Those we loved and lost in 2019

Published 9:31 am Monday, January 6, 2020

(PART 1)

In addition to all the good events in 2019 — births, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and other dates that mark the calendar — there were many that we loved and lost this past year to death. The STAR printed 599 obituaries this year, however, there were others that for some other reason or other, the family chose not to print an obituary.

As we look back over the list of obituaries this past year, some of those who passed were prominent in the community and more well-known than others, but all held a special place in someone’s heart and home. They all left a mark on someone’s life.

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Among those who passed the last six months of 2019 were (deaths recorded the first six months of the year will be reported next Sunday):


• WILLARD COY BOWERS, 81, died Dec.

29. A well-known musician, Bowers was a member of Southern Harmony and Headed Home Gospel Quartets. He played the dobro and friends and family knew him for his love of applebutter and honey. He will be especially missed by his many friends at The Barn, Sonny Fletcher’s Store, and Burger Hut.

• TJ LITTLE, JR., 67, died Dec. 28. An Elizabethton attorney, he had served as municipal judge for the City of Elizabethton since 2007.

• WILLIAM CHARLES “DUDE” LAPORTE died Dec. 23 just shy of his 90th birthday. He served in the National Guard U.S. Infantry as a Corporal from 1950-1952 and fought in the Korean Conflict. Dude started LaPorte Construction and became a well-known residential and commercial contractor. He was known not only as a jokester, but also for his love and generosity for Carter County. He generously donated his time and money for many years for Habitat for Humanity.

• HAROLD HUBBARD, 94, died Dec. 24. Hubbard was a U.S. Army veteran, serving during WWII in Northern Italy. He earned the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart. He was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, assuming many leadership roles. He proudly served in the military honor guard and performed hundreds of military funerals.

• BILLY JOE CLARK, 85, died Dec. 22. A U.S. Army veteran, he spent his life working in and eventually owning and operating Clark Lumber Co. He was a 50-year member of the Watauga Masonic Lodge 622 and past Master. Bill was also very active in youth sports in the Happy Valley community and was known as a proud New York Yankees fan.

• DANNY LYNN TAYLOR, 86, died Dec.

17. She was the first woman police officer in Elizabethton, and was known by many as the “meter maid.” She was also the first woman D.A.R.E. officer in Carter County. She worked 26 years for the Elizabethton Police Dept.


• JASPER WILLIAMS, 91, died Nov. 25. Jasper was both a United States Navy veteran, where he had served in World War II, and a United States Air Force veteran, where he retired as a Technical Sergeant E-6. After retiring from the military he was employed for 19 years as the Elizabethton Finance Director.

• DAVID FRANKLIN RYAN, 69, died Nov.

21. A graduate of Elizabethton High School, he was retired from Mountain Home, VA, where he served as a police officer. He had also served with the Carter County Sheriff’s Dept., and as a SRO at Happy Valley High School.

• TERRY “RONNY” DUGGER, 80, died Nov. 18. Terry was a 25-year employee of the Elizabethton Fire Dept.

• LLOYD JOE FAIR, 78, died Nov. 16. Joe was a USAF veteran, a member of the Elizabethton High School Sports Hall of Fame, and enjoyed old western movies, of which he had a bunch and enjoyed showing. Joe was a 1959 graduate of EHS, where he was a kicker on the football team and a catcher on the baseball team.

• MYRTLE ALICE ESTEP, 92, died Nov.

14. A Stoney Creek resident, Mrs. Estep was a former employee of American Bemberg Corp. As time passes, fewer and fewer people are left who worked at Bemberg, one of two rayon mills in Elizabethton.

• LANE EVAN HELBERT, 20, died Nov. 14 died while working at Walmart. His life motto was Sic-Parvis-Magna, which means “greatness from small beginnings.” His death is a reminder that the young die as well as the aged.

• CLEO FRANCES REED, 86, died Nov.

13. She had worked 66 years at WBEJ Radio, where she served as manager.

• WESTON SCOTT COSEY, 6, died Nov. 10, as the result of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. He was a first grader at Valley Forge Elementary School, where he played basketball. He enjoyed motocross racing and his Mohawk haircut.

• NANCY LOU JONES died Nov. 8. She worked 34 years for United Telephone Co. in Elizabethton.

• MARGARET LOUISE PUCKETT, 90, died Nov. 3. She was lunchroom manager at Hunter Elementary School for 34 years.


• J.N. BUCKLES, 94, died Oct. 24. He served 33 years with the Tennessee State Police, and was a WWII veteran, having served with the U.S. Marines.

