A Life Lived: Blanche Heaton was a small person who packed a lot of living in her years
Published 9:27 am Tuesday, June 1, 2021
It has been said that you can measure height. But you can’t measure heart. Blanche Heaton was not very tall – less than five feet in stature, but she had one of the biggest hearts in Roan Mountain.
Blanche died April 24 at the age of 94, and she had packed a lot of living in those years.
She was born in her grandparents’ house on the banks of the Doe River and considered herself a lifelong resident of Roan Mountain, even though she had lived in North Carolina for some brief periods while growing up.
Blanche was married to Warren Heaton for 64 years and was the mother of two sons, Will and Larry.
Larry’s wife, Kenny Lou, spoke with much fondness about Blanche. “She was a devout Bible student, and her favorite scripture was the first two verses of Psalms 121: ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.’”
Blanche was a long-time member of Roan Mountain United Methodist Church. “She was a pillar of the church. Her husband’s family founded the church over 100 years ago and Blanche for many years was the go-to person for the church. She overseen the church kitchen, and Blanche’s canned chow-chow was a big fundraiser for the church,” said Kenny Lou. “The ladies at the church made gallons and gallons and sold it at their annual fundraiser.”
The chow-chow had a secret ingredient and for the longest time, Blanche refused to share it, but in the end, she told the ladies what it was – nutmeg.
Her recipe for the chow-chow is now framed and hangs in a study room at the church.
Blanche also helped organize a bean supper with other Methodist churches in the area, which was a fundraiser.
Blanche enjoyed cooking, but she enjoyed more sharing what she cooked with others. “No one went away from her home hungry. “Many times she would send Larry and me ham biscuits or her homemade pimento cheese sandwiches for our lunch,” shared Kenny Lou, who with her husband taught school at Cloudland High.
Blanche began cooking at an early age. She and her mother during the late 1930 cooked in logging camps for the men and would often cook as a means of making money when times were hard and money was scarce. “She was a child of the Depression, so she was familiar with hard times.”
“She was a small woman in stature, but strong as an ox,” said Kenny Lou, who noted her inlaws’ door was always open to visitors, and there was food available at all time. “I never heard her say an unkind word about anyone. She was a very loving person, who not only loved people, but her dogs and cats, and coffee. She sat with a cup of coffee in her hands. When she finished one pot, she made another,” said Kenny Lou.
Blanche was a person who loved the outdoors and gardening. She also loved knick-knacks, which were her treasures. On the bottom of each one, was a piece of tape which told where she got it and when. “We now value the hand-written tape as much as we do the knick-knacks,” her daughter-in-law said.
Blanched loved flowers and for many years was a member of the Roan Mountain Garden Club. She also did the flowers every Sunday morning for the church service. “She made beautiful arrangements, and was a very crafty person. For the longest time she planted gourds, and would paint beautiful faces on them,” said Kenny Lou.
Blanche was a founding member of the Roan Mountain Art Guild, which no longer is active.
Blanche at one time had worked as a substitute teacher and served a lot of kids on Buck Mountain. She also worked for a time at Harry Heaton’s Hardware in Roan Mountain. She helped people shop for items and would wrap their purchases.
Blanche Bateman Heaton may have been a small woman, but her life overflowed with kindness and love. She packed a lot of living in her 94 years of life on this earth. If we all could be a little bit like Blanche Heaton, what a better and kinder world we would live in.