WAYNESVILLE — Karen Epps Winfree, 76, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at her home.

A native of Albemarle, North Carolina, she was a daughter of the late P.V. and Cora Bell Whitley Epps. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by two brothers, Bobby and P.V. Epps Jr.

Karen was a beloved French teacher beginning her career in education at Terrell Wells Middle School and retiring after 15 years at Tuscola High School. Early in life, Karen’s perseverance, work ethic and desire to succeed buoyed her family during life’s toughest moments. She was a shining example of a supportive wife, gracious aunt and loving friend.

Karen is survived by her high school sweetheart and husband of 54 years, Pharmacist James H. Winfree, of Waynesville; two sisters, Shirley Schwartz, of Charlotte and Betty Higgins, and her husband, Fred, of Pinnacle, North Carolina; and several wonderful nieces and nephews.

A time to visit and share memories will take place at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville. A graveside service will take place in Wadesboro, North Carolina at 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, at Eastview Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. prior to the graveside at Leavitt Funeral Home.

Due to COVID-19, masks and social distancing will be observed.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Haywood Hospice and Palliative Care, 43 Bowman Drive, Waynesville, NC 28786.

The care of Mrs. Winfree has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.

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