Obituaries tell the stories of local men and women who died in 2015

Published 9:05 am Monday, January 4, 2016

Notable Obits
Conley Jones upon his retirement in March of this year as long-time chief of the West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department said, “Leading the fire department was what the Lord wanted me to do.”
Jones served as chief of the fire department for 44 years and retired on the eve of his 83rd birthday. He died the first week of May.
He was among the many notable Carter County figures who passed away in 2015, men and women whose impact upon the community was far-reaching. Their works, feats, and influence spanned from politics to business, sports, education, and the media. Their legacies merit a final salute.
As we looked back through the long list of obituaries printed in the STAR, many stood out. Among them were:
• Jerry Adams, who served on City Council for one term. He loved to talk politics, read the newspaper. His obit noted he “loved to go to Pal’s, eat in the car, and watch the sun set.”
• Larry Alderson, who served 36 years as an educator and coach at Elizabethton High School. He loved EHS athletics. Alderson was also a Vietnam veteran, serving in the United States Air Force.
• Harvey Anderson, a Marine who served in the Korean Conflict. He served on both the Elizabethton City Council and Elizabethton School Board. While a member of the council, he was instrumental in securing the downtown Christmas lights.
• Connie Baker served two terms on the Elizabethton School Board. Known for her style, especially the hats she wore, Ms. Baker was a retired educator. She established the Community Information Center, which was instrumental in providing free tax services, business start-up and after-school programs for the Douglas community.
• Marylyn M. Birchfiel, who died at 90 years of age, was retired from Citizens Bank. Her husband’s family was associated with the Birchfiel-Brooks Men’s Store of years past in downtown Elizabethton.
• Jesse J. Birchfield, a former teacher and coach at Unaka High School and Korean War veteran. However, Birchfield was best known as a football player, having played at both Elizabethton High and Duke University. He also played pro football and was a football official with the Southern Conference.
• Jay N. Bowers, not an elected official or a CEO, but simply a farmer, who raised nine children and enjoyed woodworking. Many were the recipients of his hand-made wooden tulips and angels. He was retired from the East Tennessee Chair Co. (There are few left who worked at the chair company.)
• Elmer Bowling, who worked at the Elizabethton Star for 57 years, serving as production manager, general manager, and vice president. He was best known as Publisher Frank Robinson’s “right-hand man.” He had been very active in the Little League and Junior Babe League baseball programs in the county. Bowling was the last of eight siblings to die.
• Horace “Hoss” Broome Jr., age 92, founded Broome Real Estate in 1959, which is the longest, active Real Estate firm in Elizabethton. He was the first President of the Elizabethton Board of Realtors and was the managing broker for FHA in East Tennessee for 25 years. He was instrumental in the zoning for the City of Elizabethton during the years of 1969-1970. He designed and held the patent on the 10-E-C Tag Logo. He was a United States Navy veteran, having served in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. He loved gardening, was an avid fisherman, hunter and was affectionately known as the “Catfish Man of Watauga Lake.” Hoss set a fashion trend with his bibbed overalls.
• Robert “Bob” Burleson, a fixture in the Roan Mountain community. Burleson served in the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate from 1972-86. He was former operator of Bob’s Dairyland in Roan Mountain and O’Delly’s Restaurant in Valley Forge.
• Eunice P. Carr, 94. Her obituary noted she retired from Parks-Belk, was a substitute teacher, and former PTA president. She enjoyed cooking, quilting, sewing, gardening, and crocheting.
• Kay Church, known by Hampton Elementary students as simply “Miss Kay.” She had served a number of years as the school’s cafeteria manager, and just prior to her death the kitchen was re-named “Miss Kay’s Kitchen” in her honor. Miss Kay was able to attend the ceremony unveiling the new name but was admitted to the hospital just shortly after.
• Jane A. Crow, retired cashier with the City of Elizabethton and a fixture at Elizabethton Twins games. She had been active in the local Elizabethton Twins organization since its beginning in 1974. She worked the ticket booth and assisted with player housing.
• Goldean Deal, who at 94 was one of First United Methodist Church’s oldest members. She had been a member of the church for 70 years. She was also Elizabethton High’s first majorette, marching all four years while in high school and two years after graduating.
• Lindberg Estep, owner and operator of Estep Coal Co. Lindberg was known far and wide for his “sage” advice. He loved Elizabethton, his family, and his church.
