Published 9:19 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Ernest Whitehead, 97, of Elizabethton, passed away on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at Ivy Hall Nursing Home following an extended illness.
Ernest was born on August 9, 1917, in the Dennis Cove Community of Carter County, the oldest of nine children and a son of the late John and Bessie Townsend Whitehead. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Carrie Banner Whitehead, in 2008, after 71 years of marriage; a sister, Christine Rainbolt; and four brothers, Bynum, Steward, Mack and Samuel Whitehead.
Mr. Whitehead was a member of the Stoney Creek Church of Christ and a United States Army Veteran, serving in Patton’s 3rd Army in World War II. He was retired from the United States Forest Service, where he manned fire towers and visited area schools as Smokey the Bear.
Survivors include two daughters, Betty Justice and her husband, Harold, Johnson City, and Linda Vanzant and her husband, Garry, Gate City, Va.; two sons, Larry Whitehead, of the home, and Jerry Whitehead and his wife, Carolyn, Johnson City; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Cordia Jones and Ellen Stout and her husband, Herman, Hampton; one brother, Lee Whitehead and his wife, Peggy, Elizabethton; one brother-in-law, Robert “Tub” Rainbolt, Hampton; one sister-in-law, Sue Whitehead; and many nieces and nephews.
A service to honor the life of Mr. Whitehead will be conducted at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 23, in the Riverside Chapel of Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, with Mr. Wesley Simons and Mr. Eddy Craft, ministers, officiating. The family will receive friends in the funeral home chapel from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, prior to the service, or at the residence of a son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Carolyn, 550 Laurels Road, Johnson City, at anytime. The graveside service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, October 24, at Happy Valley Memorial Park with Mr. David Irick, minister, officiating. Active pallbearers will be selected from family and friends. Those wishing to attend the graveside service are asked to meet at the cemetery at 10:50 a.m. Friday. The family would like to express their appreciation to the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center Hospital, Ivy Hall Nursing Home and to his special caregivers, Betty Ford and Tammy “Runt” Brown. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Tri-Cities School of Preaching and Christian Development, 1162 Highway 91, Elizabethton, TN 37643; or to the Tennessee Children’s Home, 804 Branann Hughes Circle, Spring Hill, TN 37174, in memory of Mr. Whitehead. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tetrickfuneralhome.com and signing the guest book.
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, is serving the Whitehead family. Office: (423) 542-2232. Obituary Line: (423) 543-4917.