Carolina Ferguson Finley

May 3, 1936 ~ October 26, 2020 (age 84)


A private family service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held Saturday, October 31st at 11:00 AM.  The public may view via live stream through the North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church website: A private burial will be held at Scenic Memorial Gardens.

Carolina Haigler Ferguson Finley fulfilled a life well-lived on Monday, October 26, 2020. She loved a full house, and her last days were spent with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at her side. Carolina was born May 3, 1936, in Ferguson, NC to Thomas Wiley and Edith Kyles Ferguson. The youngest of four daughters, she had many stories to tell of life on the family farm, her politically active father, her multi-talented mother, and large extended family. During a summer camp in high school, Carolina met Gordon Finley of North Wilkesboro. They married in 1956 while Carolina was a student at Greensboro College. She graduated with a degree in Art and began life as an art educator both in her home, private studios, and public schools. She also taught pre-school at the North Wilkesboro Presabyterian Church. She and Gordon lived in Greensboro, Wilkesboro, and Virginia before settling on E Street in North Wilkesboro while Gordon also built a weekend “shack” in the Brushy Mountains. They moved to the mountain permanently in 1972, and she spent the rest of her life with a beautiful view. 

Carolina’s life as an artist and art educator touched so many. Her paintings, drawings, cards, and latest quilted works are framed in thousands of homes. Her mission as an artist was to give people joy, and she never failed. She did not stop working until a few days before she died, creating gifts for a Christmas she knew she would not likely see. She painted what she found beautiful, but also what others enjoyed. If she traveled with you to places like North Carolina beaches, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Scotland, or Hawaii, chances are that the next card you received from her would depict a scene from your time together. She received numerous awards and gallery invitations for her work, and she was a beloved teacher. In 2018, Carolina was honored to receive the Daughters of the American Revolution “American Heritage Award for Women in the Arts.” 

Her love for art was exceeded only by her love of family and love of God. Carolina and Gordon had six children, 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Her newest great-grandchild, Mabel Carolina, was born on October 24th. The family loved annual beach trips, birthday celebrations, and holidays together. A full and boisterous house brought her joy. Photographs of her family filled her walls, refrigerator door, and dozens of photo albums. Carolina was a long time member of the North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church where she was a member of the choir, taught Sunday School, taught bible school, served on the Session, and enjoyed the company of a very close church family. 

Carolina was predeceased by her husband Allen Gordon Finley Jr., one grandson Cameron Finley, her parents, her sisters Eleanor MackIntosh, Betty Underwood, and Edith Marie Carter, and one niece, Lynn Underwood. Left to honor her life are her children: Allen Finley and his wife Jackie, Cam Finley, Katie Smithey, Kendal Privette and her husband Chris, Carol Finley, and Mary Finley; Grandchildren Madeline Finley; Tate Finley and fiance Maggie Wilson, Blair Dancy and husband Jacob Dancy and their mother Tammy Finley;  Parks Smithey, Abby Smithey and their father David Smithey; Hank Privette and his wife Blair, Jack Privette; Zoe Foote, Zane Foote and their father Vincent Foote; and Kyle Barger and his father David Barger; Great-grandchildren Finn Dancy, Lillian Privette, and Mabel Privette. 

Carolina’s children wish to thank the staff of Wilkes and Watauga cancer centers, Wake Forest Baptist Health Care at Home, and the devoted friends and family members who supported her during treatments for the last 13 years, especially the last three months. She truly loved you. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Carolina’s memory can be made to The North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church 804 E. Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659; Wilkes Art Gallery 913 C Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659; or Wilkes Recovery Revolution 506 8th Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659. 

Online condolences may be made to 

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Funeral Service
October 31, 2020

11:00 AM
North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church
804 E Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28659

Private Interment

Scenic Memorial Garden
545 Moravian Falls Road
Wilkesboro, NC 28697


The North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church

Wilkes Art Gallery
913 C Street, North Wilkesboro NC 28659

Wilkes Recovery Resolution
PO Box 893, North Wilkesboro NC 28659

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