Garrett Funeral Home


Zilpha Caven Black

May 29, 1937November 19, 2021

Zilpha Caven Black

Zilpha Caven Black, beloved mother, friend, volunteer, educator, and avid traveler passed away at the age of 84 on November 19, 2021, in her home in Waynesville, North Carolina surrounded by members of her family.

Zilpha was a collector of friends who eventually turned into her “chosen family”. She travelled extensively with these family members across Europe and lived in Malvies, France for seven years before settling in the Maggie Valley-Waynesville area. She was an energetic volunteer at the Haywood County Public Library for over 15 years and simultaneously helped countless children build their confidence in reading. She inspired hundreds of children to discover the magical world of books. Her chosen grandchildren credit their early and continued love of reading to Zilpha. Zilpha was a teacher with the Corpus Christi Independent School District and St. James Episcopal School in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Zilpha earned her Bachelor of Arts from Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville, Texas (1959) and a Master of Science from Texas A & I University in Corpus Christi, Texas (1975).

For the past ten years, Zilpha has been a regular bridge player at the Haywood Senior Resource Center where she thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and some great bridge games.

Zilpha Caven Black was born May 29, 1937, in Long Beach, California to the late Agnes Dixon Caven and RADM Selman Stewart Bowling. She was also preceded in death by her son Stewart Wendell Black.

In honor of her memory and in lieu of a memorial service or flowers, Zilpha requests that her friends devote time and energy to making a difference in someone’s life.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at .


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Zilpha Caven Black

have a memory or condolence to add?

Francesac Aborn

December 3, 2021

Prior to meeting Zilpha, I had already heard a number of stories from John Wilcox, therefore, felt that in some way I knew her. John had such beautiful and fond things to say about her which made visiting her a joy as Daniel and I embarked on an epic road trip across country. Zilpha absolutely lived up to the stories and beyond! With joy and enthusiasm she encouraged us to never stop adventuring, traveling and seeing beyond what we know. During that visit, she was also moved and touched to see the similarities between Daniel and John. It felt that although it was just Daniel and I eating lunch with her, it was as if the whole family was there, together, the way she would have wanted.
I am now proudly and humbly wearing her families ring as my engagement ring. She wrote to John “may it always sparkle joy for her”. It will. And I will fondly remember her in this ring as I think of our joyful reunion.

John Wilcox

December 2, 2021

Zilpha Caven Bowling Black was my only maternal first cousin, much beloved. During my childhood she was a caring older sister, defending me from my older brother. Our families lived in different cities, but we would spend holidays together, often filled with pranks of Zilpha's invention. She was fun! In mid-life Zilpha endured tragedies that would have broken a person of lesser strength and endurance. She survived by being generous to others and by inspiring love and loyalty in all who knew her. She created a close-knit family of friends and neighbors who brought joy to her later years. She loved animals and nature. To the very end she retained her sense of humor, her wit and her love of life. She set an example for me and for my children that I hope will guide all of us to lead lives as fulfilling and inspiring as hers. Good-bye dear Zilpha.
John Wilcox

martegoute elizabeth

November 28, 2021

zilpha ma grande amie, tu es toujours avec moi dans ma vie
tu m'as beaucoup enrichie, meme malgré la distance
et maintenant tu m'accompagneras au fil des jours
je pense à toi elizabeth

Marjorie Varner

November 24, 2021

I did not ever meet Zilpha but can attest to her accomplishment as a mother. I knew her son Stewart in high school. He was gracious in his manners and was extremely charming.

Chadwell Hamiel

November 23, 2021

Bonnye Feiock

November 21, 2021

Thank you, Zilpha, for all your enlightening conversations and for your love of animals. I will miss your weekly animal videos.