Emily Hines Harper

02/28/1987 - 10/29/2018


Emily Hines Harper, 31, of Raleigh, N.C., passed away on the evening of October 29, 2018, surrounded by her adoring parents, brother, great friend and beloved dog. Emily was a spunky, sweet, strong and independent spirit. For three and a half years, she battled an osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive tumor, with a stubborn and steadfast determination, maintaining her drive to laugh, eat, socialize, and travel with her family to the end. Perhaps Emily’s greatest joy throughout life came from helping others realize their full potential, even as her cancer kept her from fulfilling her own.

Emily is survived by her parents, Mike and Lynn Harper, of Henderson, N.C.; her brother, Davis H. Harper, of Durham, N.C., and her rescued collie, Reese. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, R.C. and Viola Hines of Bracey, Va., and her paternal grandparents, Hill and Elton Harper, of South Hill, Va.

Emily was born on February 28, 1987, in Henderson. She graduated from Kerr-Vance Academy in 2005 and cum laude from Meredith College in 2009, earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance. At Meredith, she was chairman of the Honor Council. As an alumna, she co-founded Meredith Networking Angels to help students and alumnae make connections in the Triangle. She studied abroad in Italy and England, the highlight of a lifetime spent traveling and enjoying new places. Even in her final months, Emily continued planning and taking trips with family. Still, she always came home to her favorite city, Raleigh.

Emily’s urge to help those in need colored each stage of her career. For nearly seven years, Emily helped people with insurance and offered financial advice. After fighting cancer full time during her first cancer treatments, Emily pursued her passion and earned her esthetician’s license from Miller-Motte College, graduating with distinction in the fall of 2017. Asked why she pursued an entirely new career and even opened her own business, the Pink Pamper Spa, while battling cancer, Emily would say that she wanted to help others feel beautiful even as cancer reduced her self-confidence in her own beauty.

Emily found friends wherever she went, and nowhere was that more true than in Alcoholics Anonymous. For the past five years, during by far the most challenging moments of Emily’s life, she found strength and resilience in sobriety. In friendships with fellow travelers and her sponsors, she found renewed healing; in her mentoring of newcomers, renewed purpose.

The Harper family thanks Emily’s dedicated team of doctors, including Dr. Jean Aycock in Raleigh; Dr. Adam Zanation, Dr. Deanna Sasaki-Adams, Dr. Juneko Grilley-Olson, and Dr. Meredith Kiesler at UNC; and Dr. Richard Riedel at Duke.

Despite cancer taking nearly everything from her in recent years, Emily grew only more generous as her time grew shorter. In that spirit, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to UNC Lineberger, CB #7295, Chapel Hill, N.C., 27599, to support sarcoma research, noting Emily Hines Harper Endowment in the memo line.

Memorial contributions may also be made to the Emily Hines Harper Scholarship at Meredith, which she established to provide need-based assistance to female students of color from Vance County. Checks should be made out to Meredith College and sent to the Emily Hines Harper Scholarship, Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, N.C., 27607, Attn: Billie Jo Cockman.

Contributions are also suggested to Healing Transitions for Women, which provides safe housing for those in need during recovery. Make donations online at or by mail to Healing Transitions Women’s Campus, 3304 Glen Royal Road, Raleigh, N.C., 27617.

The family will receive friends at Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home in South Hill, Va., on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 6 – 8 p.m. A graveside service will be held at the Paschal Bracey Family Cemetery on the farm where Emily was a sixth-generation owner, 3199 Old St. Tammany Road, LaCrosse, Va., on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 2:00 pm, to be followed by a reception at the farmhouse.

An informal Celebration of Emily’s Life will also be held on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 3 – 5:30 pm at Emily’s home in Raleigh, N.C.

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  1. Dear Mike and Lynn, So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. It obviously has been a long, painful journey. Wish we were in town to see you. We join with the others in praying for your peace in the days ahead.

    Sam & Patti

  2. Mike and Lynn,

    Merita and I are so sorry to hear of Emily’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We wish we could attend her services, but we have a previous engagement that we can’t change. Our sincerest condolences…Rich and Merita

  3. Dear Mike, Lynn, and family… I am so very sorry for your loss of Emily!

    Fortunately, death is only a temporary part of life. Jesus promised us a wonderful resurrection of the dead (John 5:28,29/1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14), so we have the hope of being reunited with our deceased loved ones. In the meantime, even though the pain of loss through death may sometimes seem insurmountable, rest assured that God will give you the strength necessary to endure the coming months (Psalm 46:1).

    Please accept my deepest sympathy and sincere condolences…. John

Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home & Crematory

PO Box 422
1504 N. Mecklenburg Ave.
South Hill, VA 23970
Local (434) 447-7171
Fax (434) 447-3212


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