• John W. Geagley, who jogged thousands of miles through Elizabethton. He was known as the “man who jogged on West G Street.” However, he was much more than a jogger. He was a long-time employee of Summers-Taylor Construction Co., and was a loyal EHS fan, attending almost all home football and basketball games. He also attended most all Elizabethton Twins games, and was active in his church at First United Methodist and the Food for the Multitude program.
• Judy A. Honeycutt, a former teacher, who loved to sing and play the piano. She survived five open heart surgeries and breast cancer. She sang in both the sanctuary and senior choirs at First Baptist Church.
• Anna E. Lacy, who died a few weeks shy of her 97th birthday, taught both American History and English at Elizabethton High School. She was the first licensed female guidance counselor in Elizabethton and hosted many memorable senior trips to Washington, D.C.
• Jimmy D. Lipford, long-time service station operator in Valley Forge. He and his brother, Howard, built most of the houses in the Crowe Bottom Subdivision at Valley Forge.
• Tennie Mercer, a former greeter at Wal-Mart. She was 86 years old.
• Jack Miller, owner and operator of City Market for 40 plus years. He was a big UT fan and supporter of EHS football.
• Dr. Ben A Morrell Sr., who spent the past several years of his life in nursing homes, was employed as a pharmacist at the old Allen Taylor Pharmacy and later at the James H. Quillen VA Center. Despite having polio when he was young, Dr. Ben graduated from Pharmacy school. His obituary described him as a “faithful follower of Christ.”
• Jack R. Perkins served 20 years as Superintendent of Roads for Carter County, and prior to that worked 30 years for Summers-Taylor Construction Co. He was an avid sportsman and a veteran of the Korean Conflict.
• Dr. E.E. Perry, local physician, who was a veteran of the Korean conflict, licensed pilot, flight instructor and medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration. He was holder of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Upon his death, Dr. Perry left. $2.5 million to be established as part of a trust to help local high school graduates in their quest to continue their education and obtain a college degree.
• Edna V. Potter, former educator, who taught school for 42 years. She was selected as Tennessee’ first Conservation Educator of the Year in 1976. She worked in pageants for 50 years, first the Miss Rhododendron Pageant and later, the Miss Watauga Valley Pageant.
• Bruce Radford, who operated his own construction company, had a pilot’s license, and love to fly. He also enjoyed antique cars and small engines.
• Richard D. Sammons, local CPA and businessman, who served on the Elizabethton City Council for 12 years. His first job was at his father’s news stand and hotdog stand downtown. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, enjoyed teaching Sunday School and mentoring young people. His favorite saying was “God is in control and you just can’t beat it.”
• Robert “Bob” Schaff, Mapes Piano Strings Executive and active member of First United Methodist Church.
• John Stanton, owner of Stanton’s Janitorial Supply for 33 years and former owner of John’s Record Center. He played baseball at Milligan College and was a fan of UT baseball.
• Duncan L. Street, President of Carter County Bank, who died at the age of 52. Duncan was well-loved by bank employees and customers and was a big UT fan. In fact, he was on his way home from a UT football game early this fall when he suffered a fatal heart attack. His parking space in the bank’s parking lot is famously marked with four stepping stones.
• Elizabeth D. Stover, a veteran of the Vietnam War. She also was stationed in Korea.
• Michael Trivette, a Poga resident, who family said “never knew a stranger and was a friend to everyone he met.” That says a lot about the man, who loved to fish and enjoyed old cars.
• Guy N. Troutman, a U.S. Army veteran, who taught Sunday School for many years and served on many pulpit committees at Rittertown Baptist Church.
• Thomas M. Tyree, a retired cross country truck driver, who served with the Marines during the Vietnam War. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.
• Hobert Ward, a World War II veteran and retired mechanic. He enjoyed gardening and making jams and jellies the “old-timey way,” which he loved sharing with friends.
• William “Bill” Wilkins, well-known sports figure and personality, who came to Elizabethton as a professional baseball player with the Chicago Cubs in the late 1940s. He was also a teacher and coach and enjoyed golfing.
• Don Wilson, founder and CEO of Johnson City Iron and Metal and Elizabethton Herb and Metal. He was a Korean War veteran, a 50-year member of the Dashiell Masonic Lodge, a Gideon, Rotarian, and long-time Sunday School teacher.
• Grayson Winters, a retired employee of the Elizabethton Police Dept., and former director of the First Judicial Drug Task Force.
Our community is a better place because of these men and women and that they lived and served with us and among us.

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