Billy Gerald Tolley

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Billy Gerald Tolley, 85, of Johnson City, passed and joined his wife, Betty, at the James Quillen VA Medical Center on March 26, 2023.

He was the son of Mary Cornett Tolley and the late Zeke Tolley Sr. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Betty Birchfield Tolley, and his brothers, Jimmy Tolley and Douglas Tolley.

He is survived by his mother, Mary Cornett Tolley; his children, Toria Tolley, Tina (Tom) McConnell, Billy Tolley II (Nancy), and Bobby (Heather) Tolley; his grandchildren, whom he adored, Taylor (Rachel) Tolley, KaTana Tolley (Eric) and Aaron Coleman (Becca). He is also survived by his great-grandsons, Bentley, Brysen, Shawn, Abram and arriving this fall, his first great-granddaughter. He is also survived by his brothers, Dean (Louise) Tolley and Zeke (Charlene) Tolley Jr. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

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Chief Tolley grew up in Carter County, Tennessee and attended the University of Maryland. He joined the U.S. Navy as a young man. He spent his career traveling the world on nuclear submarines and naval ships. He and his family were stationed all along the east and west coasts. His children love and appreciate the life that his service provided them.

Upon his retirement from the Navy, Bill returned home to East Tennessee. He joined the United Inter Mountain Telephone Company managing their facilities throughout the southeast. This sent him into the paths of many storms and hurricanes to mitigate the damage.

Prior to his illness, he was an active member and deacon of Mountainview Baptist Church. He enjoyed the fellowship with his church family and volunteering with them to go wherever help was needed.

Dad kept in very, very close contact with his family; we will miss the daily phone calls, Facetime, fishing, and all his advice and guidance. We will also miss trips to “Tolleyworld,” also known as Dollywood, and vacations to Disneyworld. Everyone will miss his quirky sense of humor and his sense of fun.

Graveside services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday, April 3, at Mountain Home National Cemetery with Rev. Rick Murray officiating. Military Honors will be given by Veterans Honor Guard DAV39 Bluff City, Tenn. Family and friends are asked to be at the cemetery at 10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Condolences may be sent to our website:

His family would like to thank all the healthcare providers in the Tri-City area who cared for dad over the past three years during his illness. We also want to thank everyone at the James Quillen VA Medical Center for the excellent care they provided for dad and our family during his illness but especially in his final days.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Billy Gerald Tolley’s memory to the Washington County, Johnson City Animal Shelter or to Mountainview Baptist Church.
“Love you, Bye”
Memorial Funeral Chapel is serving the Tolley Family.