Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home

56 Northwest Blvd., Newton, NC


Edwin Franklin Nolley

October 7, 1932July 21, 2020

Edwin Franklin Nolley passed away on July 21, 2020 at Catawba Valley Medical Center, Hickory, NC, at the age of 87. Ed was born on October 7, 1932 in Cooleemee, NC to parents William Roy and Hulda Taylor Nolley. After graduating from Cooleemee High School, he attended Clemson College and graduated with his BS in Agricultural Education in 1954. In 1976, he received his Masters in Adult & Community College Education from NC State University.

Ed was employed by the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Polk and Catawba Counties. He was the Assistant County Agent with Catawba County working with 4-H, then the Associate Agricultural Agent (Livestock) and finally County Extension Director. Ed was well known throughout the county and state for his work with area farmers and 4-H. He retired December 31,1988.

He was commissioned Second Lieutenant (2LT) US Army Quartermaster Corps in 1954 from ROTC at Clemson University. Ed served 29 years in the Army and Army Reserve in many capacities to include Special Services Officer in Metz, France (1956); Company Commander, 108th Division, Hickory, NC; and the Battalion Commander, 518th Regiment, Winston-Salem, NC. He retired in 1983 with a rank of Colonel.

Ed loved serving his community through his job in Extension and with many civic groups in the county. He also had a passion for serving his God on mission trips with the First Presbyterian Church of Newton, NC, where he served as Elder and Deacon. Ed went on 22 mission trips in the USA and Mexico. If Ed was not able to go along, he sent his truck and tools. He especially loved building with Habitat for Humanity where he served on building teams in Hungary and Nicaragua as well as countless local builds.

Highlights of his volunteer life were serving as President and Lt. Governor of the Kiwanis Club of Newton, member of Sherrills Ford Lions Club, Director & President of Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley, Board Member of Carolina Farm Credit and member of the Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministries Board.

Ed will be remembered for his love of family, God, service to his community and all things Clemson. He loved his Tigers and never missed watching a game. Even his tools were spray painted orange! He and wife Jean enjoyed traveling and seeing the world though Home Exchanges in several countries and many trips in the USA. After retirement they built a home on Lake Norman where they enjoyed life for 35 years.

Ed is survived by his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth Jean Weast Nolley, of Newton, NC; daughter Suzanne Rhinehart and husband Ray of Newton, NC; daughter Gail Nolley Teem and husband Michael of Callawassie Island, SC and son, Frank Nolley and wife Beth of Startown, NC. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Rachel Teem Gentry, husband Jonathan; Laura Rhinehart Sparks, husband Jason; Ryne Teem and wife Anna; Taylor Rhinehart and wife LeAnna, and Mason and Payton Nolley. Ed had two great-grandchildren, Lily and James and two more to arrive soon. He also had a special bond with Sian and Lucy Colman-Black,who were like granddaughters to him, from Ireland..

Ed was preceded in death by his parents Roy and Hulda Nolley, sister Ann Nolley Hancock and her husband David.

The family asks that gifts may be made to NC Agricultural Foundation in support of the Edwin F. and Jean Nolley 4-H Program Endowment for Catawba County at Campus Box 7645, NC State, Raleigh NC 27695 or at go.ncsu.edu/nolley. Other gifts may be made to Habitat for Humanity or the Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministries Board.

The family will have a private celebration of life. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Condolences may be made to www.willisreynoldsfh.com.

The Nolley family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton, NC.


  • Memorial Service - Later Date


Edwin Franklin Nolley

have a memory or condolence to add?

Meg Thompson

July 30, 2020

Bernie and I have many fond memories of times with you and Ed.
You remain in our hearts and prayers as you walk through this difficult time

MaryEllen Hansel Rhoney

July 26, 2020

Shortly after becoming home service advisor for Duke Power in August 1964, Jim Tyson and I represented Duke at a meeting of Catawba County Ag Workers. That was the day I met Ed Nolley. I came to appreciate his expertise as both Tyson and I attended camps and assisted with electrical demos for the campers. Later, my daughters, my mother, and I shared a trip to the National 4 H Center in Washington with Ed and Jean Nolley which was coordinated by Johnsie Setzer. Ed made outstanding contributions to the betterment of Catawba County. I extend my sympathy to Jean and children. Your wonderful memories will brighten the way ahead!

