Cover photo for Willetta Cope Vance's Obituary
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Willetta Cope Vance

January 25, 1930 — July 9, 2023

Sylva

Willetta Cope Vance

Just before sunrise Sunday July 9th, Willetta Vance, 93,  died peacefully in her sleep but what a joy to know that she woke up in heaven with Jesus.  There is no greater hope as believers to know that someday we will see her again.  She loved her family, and we each had our own special connection with her.  She was a prayer warrior – praying faithfully every day for each one of us by name. 

Willetta was born in East LaPorte in Jackson County on January 25, 1930,  to Fred and Ethel Cope, the second of three children and the only daughter.  The family moved to Sylva, Bryson City and Lenoir before finally settling in Sylva.   

Willetta married R.O. Vance on March 27th, 1948 and enjoyed 66 years of marriage.  They had three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 

Willetta was a mainstay in downtown Sylva for nearly 70 years.  She began working with her father at the Farmers Federation at the age of 14.  In 1963, she and her husband R.O. opened Vance Hardware, running it together until they retired in 2013.  They were honored as Grand Marshalls of the Town of Sylva Christmas Parade in 2012. 

Willetta had a very active church life, spending the last 53 years as a member of First Baptist Church of Sylva.  During her life she served as a Sunday School teacher, Training Union instructor, nursery worker,  and charter member of the Joy Sunday School Class and Dorothy Edwards WMU Circle.  

Willetta never wanted to live in a nursing home but she spent the last two months at the Skyland Care Center rehab facility, enjoying her time there immensely  as she was treated wonderfully and loved dearly by the staff at the facility.   

She was preceded in death by her husband R.O. Vance; parents, Fred and Ethel Nicholson Cope; her brothers Edwin Cope and Kenton Cope; and grandson-in-law Matt Lester. 

She is survived by daughters Glenda Dills (John) of Sylva and Sharon Hooper (Kirk) of Brevard; son Michael Vance of Sylva; grandchildren Amber Hooper Scott (Patrick) of Brevard, Shelley Dills of Matthews, NC, Forrest Hooper (Lindsy) of Virginia Beach, VA, Natalie Dills Lester of Matthews, NC, and Brooke Dills Drum (Todd) of Sylva; great-grandchildren Ivy Scott, Leigh Hooper, Camille Scott, Brinley Shrewsberry, Abbie Lester, Mia Lester, and Strider Drum; sisters-in-law Barbara Vance and Frankie Jean Cope; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Family will receive friends Friday July 21st at First Baptist Church of Sylva at 1:00 PM followed by the funeral at 2:00 PM. 
 In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Sylva First Baptist Church Together We Grow Fund. 
At all other times the family will be gathering at Glenda’s home, 132 Grove Road, Sylva

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willetta Cope Vance, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, July 21, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church Of Sylva

669 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779

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Funeral Service

Friday, July 21, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church Of Sylva

669 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, July 21, 2023

Fairivew Memorial Gardens

Fairview Rd, Sylva, NC 28779

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