Alma “Tops” Kehrli

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Alma “Tops” Kehrli, 90, passed away peacefully on Monday, November 6, 2017, at Johnson City Medical Center surrounded by her loving family.
Tops was the widow of T/Sgt Herbert Kehrli and the eldest daughter of the late Robert “Bo” and Tilda Grindstaff. She was also preceded in death by brothers, Eldon and Lloyd Grindstaff, and sisters, Clara (infant), Lela Pearl Southerland, Bertie Ruth Milhorn and Mary “Monk” Lewis; brothers-in-law, Lee Southerland and Norman Kehrli; and sister-in-law, Phyllis Grindstaff.
Tops is survived by three daughters, Alice Marie Pendergast (Mike), of Cullowhee, N.C., Ann Taylor (Javy), of Elizabethton, and Debbie Bishop, of Johnson City; and six grandchildren, Aaron Pendergast (Teresa), Brandon Pendergast (Stephanie), Julie Phillips (Adam), Courtney Taylor, Jaclyn Wilson (Chris) and Tara Collins (Davey). Her great-grandchildren include Lauren Pendergast, Kelly Pendergast, TJ Rose, Caleb Phillips, Evan Phillips, Kimberly Proffitt, Mason Wilson and Aubrey Collins. She also has a great-great-grandchild, Bentley Rose. Surviving sisters and brothers include Lois Carver (Roger), Virginia Grindstaff, Owen Grindstaff (Dee) and Marvin Grindstaff. Also surviving are sister-in-law, Lolita Kehrli, and brothers-in-law, John Lewis and Bill Milhorn, as well as son-in-law, Denny Bishop. Nieces and nephews include Joyce Salyer (Roy), Lisa Pierce (Phil), Michael Southerland (Joan) and Karen Southerland (Brian).
Tops remained the widow of T/Sgt Herbert Kehrli, killed in action in Viet Nam in 1968, until the time of her passing. She dedicated her time to raising her three daughters. She was blessed with the gift of hospitality and loved nothing more than having a house full of family and friends to cook for. She was a lifelong member of Dungan Chapel Baptist Church. Tops loved her church family and her “pew-buddy,” Billy Bob Garrison.
Funeral services for Alma “Tops” Kehrli will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 11, in the Chapel of Peace at Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton. Services will be officiated by Rev. Eric Heaton. Music will be provided by Dale Williams, soloist, and Joyce Salyer. The family will receive friends in the funeral home chapel from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, prior to the service, or any time at her daughter, Ann’s, home. Interment will immediately follow the service at Ensor Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Aaron Pendergast, Brandon Pendergast, Chris Wilson, Adam Phillips, Davey Collins, Nicholas Lyons, Travis Williams and Michael Southerland. Her daughters would like to express a special thank you to Dr. Kenny Hopland for his special care of and attention to “Ms. Alma.” Online condolences may be shared with the family at
Mrs. Kehrli and her family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton. Office: (423) 542-2232. Obituary Line: (423) 543-4917.

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