Royce Edward Lance of Leicester, NC, passed away peacefully at the CarePartners Hospice Solace Center on Sept. 19, 2022. He was 82 years old.
A career lineman for Southern Bell and Bell South, Royce started at the company as a janitor, a move that eventually allowed him to fully retire at age 50, and to happily spend the next 12 years with his beloved wife, Mary, who passed away in 2003. Royce was never the same after her passing.
He was a lifelong lover of history, politics and the American West - interests still shared by his and Mary’s two children - that culminated in many cross-country car trips to see and share with his family the wonders of this country.
A 1957 graduate of Lee Edwards High School, Royce was an increasing rarity in Western North Carolina: a seventh-generation native of these mountains. He was the son of Ruth Brown Lance and Gus Edward Lance of West Asheville. He came from a long line of moonshiners and bootleggers, a family tradition on both sides.
Royce loved raising his bison; drinking bad red wine; reading nonfiction; walking the mountain behind his house every morning with his best friend, Hal Glenn; and being the neighborhood raconteur. He held a second degree black belt in taekwondo, a sport he took up in his 50s.
In his later years, Royce made several trips to Africa and South America. He enjoyed both the traveling and the talking about it afterward.
Royce is survived by his two children: Brent Lance (Christine) of Leicester, and Bronwyn Lance (Russell) of Sheridan, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.
The family will have a visitation and receive friends on Thursday Sept. 22 from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. at Asheville Area Alternative Funeral and Cremation Services, 702 Riverside Drive, Asheville.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Royce’s name to the Melanoma Research Foundation or to the Friends of Pompey’s Pillar/Pompey’s Pillar Historical Association. In addition, the family would like to thank the staff of the Solace Center for their kind, compassionate and attentive care.
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