Elizabeth (Lib) Henderson Michaels, 91, of Grace Ridge Retirement Community, died Tuesday, January 8, 2013 following a period of declining health. Born in Polk County, NC, on May 23, 1921, she was the daughter of Cornie Sybert and William Lindsay Henderson and the widow of Robert Frank Michaels who died in 1998. She was an honor graduate of Stearns High School, Columbus, NC and attended Cecil’s Business College, Spartanburg, SC. In early 1942 Lib came to Burke County as bookkeeper of Glen Alpine Knitting Mills. After her marriage and the birth of two children, she stayed at home for seven years. She then served eight years in the District Office of NC Veterans Commission before switching to the medical field, where she retired in 1981 after twenty years as office manager for Dr. Beverly D. Hairfield, a local surgeon. During that time she became a charter member of the Burke County Association of Medical Assistants, and was the second Certified Medical Assistant in the County.
In early 1979, she began researching her roots and those of her husband; this soon became a full time hobby. Lib was a charter member of the Burke County Genealogical Society and served in various capacities. In 2007, she was awarded a life-time honorary membership; she was recently honored at the Society’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. For several years she was a volunteer in the North Carolina Room of the Burke County Public Library. She was also an active member of several other genealogical organizations in North and South Carolina, and an active member of DAR. She is the author of seven family history books and several brief unpublished histories. She has identified over 240 ancestors for her children.
Lib was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church and Dorcas Sunday School Class. She served on various committees, including Archives and History Committee and was very interested in establishing an Archives and History Room at the church.
After moving to Grace Ridge in 2003, she served on the Advisory Board, the Archives committee, the Spiritual Life Committee, and was on the staff of Mountain Views, the residents’ monthly newsletter. Besides genealogy, her hobbies were reading, bridge, and crossword puzzles.
She is survived by two daughters: Rebecca and husband Major Robert D. Anderson, of Roy, WA; Clara Jean (CJ) and husband Frank H. Edwards of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren Meghan Leigh Pike of Atlanta, GA and Jessica Pike Currin and husband Matt of Raleigh, NC. She is also survived by close family friends, Bobby and Franda Stephens and their extended family.
In addition to her parents and her husband, Mrs. Michaels was the last survivor of 17 siblings and half siblings.
The family thanks the staffs of Grace Ridge and Burke Hospice and Palliative Care for their loving care; in addition, we thank the following who gave special care: cousins Shirley McIntyre of Saluda, NC and Pat and Randy Rector of Morganton, NC.; and niece Renee Michaels of Charlotte, NC.
Services will be conducted on Saturday afternoon, January 12 at three o’clock in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with the Dr. Thomas A. Bland, Jr. officiating, with graveside rites immediately following. The family will receive friends at the funeral home for one hour before the service. The family requests no flowers; memorial contributions may be made to The Burke County Library Foundation (for the purchase of materials for the North Carolina Room) and mailed to The Burke County Library Foundation, Attention: Gale Benfield, North Carolina Room, 204 South King St., Morganton, NC 28655 or to First Baptist Church, PO Box 459, Morganton, NC 28680.
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