Published 1:30 pm Monday, December 2, 2019

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COLUMBUS, NC—Annie Arledge, 74, passed away on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at the Wendover Hospice House in Shelby, NC.


Annie Arledge was born Sarah Anne Spangler on October 17, 1945 in Shelby, NC, the oldest of three daughters of James Edwin Spangler and Mary Lillian Rucker.

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Annie received her B.S. and M. A. in Education from Western Carolina University. Trained as a counselor and special education teacher, Annie spent her life dedicated to the care of special needs children, abused women, hospice patients, and other people in need. She was an extraordinary caregiver. She and her late husband Tommy Arledge raised and lovingly cared for her son, Eddie Gardner, born with cerebral palsy and profound brain damage, who lived to age 32. She and Tommy were members of St. John’s Catholic Church in Tryon, where they served on the altar guild, and before that at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Kona, Hawaii, where she was department chair for special education at Lahainaluna High School, from which her son Eddie graduated. Annie, Tommy, and Eddie lived in Hawaii from 1983-2001, the happiest years of their lives. After returning to the Carolinas, they lived at Myrtle Beach, in Greer, and in Tryon and Columbus. Annie worked at Steps to Hope in Columbus as a weekend shelter manager as well as with Community Health Connections as a caregiver.


After Tommy’s death, Annie was blessed to find love and purpose in her life again as caregiver and loving wife and companion to Ed Anders until his death, and then doubly blessed to find a companion and partner in Roy P. Lail, to whom she was married until his 2018 death, soon followed by the beginning of her own illness. Diagnosed with inoperable cancers, Annie defied her three-month prognosis and inspired all who knew her as she spent the next year making each day of her life one filled with hope, prayer, and a positive outlook. She has been a role model to family members and friends as she has taught them to never allow pain, fear, sickness, or other circumstances to get in the way of living fully and with purpose.


She was predeceased by her parents, an infant brother James Edwin Spangler, Jr. and sister Kay Spangler Burns, all of Shelby; her beloved son Edward Austin “Eddie” Gardner; her devoted husband of 34 years John. T. “Tommy” Arledge, Jr., and his parents J. T. “Jack” Arledge and Lura Nash “Tootsie” Arledge of Tryon; husbands Ed Anders of Henderson County and Roy P. Lail of Cleveland County; and brother-in-law Bob Wilson.


Survivors include her sister Susan Spangler Beam and brother-in-law Bill Beam of Shelby and their children Tripp, Logan, and Lee; her late sister Kay’s husband Jerry Burns of Charlotte and daughters Laura Moore of Fort Mill, SC, (children Gavin and Kaitlyn) and Mary Alice Elsager (Richie) and their children Taylor and Alyssa, of Charlotte and son Ashburn Miller of CA; her uncle Phil Rucker of Shelby and his children Will, Phil, Jim and Tim; her stepson Robbie Lail of Shelby, stepdaughter April Lail of Fountain Inn, SC, and Lail grandchildren Megan, Alison, and Jonathan; her Arledge sisters-in-law Linda A. Wilson of Cartersville, GA, and Susan A. Robinson (Wes) of Fayetteville, NC, nieces Dr. Pam Wilson (Dave Boggess) of Cartersville, GA, Dr. Cara Wilson (Jeb Burchenal) of Golden, CO, Dr. Amy Wilson (Bo Grist) of Charlottesville, VA, Eve Robinson Fowler (Jason) of Fayetteville, NC, and Keith Robinson (Shelly) of Whispering Pines, NC, and many grand-nieces and nephews.


A passionate animal lover, Annie leaves a “fur-baby” tabby cat named Homer that she and Roy rescued and nursed back to health who has recently been adopted by her niece Pam Wilson and husband Dave Boggess.


At Annie’s request, no funeral services will be held.


Memorials may be made to Rusty’s Legacy, 139 Lytle Mtn. Rd. Marion, NC 28752 


An online guest register is available at


McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory

Tryon, NC