Tetrick Family Foundation given naming rights to former Franklin Fitness Center

Published 10:50 am Monday, December 18, 2023

By Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
An iconic family business, with a 100-plus year history of serving Carter County families in the loss of loved ones, has made a gift that may help some city and county residents live longer through recreation.

On Thursday night, the City Council quietly passed a resolution accepting a gift of $250,000 from the Tetrick Family Foundation that can be used “to help with the purchase of the Franklin Fitness Center or provide the funding needed for minor facility improvements.” In response, the city is giving the Tetrick family exclusive naming rights.

On Oct. 16, the City of Elizabethton and Mountain States Health Alliance announced that after months of talks they had agreed to terms for the city to purchase the center for $500,000. Acquiring the facility and transforming it and surrounding property into a community recreation center was the No. 2 priority for the Parks and Recreation Department.

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“Upon learning of the current financial needs to assist with this purchase, and or make improvements to the facility, the City of Elizabethton was contacted by the Richard and Norma Tetrick family who expressed their willingness to help and support this significant recreational opportunity for our citizens,” according to a summary provided to council members by Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains. “After discussions between City Officials and the Tetrick Family, Richard Tetrick has offered a financial donation of $250,000 to the City of Elizabethton that could be used to help with the purchase of the Franklin Fitness Center or provide the funding needed for minor facility improvements. Therefore, in return for this wonderful donation, the City of Elizabethton would provide exclusive naming rights of this new Community Center to the Tetrick Family as a recognition of their gracious gift.”

Tetrick Funeral Home traces its history to Williams Furniture Co., which in 1922 began selling “coffins to and providing undertaking services to the public,” according to the funeral home’s website. That company changed its name to Williams Furniture and Undertaking Co. and in 1925 an employee, B.P. Curtis, left to start Curtis Funeral Home at Main Street and East Elk Avenue. In 1932, Curtis sold the business to H.S. North, who in 1943 sold the funeral home to Don W. Tetrick.

A Kansas City, Mo. native, Tetrick came to Elizabethton from Joplin, Mo., and was later joined in the business by his father, Glen W. “Pappy” Tetrick. It was a father-and-son partnership until his father retired in 1959.

In 1968, Tetrick’s son, Richard, graduated from the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science and joined the business, assuming full ownership after his father retired in 1981.

An active church and community member, Don Tetrick died Aug. 26, 2012, at the age of 96.