Bobby Wayne Autry, 77, of Nebo, N.C., joined his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.
His last hours were spent at Memorial Campus of Mission Hospital in Asheville with his family by his side. The son of the late Thurston and Claridell Autry, he was born in Dunn, North Carolina on September 19, 1943.
His childhood years were spent in Florence, S.C., where he spent most of his time on a baseball field. After graduating from McClenaghan High school, he obtained his bachelor's degree in Education at Methodist College. There he found his passion for teaching and met the love of his life, Donna. Together they committed their lives to education and to each other. Later, he completed his Master’s degree in Special Education at Towson State College in Maryland.
Coach Autry, as he was known in all the High Country, roamed the sidelines and hallways at Avery County High School from 1971-1994. He coached both varsity men’s and women’s basketball at Avery High School. He amassed over 350 total wins in just 20 seasons, including 69 straight conference wins as the women’s coach. He was named coach of the year among his peers 10 times. He retired from Avery as the winningest Girls and Boys basketball coach in 1994. Twenty-six years later he still holds the most combined program wins. During his tenure at Avery, Autry also coached baseball, men’s golf, as well as football. Not only did Coach Autry establish relationships with student-athletes, but also with those that were on the sidelines coaching with him. Loyalty and friendships were paramount to Wayne, and that’s why he loved his coaching friends and visited with them even in his final days. He touched the lives of many in his unique way through coaching and in the classroom. He taught English Literature as well as Yearbook. Making a difference in the lives of young people was extremely important to him, and he cherished the memories and relationships he was able to form.
Coach Autry’s proudest accomplishments though came later in life as he grew his relationship with the Lord, delivered meals on wheels, and helped those in need. He remained in close contact with many in Avery County and cherished his new friendships with those from Nebo United Methodist and The Arbor in Marion. He continued his passion for playing golf, where he made countless friends. He enjoyed traveling and spending time on the lake. Most of all he enjoyed being an amazing role model, father, grandfather, and husband.
Wayne is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Donna Aldridge Autry; two sons, John Troy Autry and Jeremy Wayne Autry; and two grandchildren, Bailey Autry and Jessi Autry.
A celebration of Wayne’s life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be considered for the Wayne Autry C.O.A.C.H Scholarship. This scholarship, made in Coach Autry’s honor, is to support a senior female athlete each year that embodies outstanding qualities from his beloved Avery High School.
Donations should be directed to: Viking Classic, Memo Line: Wayne Autry C.O.A.C.H Scholarship, 401 High School Road, Newland, NC 28657.
Beam Funeral Service & Crematory is assisting the Autry family. For further information and/or to sign the online guestbook, please visit our website, beamfuneralservice.com, or by calling (828) 559-8111.