Hospital. After completing her training, she began her X-ray Tech career with several of her classmates at Memorial Mission Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Aston Park Hospital.

Through all of these years, and for years to come, Sylvia enjoyed her role as big sister, caring for all of her sisters, especially the youngest, Peggy, Debbie and Cathy. She loved those girls as if they were her own children and did everything she could to lovingly support them as they grew.

After working for several years, one of her close friends at Mission invited her on a blind date to a football game with her and her beau. It was that night that she met her future husband, William, or Hammy as everyone called him. After dating for a few months, they knew they were supposed to be together. They married on May 14, 1955.

As a couple, the Milholens lived in several states including North Carolina and Kansas but decided to call Asheville home. In time, they welcomed their three children, Carol, Diane and William. Motherhood was Sylvia’s greatest calling in life, and she lived for her children. Always active in their school activities and interests, she constantly supported them. Many nights were spent at the sewing machine finishing up outfits for the next day, or in the kitchen baking goodies for their classes. Field trips, band competitions, science fairs-nothing was missed.

As the children all grew up and graduated from college, there were weddings that added joy to their family. Sylvia was very proud of the people her children became.

Although her recent years were impacted by dementia, she never lost her love for her family and her sharp wit. Her caregivers were constantly amazed by her keen perceptions and inquisitive and instructional nature.

Sylvia is survived by her children, Carol Anne Milholen of Asheville, Diane Milholen Smith and her husband, Harrison, of Fletcher, William E. Milholen, II and his wife, Kristen, of Carrollton, Virginia, her loving sisters, Shelby Davis and her husband, Calvin, of New Market, Alabama, Peggy White of Fletcher, Debbie Ferguson and her husband, Don, of Asheville, and Cathy Thompson and her husband, Bobby, of Bonita Springs, Florida, her sister-in-law, Margaret Milholen of Hendersonville, her aunt Ruth Moree of Asheville, her aunt Katherine Turbyfil of Asheville, her uncle Harold Taylor and his wife, Phyllis, of Cincinnati, Ohio, along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

The family wish to thank all of Sylvia’s caregivers, especially Dr. Thomas Rennard, Dr. Tom Kaluzynski and the Memory Care staff, Care Partners Home Health, Four Seasons Hospice, and the loving and dedicated staff of Givens Estates Healthcare Center. We are forever grateful for your care and protection of Sylvia over the past two years.

A memorial service in her honor will be held Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 3:00 in the afternoon, at Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue. Rev. Karen Kurtz will officiate. Due to COVID restrictions, the congregation will be limited to 50 people, and strict masking and distancing guidelines will be followed. The live stream of the service will be available at the Groce Funeral Home Facebook page and YouTube channel.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Black Mountain Home for Children at, 80 Eden Lake Road, Black Mountain, NC, 28711, or Manna Food Bank at, 627 Swannanoa River Road, Asheville, NC 28805.


Memorial Service: November 21, 2020 3:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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  1. You are all in my thoughts with love and warm affection. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to come to know you, and I will hold Sylvia’s memory in my heart forever.

  2. William and I enjoyed helping Sylvia in her beautiful yard with flowers and cooking for special lunches and Sunday dinners when we were in town. You will be missed but so grateful you are with Jesus, Big Daddy and so many loved ones and friends. We love you,

  3. Sylvia took me under her wing when I was a young technologist. She gave me so much advice and helped me in so many ways. Diane, Carol, and William I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Heartfelt sympathy, love and blessings to the Milholen Family. An inspirational woman of a life well-lived, and a woman so loved. Peace to all…


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