Shirley Miller Abernathy

January 19, 1936June 23, 2012

HICKORY- Shirley Miller Abernathy, 76, passed away on Saturday June 23, 2012 at Burke Hospice& Palliative Care.

Shirley was born January 19, 1936 in Catawba Co. to the late Emerson Odell and Essie Rogers Miller Sr.

She was a member of Royal Chapel Church of God and sang in the choir. She retired from Sample House.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister Inez Miller, three brothers, William Miller, Emerson Odell Miller Jr., Gwyn Miller and a granddaughter, Kyley Denae Burkhalter.

Surviving is her husband of 50 years, Howard Thomas Abernathy of the home; five daughters, Joli Burkhalter and husband Tommy, Gaye Lowman and husband Terry of Connelly Springs, Denise Townsend and husband Earnest of Hickory, Gail Buffington and husband Steve of Marietta, GA, Hope Skoney and husband Jim of Birmingham, AL, a son, Hal Abernathy and wife Lori of Granite Falls, four grandsons, Curtis Lowman and wife Tonya of Hudson, Dustin and Lance Townsend of Hickory, Chase Lowman and wife Jill of Maryland, two granddaughters, Briana and Taylor Burkhalter three great-grandchildren, Heather Lowman of Rutherford College, Alex Lowman of Morganton, Dez Townsend of Hickory, one brother, Charles Miller of Hickory, two sisters, Betty Rink of Hickory, Barbara Franklin of Columbia, SC, nine nephews, four nieces and best friend of 70 years, Aileene (Toopie) Martin..

Funeral services will be held at Royal Chapel Church of God on Tuesday June 26, 2012 at 3:30 P.M. with the Reverend David Smith officiating.

Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Monday June 25, 2012 from 6:00PM until 8:00 PM. At Hickory Funeral Home.

The family would like to thank the staff of Burke Hospice for the care and love shown during this time.

Memorials may be made to Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.

Condolences may be made online at

Hickory Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



  • Visitation Monday, June 25, 2012
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, June 26, 2012


  • Burial

Shirley Miller Abernathy

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Patricia Stilwell

July 1, 2012

To know Shirley was to love Shirley! I use to work with her and her family at Sample House and she was so sweet! She acted as though she had always knew you and made you feel like you were old friends from day one! My Mother in law Edith Stilwell Brittain was friends with Mrs. Essie Miller and she often appeared on the Good News program with Edith for years! We have also knew the Abernathy family for many years and are neighbors with them. You are all great people and it has been a pleasure for my husband Allen Stilwell and I to know you! Shirley you will be missed !! love you lots!!!! Patricia Stilwell

Billie Sutton

June 27, 2012

I Love my Aunt Shirley so much as well as you my Uncle Howard.Shirley was truly an amazing lady to know growing up! She was what I call a kicker! Well dressed,minded,and always happy with such a warm smile upon her face.What a loss to us but another one of our Family has gone home to the Lord,and I am so thankful to know someday we will all stand together again in the Glory of our Lord and Heavenly Father! Please forgive me for not paying my respect at the proper time with all the Family,but I had no idea.Know I will be by to visit ya and Love you more than you could ever know and I truly Loved my Aunt Shirley and I am thankful for all the times we shared as a family with food,fun,and giving thanks to our Father in Heaven in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Heaven has gained another Angel and in this I will rejoice and give praise and laughter in honor of her wonderful life she lived. Shirley was an example to me in ways unknown to others and I will be eternally thankful.Know my GrandPaPa Enoch and GrandMaMa Lura Kiser Abernathy as well as many ,many other are there before us and what a day we have together AGAIN AS ONE BIG FAMILY IN HEAVEN !! I Love Ya's ALL in this time of sadness and again I am so so sorry for not being there. Will see ya soon Uncle Howard I Love you! Mr & Mrs Rothrop & Billie (Yates) Sutton

Bernice Powell

June 26, 2012

Denise and family, my deepest sympahty to all of you during this time of sorrow. May your memories bring you joy in the days ahead and may God grant you peace.

June 26, 2012

Joli, Tommy, Briana and Taylor, our thoughts and prayers as with you during this time. When words are not enough, know that you are in our hearts. Shirley was an amazing person with a witty personality. I will never forget her cheers at the ball games for "Breezy and Tater-Bug" for she was their biggest fan. Love to you all and prayers for the difficult days ahead.
Steve and Dawn Shelton

Beth Heath

June 26, 2012

Shirley will never be forgotten.

Beth Heath

June 26, 2012

Howard and family, I am so sorry for your loss.. I knew Shirley when I was growing up she was such a friendly lady.. I will pray for you all.. I am so sorry.. This is Keith Martin s grand daughter, Beth.. I just wanted to say something since I could not come to the funeral..

Patsy Blanton

June 26, 2012

I was in Hope's class at George Hildebrand. She helped me through a tough time, and I would like to offer my condolences.
Patsy Blanton Winstead

Sandra & Mike Angel

June 25, 2012

So sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Please know that you will be thought of during this difficult time. Love to all...Mike & Sandra Angel

Penny A. Peeler

June 25, 2012

Dear Family,
I'm so sorry to hear of Shirley's passing. My condolences go out to all of you.

Stacy Stephens

June 25, 2012

Dear Family,
Thinking of you all. I hope it helps to know how loved and missed Aunt Shirley will be. We have some of the fondest memories of spending our summer vacations at Aunt Shirley & Uncle Howards. Memories that will forever be cherished. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and wishing we could be with you during this difficult time.

Love you- Matt, Stacy, Karly,Lindsay & Sydney