Having lived an abundant life with joyous appreciation, strength of mind, and compassion for all, Elsie Hallyburton Childres, 100, of Hildebran passed away on Saturday, July 6, 2024 at home.  She was surrounded by loved ones.

Elsie was born on March 7, 1924 in Burke County, a daughter of the late William Sidney Hallyburton and Fannie Whisnant Hallyburton.  Mrs. Childres attended Appalachian State Teacher’s College.  She began her career at Drexel Elementary School as a teacher in 1943.  Later, she earned business experience working at Southern Desk in administration.  Elsie was an active member of Penelope Baptist Church in Longview for many years and served as a Sunday School Teacher.  She and her husband, Rondel Childres, established ownership of Arlene Hosiery in Hildebran, NC, where they employed members of the community for more than 40 years.  Mrs. Childres was a charter member of the Hickory Chapter of the American Businesswomen’s Association (ABWA).

In 1985 she was a recipient of the Catawba Valley Woman of the Year sponsored by ABWA.  In 1988 she was selected as Burke County Woman of the Year.  Elsie served on the Western Piedmont College Board of Trustees for 35 years, from 1981 until 2016.  In 1989 she had the distinction of being the only female trustee in the United States to be named State, Regional, and National Trustee of the Year for North Carolina community colleges.  In 1997 Elsie chaired the National Meeting of the Community College Futures Assembly Committee and presided over their annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.  In 1998 the North Carolina Association of Community Colleges (NCACCT) presented Mrs. Childres with the M. Dale Ensign Trustee Leadership Award, of which she was the first trustee in North Carolina to receive the award since its establishment.

In 2016 she was awarded the status of Trustee Emeritus by the Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees.  The Governor of North Carolina presented Elsie with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award on May 16, 2017 at a meeting of the Burke County Commissioners.  In addition, she has served on the Blue Ridge Health Care Foundation Board, the Town of Hildebran Planning/Adjustment Board, the Hildebran Heritage & Development Association Board of Directors, and the East Burke Senior Center Advisory Council.  She also served as the director of the East Burke Senior Center Association.  On her 100th birthday, Mrs. Childres was presented with a Proclamation by Hildebran Mayor Wendell Hildebrand declaring March 7, 2024 Elsie Childres Day.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in passing by her husband of 74 years, Rondel George Childres; and siblings, Virginia Elizabeth Hallyburton, Robert Julius Hallyburton, William Bristol Hallyburton, George H. Hallyburton, Mary Sue Hallyburton Smith, John Camp Hallyburton, Wilma Hallyburton Chamberlin, David Maxwell Hallyburton, Bessie Marie Hallyburton, Richard Rondel Hallyburton, and son-in-law, Bill Robinson

Those left to cherish her memory include her daughter, Karen Robinson of Hildebran; son, Jon Childres (Alicia) of Chapel Hill; son, Jeffrey Childres (Laurie) of Hickory; daughter, Kathy Collins (Terry) of Hickory; grandchildren, Henry Childres (Elyse), Sidney Childres, Rachael Childres, Jacob Childres, Katie Forney, and Lane Collins; greatgrandchildren, Alexis Lawrence, Jayden Burgess, Kyan Forney, and Khorde Forney; brother, Hal Halliburton; family friend, Holly Smith, and many other loving extended family members.

The family would especially like to thank VIA Health Partners, formerly known as Hospice of Cleveland County.  This organization serves Burke County and provides excellent in-home palliative and hospice care.

Memorial contributions may be made to VIA at viagiving.org in memory of Elsie Childres.

The family will hold a Celebration of Life at a later date.

Heritage Funeral Service & Crematory is assisting the family.