Laura Blanche Howard Jolliff, 98, of Ocracoke died Thursday, April 26, in the Spring arbor assisted living facility in Kill Devil Hills.

Known as Blanche, she was born Dec. 8, 1919, on Ocracoke to the late Elizabeth Ballance Howard and Stacy Howard, and lived her entire life on the island.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday (May 2) in Ocracoke United Methodist Church with Pastor Richard Bryant officiating. Burial will follow at the Howard Family Cemetery.

A lifelong member of Ocracoke United Methodist Church, Blanche worked as a clerk for the United States Postal Service. Kin to many islanders, Blanche was a wealth of information about old-time Ocracoke.

In 2015, the Ocracoke Preservation Society (OPS) presented her its second annual Cultural Heritage Award which recognizes islanders who have made significant contributions to the preservation of Ocracoke Island history, culture, and/or traditions.

The following about Blanche was printed in  the OPS’s newsletter, “The Mullett Wrapper,” January 2016 issue:

“She had a remarkable memory for stories she has heard; down to minute details such as what day of the week the incident occurred or what color shoes someone was wearing,” according to information from the OPS.

“In addition to her vast store of knowledge about Ocracoke history and people, she has a kind generosity and graciousness that endears her to everyone she interacts with….

“Because she has been so interested in Ocracoke history since she was a young girl, she knows not only the stories from her lifetime, but also the stories of her parents and grandparents. And, because of her copious notes to go along with these stories, much of Ocracoke’s cultural life and history has been preserved for future generations….”

Blanche is survived by three nephews, Frankie Garrish, Wilson Garrish, and Perry Wahab; and numerous great and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Along with parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Guthrie Jolliff; sisters, Lela Grafton Howard, Lois Ann Howard Wahab, and Etta Mae Howard Garrish; a brother, Kenneth Lawrence Howard; a niece, Virginia Wahab Daulton; and a nephew, Roy Wahab.

Twiford Funeral Home, Manteo is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed at

Blanche Jolliff Howard, is pictured here with cousin Amy Howard in 2015. Photo by Peter Vankevich
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