• ROBERT ALLEN CARRIGER, 61, died Oct. 24. He retired from the City of Elizabethton and was a member of the Carter County Honor Guard.


21. He was a member of the Carter County Rescue Squad for over 30 years, serving during the time it was all-volunteer. His wife, Elsie Jean Freeman, 85, died Sept. 12. Jean worked as a nurse for nearly 40 years.

• FREDDIE RAY TURNER, 75, died Oct.

20. A U.S. Army veteran, he worked at the Carter County Animal Shelter for 38 years. He was fondly known as the “dog catcher.”

• JERRY BOWERS, 77, died Oct. 20. He was a member of the Carter County Equalization Board. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he formerly was a basketball official, and was co-owner of Bowers Auto Sales.

• BARBARA ROSE BRISTOL HAMPTON, 83, died Oct. 13. In her earlier years she served as Secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and following that, she served in the US Embassy in London for two years and also NATO in Paris for three years. Returning to Elizabethton she received her Master’s Degree in Education in 1963. She taught Reading in Atlanta and Bristol. Her husband, David. H. Hampton, 83, died Aug.

21. He was a retired Naval Flight Officer and land surveyor and real estate developer.

• RONALD EUGENE TRIVETTE, 75, died Oct. 11. He was a Carter County Commissioner for 20 years.

• FLOYD HERSHEL BUCHANAN, 91, died Oct. 9. He was manager of Parks-Belk for 46 years.

• MARY JENNINGS FORD, 83, died Oct. 7. She was a former teacher in the Elizabethton City School System.


• RAYMOND CALHOUN, 93, died. Sept. 8. Raymond was a proud World War II veteran who served in the United States Navy. He served in both the European and Pacific Theaters on the USS Chinaberry, a net tender ship.

• JOANN “PNUT” PERKINS, 83, died Sept.

2. She was the widow of Jack Perkins, former Carter County Road Supt. She had worked at Citizens Bank, Carter County Bank, and Watauga Valley Bank.

• JOYCE STREET SENESI, 83, died Sept.

27. She and her husband, Dino Senesi, owned and operated Dino’s Restaurant in Elizabethton for many years.

• BETTY JO BAKER, 92, died Sept. 22. At the time of her death she was longest-tenured member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Club. She formerly worked at American Bemberg.

• FAYE HENSLEY, 95, died Sept. 10. At the time of her death she was the oldest member of Little Doe Free Will Baptist Church. Faye was lovingly known as the “Dumpling Lady” for her wonderful chicken and dumplings.

• WOODY CROWDER, 69, died Sept. 9. He was former owner of Woody’s Barbecue Restaurant in Elizabethton.

• TIFFANY WORTMAN JONES, 43, died Sept. 6, as a the result of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. She was employed as a registered nurse at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.

• BILLIE JEAN TROUTMAN, 81, died Sept.

1. She worked 25 years for Dr. E.T. Pearson.


• ROBERT “BOB” MADGETT, 81 died Aug. 16. He retired as a district engineer with Sprint.

• MILLARD ARTHUR BOWERS, 80, died Aug. 15. He had worked for many years at the Elizabethton Chair Co., another local industry, long gone.

• ALLEN CHESTER CHURCH, 90, died Aug. 14. He was a long-time school bus driver in the Poga, Elk Mills, and Little Milligan community.


• JESSICA KATE “KATIE” BIRCHFIELD GLADSTONE died July 28 in Tamarac, Fla. She was an optometrist and the daughter of Joyce Birchfield, Elizabethton, and the late Jessie Birchfield. Katie was a 1980 graduate of Elizabethton High School. She earned a B.S.

Degree from East Tennessee State University and was a member of the Jazz Singers and Dancers.

• WILMA CROWE, 85, died July 12. A retired school teacher, she was the widow of Dan Crowe of the Horseshoe Community.


1. He formerly pastored 18 years at First Baptist Church, Elizabethton, and after that at Lynnridge Baptist Church. He was a United States Marine veteran.

• RICHARD BRYAN WAGNER, 59, died July 23. He was a football coach with the Elizabethton Cyclones for over 30 years. Rick was the Youth Minister at Lynn Valley Baptist Church, a Pre School Teacher’s Assistant at the Wandell Early Learning Center as well as a bus driver with the Elizabethton School System and the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys & Girls Club.

• TED H. MAXWELL, 86, died July 6. He was employed by the Carter County School System for over 35 years.