Gwendolyn Lee Pinholster Green Macpherson was welcomed into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father Sunday, November 21st, 2021 at her home in Burnsville, North Carolina, surrounded by her loving family and caregivers after a courageous battle with ALS. She is preceded in death by her parents, Guy and Jeannette Crosby Pinholster. In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by her husbands, Frank Green and Frank Macpherson.
She is survived by children; Teresa Green Mask, Jennifer Green-Lee (Tony), Jonathan Green (Betsy), and Christopher Green; siblings: Gary Pinholster (Gayle), Greg Pinholster, and Cathy Pinholster Moore (Jimmy); aunt, Vivian Pinholster Reedy; grandchildren, Benjamin Robertson, Rebecca Mask Mitchell (Jason), Jacob Green and Davis Green; niece, Stacey Pinholster Vose (Todd); nephew, Jason Pinholster (Becky); as well as her first great-grandchild, Olivia Mitchell.
Gwen was born August 18th, 1944, in Jacksonville, Florida and was the oldest of four children. She graduated in 1962 from Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Florida after transferring there from Andrew Jackson High. Ironically, it was there she almost failed chemistry and gave up on her dream of becoming a nurse. Not one to give up, she had a neighbor tutor her and was able to “squeak by”. She thrived at and graduated from Grady Nursing School in Atlanta, Georgia in 1965. The world was in a state of turmoil, but Gwen was just beginning a career in nursing that would fulfill her the rest of her life. For many years, she worked as a visiting nurse travelling all over Jacksonville, Florida with the Visiting Nurses Association. Thankfully, by then she had already met and wed her first husband, Franklin Eugene Green in 1968, who meticulously plotted out her route of travel every day as Gwen admittedly had not been blessed with a sense of direction. She had no problem following a recipe but trying to follow a map was like speaking a foreign language (yes, they used paper maps). Gwen and Frank created a happy (not so little) family with the birth of four children. After 17 years of marriage, Frank passed away from Leukemia in 1985 at the young age of forty-one. Having never balanced a checkbook or done the “business” side of family and feeling a little daunted by the task of raising kids in such a big city alone, Gwen moved the three youngest to Burnsville, North Carolina, while her oldest, Teresa, remained to attend college. She took her first job in North Carolina with a hospital in Spruce Pine, then later found more family-friendly hours as well as her true calling with the Hospice Program in Yancey County.
In 1988, she introduced Frank Macpherson to the family. In October of 1989, they wed and lived together happily watching birds, traveling and enjoying all aspects of nature until Frank passed away in 2010. Gwen also served as the director of the Yancy County Hospice (Compassionate Care Western North Carolina) for many years. She ultimately finished her nursing career at Celo Medical Center. Throughout, she remained active with the Hospice Program and loved to volunteer at the Reconciliation House.
Gwen had many hobbies. She had a passion for traveling and a gift for photography, sewing, writing funny poems, and quilting. Throughout the years, her photography was featured on notecards, bookmarks and sold in local shops. She made beautiful art that she happily shared with others and especially enjoyed crafting and quilting with her granddaughter, Becca and her niece, Stacey. Every child and grandchild have a quilt made by her skilled hands. Likewise, every family member has been asked to stand endlessly for countless pictures - when you had to “wait and see” in the hopes that some would “turn out”. The fruits of these labors can be seen in the countless bins of photo albums that document the entire family’s history. Despite her full-time job and these time-consuming crafts and hobbies, her kids will tell you that she also NEVER missed a single sporting event either and that much to their sometimes chagrin, she was ALWAYS their most vocal cheerleader and advocate.
Gwen was one of the lucky ones in that she got up every day and did what she loved. She was a strength and comfort to many families in that capacity and she showed that same strength and grace in her own battle with ALS and eventually in her passing. She was a little stubborn (that’s an understatement to those that knew her well) and a lot in love with Burnsville so no one was shocked when she refused to move closer to her family that was spread over many different zip codes and professions. She was proud of every single kid and felt it best to remain in her “neutral” territory.
They say that you reap what you sow, and that is the only explanation for the excellent care that she was given by members of her Burnsville community. The family would like to thank the many loving caregivers and special friends who enabled Gwen to fulfill her wishes of remaining in her home and to be as mobile and active as permitted by her illness: Julie McCurry, Marie Parker, Alana Bailey, Kirsten Ledford, Kenya Gouge and Sheryl Briggs with Hospice of Burnsville. Her neighbors also ensured that she was never truly “alone” as well, coming to her aid many times to “relocate” snakes, ward off bears, or help with her increasingly challenging mobility issues. All these people lovingly cared for Gwen like she was a part of their own families.
Never one to be in love with attention, her desire, in lieu of a service was to have memorial donations made to Compassionate Care Western North Carolina (Hospice of Burnsville) at 865 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714 or Reconciliation House at 20 Academy Street, Burnsville, NC 28714, both missions which she believed in, loved, and gave generously of her time and talents throughout the years. A celebration of life is being planned for a later date that will take place in the spring in Florida.
Like her magnificent quilts, her life was a patchwork of happiness and challenges and at its completion left behind a legacy of beauty and love that will endure on in the memories of all those whose life she touched and while our hearts are shattered here on Earth, everyone reading this can take great comfort in the fact that Gwen can now walk, run, and talk again and that her loving and faithful companion Buster is back by her side running with her towards all those waiting above.
Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home is respectfully serving the Macpherson family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gwendolyn Lee (Pinholster) Macpherson, please visit our floral store.