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Claude R. Nelon

He is survived by his wife, Helen Mary Ganey Nelon of Lake Lure, two daughters, Mary of Asheville and Suzanne of Rutherfordton, and four sons, Claude Jr. of Hurricane, W.V., David of Lake Lure, Richard of McKinney, Texas, and Major (U.S. Army) Patrick of Oahu, Hi., 12 grandchildren, three great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by sons Robert and Randy. &bsp;

Claude was born on October 5, 1920 in Uree, N.C., currently Lake Lure. He was the oldest of 12 children born to the late Annie Mae Conner Nelon and Rufus Wilkebell Nelon. Claude was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Pauline Dotson; and three brothers, Edward, Ernest and Richard. He is survived by five sisters, Myrtle Searcy of Asheville, N.C., Sarah Lawter of Bat Cave, N.C., Mary Jane Melton of Chimney Rock, N.C., Rosa Owensby of Hendersonville, N.C., and Geneva Wilson of Rutherfordton; and two brothers, Sidney and Wade of Lake Lure.

Claude was a veteran of three wars, serving 32 years from 1942 to 1974 in the Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force as a command pilot with more than 15,000 flying hours. He was an active member of the community, serving as Lake Lure town commissioner and mayor pro tem, founder of Lake Lure Junior Police Youth Program, Kiwanis member, president Sunny View PTA, and president Sunny View Ruritan Club. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Air Force Association, and Retired Officers Association. Claude was a charter member of the Lake Lure Lions Club, serving as president, secretary (20 years), treasurer, and N.C. District Governor.

A Celebration of Life service for family and friends will be held at Fairfield Mountains Chapel, 1384 Buffalo Creek Road, Lake Lure on Thursday, 3 Sept, 2009, presided by Reverend Everette Chapman. Military rites will be conducted by the Rutherford County Honor Guard.&bsp; In lieu of flowers, memorials/donations may be made to North Carolina Lions Foundation, Hospice of Rutherford County, or the Fairfield Mountains Chapel.