Recent Asheville obituaries of note: Robert Harrell, Mary Poulos, Cecil Cantrell


Here’s a look at some recent obituaries of note:

Mary Fragakis Poulos, the former owner and operator of the Happy Hill Restaurant on Patton Avenue in West Asheville, died Feb. 28. She was 90.

Poulos was born in Klapsi, Greece. She was the beloved wife of George Poulos and was an active member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and of the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society, as well as theDaughters of Penelope. Her funeral is Monday.

Cecil Cantrell, a Hendersonville businessman who a Shell Oil distributorship, convenience stores and two popular restaurants, died Feb. 21. He was 86.

Cantrell’s Skyland Petroleum Company grew as Interstate 26 was developed. He bought several key properties at interchanges between Asheville and Henderson County, and expanded his business. He built and owned the Ramada Inn of Hendersonville. He opened the well-known Coach Lite restaurant off Long Shoals Road, where his hospitality was legendary. He later opened the Quarter House in Hendersonville with business partner Harley Stepp. He also formed a business partnership with Norman Gordon and built convenience stores known as Norms Minute Mart. He also had an active civic life.


-Robert “Rob” Lewis Harrell Jr., a talented musician, singer and songwriter who played with several bands in the area, died Feb. 12. He was 60.

Harrell was the son of former Buncombe County District Court Judge Robert Harrell Sr., and  he was a named plaintiff in the law suit filed by his father that forced the integration of Asheville City Schools in 1972. Harrell, who played in bands including Day Before Dawn, Rhythm Child and Axiom, also mentored local musicians and started his own production company, Mountain Man Productions.