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ASHEBORO — Jewel Dutton Applewhite passed away peacefully on Aug. 27, 2023, at her home in Asheboro, NC. She was 90 years old.

Jewel was born on Aug. 1, 1933, in Ash, NC, and was the daughter of the late John George Dutton and Mary Marlowe Dutton of Rocky Mount, NC. 

She had four siblings who predeceased her, including Inez Ward of Rocky Mount, Deward Dutton of Garner, Milton Dutton of Rocky Mount and Kenneth Dutton of Burlington.

Jewel graduated from Benvenue High School, Rocky Mount, NC. For many years, she played the piano and sang with her family’s Southern Gospel group, The Dutton Quartet. In 1954, she married Bill Applewhite. While Bill served in Korea, Jewel worked as a telephone operator for Southern Bell. When Bill returned from service, they began their family, and Jewel became a full-time homemaker and mother — roles she cherished and excelled in for the rest of her life. 

Throughout her life, Jewel placed Christian service at the center of everything she did. She and Bill were instrumental in helping plant Southern Baptist mission churches while they lived in Illinois during the 1960s. She was actively involved in church ministry throughout the years, serving as church pianist, serving on various committees, and teaching Sunday School to both youth and adults. In 1978, she and Bill, together with three other couples, founded Cross Road Baptist Church in Asheboro.

Jewel volunteered in schools and worked with the Suicide Prevention Hotline. In recent years, she was involved with ESL ministry.

Jewel will be remembered as a bright, quick-witted, caring, gifted woman of faith and hospitality. She was a great conversationalist and listener. She was an amazing southern cook, and often expressed her love for others through spending endless hours in the kitchen. She inspired a love of music that has been passed down to her children and grandchildren.

Jewel is survived by her husband of 69 years, William James Applewhite; her three daughters, Sharon Wiley (Dan), Donna Purkerson (Terry) and Marlo Norris (Gary); her grandchildren, Nicholas Wiley (Taylor), Stephen Wiley (Gracie), Kate Steele (Billy), Caroline Youngdale (Carl), Lauren Beck, Ben Peddycord (Desiree), Brad Francis (Caroline) and Mary Francis; and her great-grandchildren, Daniel Wiley, Jack Steele, Henry Steele, Georgie Youngdale, Teddy Youngdale and James Peddycord. Jewel also leaves behind many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends whom she loved dearly.

The family wishes to thank her caregiver and friend Jackie Michaelangelo, Dr. Christine McCarty and the staff of the Cancer Center of Asheboro, and Meagan, Lanette, Paige and Hospice of the Piedmont for their compassionate and excellent care of Jewel. Our gratitude to all of you is beyond words.

Visitation will be held from 12:15-1:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, at Balfour Baptist Church, 1642 N. Fayetteville St., Asheboro, NC. The service will follow at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Ricky Brown officiating. Burial will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery, Asheboro.