November 21, 1941 ~ November 25, 2010

Born in: Bakersville, NC,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

THE REV. ZELLA CARPENTER ASHEVILLE - The Reverend Zella Mae Sparks Carpenter, 69, of the Acton Woods community near Asheville, passed away peacefully Thursday evening at the John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville in the presence of her family after a short battle with cancer. She was the serving pastor of Acton United Methodist Church. A native of Bakersville in Mitchell County, she was the third daughter of the late Brown and Elsie Sparks. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her older sister Norma Jean Summers. Zella graduated from Western Carolina University in 1962, and was awarded a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Greensboro before beginning a twenty year career in education. In 1993, she entered Duke Seminary and was awarded a Masters of Divinity in 1995. She served as a United Methodist pastor in both the eastern and western United Methodist conferences including churches in Chocowinity, Lizzie, Maury, Black Creek, Lucama, High Point, twice in Hickory, and finally Acton in Candler. She is survived by Ray Douglas Carpenter, her loving husband of 45 years. Her only child Lieutenant Colonel Clifton Carpenter, USMC and his wife Major Charlotte Carpenter, USMC reside with their two daughters in Swansboro, NC. Her sister Rouselle Mears lives with her husband George in Knoxville, TN and her sister Lou Ellen Metcalf lives with her husband Ed in Bakersville. A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Monday at Acton United Methodist Church with the District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. John S. Boggs officiating. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to CarePartners Hospice, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813, or to Heiffer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202.

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  1. Ray you and your family are in my prayers.Pastor Zella was a very special lady..She touched my life in more ways than one..She was very caring and had a very loving spirit..She was always there in the time of need..She really helped me alot with the word of God and prayers during my sickness.I enjoyed our visit on Tuesday this past week..Pastor Zella will never be forgotten..If you need anything please just let me know.Someday we will be reunited with her again in Heaven..Love in Christ …Mike Hughes

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  2. Ray, Cliff, Charlotte and of course Aiden and Autumn…words are just never enough at a time like this. Zella was so special to so many, especially to Pete and I. She enlightened me on my path as a Christian and molded me and encouraged me in Christ. She will be missed so very much. We loved her and we love you all as part of our family forever. God Bless you and keep you strong at this very sad time. Pete and Kelly Ross

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  3. Ray, Cliff and family,
    You are in our thoughts and prayers. Zella will be missed by her many friends and the many parishoners who she served so faithfully during these years as a pastor.
    Our love is with you.
    Gail and Jack

    Reply
  4. Ray, Cliff & family, You are in our thoughts and prayers. Zella helped Warren and I when we started church at St. John’s and
    we will remember her especially for
    this. She was a great lady and will be missed. God bless you all.
    Warren and Louise

    Reply
  5. Ray, Cliff and Family, We were very shocked to hear of the passing of Pastor Zella. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May God be with you and wrap you in his loving arms during your time of sorrow.
    Bobbie and Damaris
    St. John’s UMC, Hickory

    Reply
  6. Dear Ray, Cliff, Charlotte, Ayden, and Autumn,
    I am so very sorry for our loss,
    but we do know without a shadow of a doubt where our Zella, Mom, and
    Grandmother is now – in the direct presence of God. I imagine that she and Ms.Sudie Mae and Ms. Ruby
    are catching up and are singing in the Halleluia Chorus! I have just tonight gotten up with Ms. Sudie Mae’s daughters and have shared many of our stories and memories with them. Amen!
    Much love, and I hope to see you soon. Nina Paul

    Reply
  7. Ray,
    My heartfelt sympathy for your great loss of your wife. I feel for you what all the Orr’s would be feeling for you if they were alive. You were much loved and respected by all of them. May You take some small measure of comfort in what I am trying to convey to you.
    Your friend and cousin,
    Jay Orr

    Reply
  8. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Pastor Zella. I will miss her caring spirit, and her wonderful vision of what is right and good. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

    Love, Paul and Monica Thomas
    Former Fairgrove members

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  9. On behalf of 2d Radio Battalion and with my personal condolences, I wish you and your family peace and comfort.
    Semper Fidelis,

    Reply
  10. Ray and family…
    I am so shocked in hearing about Zella….I have many fond memories of you and Zella when you were in my SS class at Saint Andrews…I know she will be sorely missed.. she was such a kind, sweet person!! Sincerely, gloria graham

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  11. Ray, Cliff, Charlotte,Adien & Autumn: The service yesterday for Zella was beautiful – just like her. Truly a celebration of the life of a very special person. The many memories you share of Zella will keep her with you forever. We all shall miss her; but know that she is watching over us all. Love to you all.
    Dora & Henry

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  12. Ray Douglas, and Cliff. Just today I had the bravery to Google Zella. I searched with REv. Canty for her in the Western conference only yesterday. I got the email from her on the 12th of November. I never imagined that our quick vivsit in late October would be our last. I feel rudderless. I would have been there. Much like Nina Paul I too know that she is with the Creator. I loved her so whether we spoke or not. Vita

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