Deidra Hicks

July 26, 2020

My condolences to the family! I love this wonderful man. I met him through the 4-H program in Catawba County. He found out, that I didn't have the money to attend a-State trip... I soon found out that an anonymous donor paid my way. And it was not just this one time, but quite a few times, throughout my 4-H career. I begged the 4-H agent to tell me who it was so that I could thank them. But he refused to tell me. Finally he gave me an impossible hint to get me off his back... He told me the annoymous person was also donating the location that we were taking our Junior leadership trip too... I was sneaky.. and located a sole magazine that had the Nolleys name and address on it. there were others but all of them had the name and address marked out, they had just forgot that one. I found my answer. I had already loved this gentle, kind-hearted man even before he helped me. But this kindness touched me in a way that I will never forget. I have tried to help others; to honor those like Mr. Nolley and his sweet wife, who helped me so much. They helped me to be the person that I am today. I will never forget the kindness that he showed. I will forever hold a special place in my heart and memories. May God bless each and everyone of Ed's family members, especially his sweet wife. Hugs in heaven! Enjoy your wings... But they were already there built before you got to heaven you just kep them well concealed in your time with us. Hope you find lots of 4 leaf clovers in heaven!

Lisa Austin

July 24, 2020

I want you to know that I will be praying for you and your family through this difficult time. I remember how proud you were of your daddy, and I know you are going to miss him. My daddy moved to heaven almost 2 years ago, and I still miss him every day, but when you know they are in heaven, it makes all the difference. Give your family my love as you go through this difficult time.
Lisa Shubert Austin

Patricia Hurley

July 24, 2020

Ed will be so missed by many. He was always so kind, and you definitely knew his team was Clemson. Ed was a true servant for God. My deepest condolences to all his family.

Arnold Sharpe

July 23, 2020

My father and Edwin's father Roy were first cousins, but they were closer than brothers. We would go to Roy's a lot on Sundays to visit and usually once a month to spend the weekend. Edwin, Jean and the children would sometimes come to visit also. I was a little older than Suzanne, Gail and Frank, but we usually played and did things together. Edwin was always very kind to me, and he was always the same every time you saw him, smile on his face and always ready to have a conversation. Those good old times are sadly long gone. I guess the last time I saw Edwin was when my father passed away in 1996. Wish we would have seen more of each other down through the years, but you don't know what it means to you until someone is gone. Edwin will be sorely missed. Earth's loss is heavens gain, rest in peace cousin. To Jean, Suzanne, Gail and Frank our prayers are with you all.

Steve Houser

July 23, 2020

While conducting the wedding for one of Mr. Nolley's grandsons, I had the pleasure of talking with this fine officer and gentleman. He was the kind of person you wished you could have spent a lot of time with, for he was a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. I am so sorry for your loss, but I am sure Heaven is rejoicing in the arrival of this great and good man. God Bless You, Steve Houser

Jean Clark

July 23, 2020

I just loved Ed Nolley! He was a special man. He always was friendly and interested in you. I remember him calling square dancing at Camp Grier! His greatest legacy is his amazing family. They are all wonderful people and my prayers and love are with them!

Kathy McAllister

July 23, 2020

One of my fondest memories is working with Ed and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance from our church after Hurricane Katrina. We traveled to D’Iberville, Mississippi. Working with Ed and “the crew” was one of the most memorable and special times I ever participated in. But for Ed this was one of the many volunteer projects he worked on throughout his life. When I see the word volunteer I think of Ed Nolley. Such a wonderful individual and role model.

Jody Welker

July 23, 2020

I am so grateful to know Ed. He was many things to me and others: friend, leader, mentor, person of faith, hope and love. His influence will long remain. I remember the first trip with him on a Mexico Mission trip... and many a Bible study before he headed out to Habitat...so many memories. Our prayers are of gratitude for his life and for comfort for all who loved him.