obituaries

Hortense Cooper, governor’s wife & congressman’s mother, dies age 98

Hortense Hayes Powell Cooper, widow of Gov. Prentice Cooper and mother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, died Monday night at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville at age 98, according to the congressman’s office.

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Bruce Saltsman, former TDOT commissioner, dies aged 87

John Bruce Saltsman Sr., who served served eight years as Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation, has died of cancer at his home. He was 87.

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Remains of bomber crew member, shot down in WWII, returned to TN

News release from Department of Veterans Services

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant William Turner of Nashville, who was presumably killed on December 13, 1943 along with five other American crew members while serving in World War II.  Turner along with the rest of the “Hell’s Fury” crew were part of an armada of 219 B-26 aircrafts flying form Essex, England to Amsterdam, Holland for a bombing raid.   “Hell’s Fury” was struck by anti-aircraft artillery and crashed near Schiphol near Amsterdam.  The 20-year old aerial engineer was assigned to the 555th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group and was a crew member of “Hell’s Fury” B-26 bomber.  The crash was recorded by the military as Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1413.

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Former UT President Eli Fly dies, age 82

News release from the University of Tennessee

Former University of Tennessee President Emerson “Eli” Fly died Aug. 7 in Knoxville at the age of 82.

“Another UT legend has left us and he will be missed by all,” said UT President Joe DiPietro. “We are thankful for his many years of service and leadership, including serving as president, to his beloved alma mater.”

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Former state Sen. Ray Albright dies, aged 83

Former Republican state Sen. Ray Albright, who spent 26 years as a state legislator working to improve Tennessee’s environment and its education system, died Monday at age 83, reports the Times Free Press.

Albright announced in November he had mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by asbestos. He said he was exposed to the deadly mineral in the 1950s and ’60s when working to support his family at Combustion Engineering. Later he joined Union Planters Bank and rose to vice president before he retired.

He ran for and won a seat in the Tennessee House in 1968 on a promise to battle pollution and bring clean air back to a city dubbed in 1969 as having the dirtiest air in the nation.

Elected to the Senate in 1970, he was proud of sponsoring the bill that made Chattanooga State a technical community college. The first building on the Chattanooga State campus, the administration building, was renamed the Albright Omniplex in his honor.

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Nashville Mayor Barry’s son dies of apparent drug overdose

News release from Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office

Max Barry, son of Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry, died from an apparent overdose in Denver, Colorado on the evening of Saturday, July 29. Mayor Megan Barry and Bruce Barry have released a statement on this tragic news:

“Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear. Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away. We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends.

Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn the loss of our child and begin to understand a world without his laughter and love in our lives.”

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Jake Butcher — onetime banking kingpin, candidate for governor and federal prison inmate — dies aged 81

Jake Butcher, who helped bring the World’s Fair to Knoxville and then went to prison in disgrace after the collapse of the family banking empire he helped build, died Wednesday, reports the News Sentinel. He was 81.

Butcher was the 1978 Democratic nominee for governor, losing to Republican Lamar Alexander, and the leading promoter of the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville – both prior to his downfall.

Butcher and his brother, C.H. Butcher Jr., grew up on a farm in neighboring Union County, the sons of the county’s only banker. Together they built their father’s business into a multi-million-dollar financial network — one that federal authorities later determined to be a shell game.

… The brothers ultimately pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and bank fraud, with each serving a little less than seven years in prison before release on parole.

C.H. Butcher died in 2002 after falling down some stairs at his Georgia home. Jake Butcher had been in failing health prior to his death Wednesday.

Jim Fyke, former state conservation commissioner and Nashville parks director, dies aged 78

James H. “Jim” Fyke, who served as Nashville’s city parks director for 25 years and as commissioner of the state Department of Environment and Conservation under former Gov. Phil Bredesen, has died at age 78 following a long battle with cancer, reports The Tennessean.

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Jim Neeley, union leader and former state labor commissioner, dies aged 76

James G. “Jim” Neeley, a longtime Tennessee union leader who served as commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under former Gov. Phil Bredesen, has died at the age of 76.

Before his appointment as commissioner by Bredesen, Neeley was president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council. The organization’s current president, Billy Dycus, notes he also served as labor commissioner under former Gov. Ray Blanton, in this statement issued Thursday following Neeley’s death late Wednesday evening.

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TN soldier killed in helicopter crash

News release from Department of Veterans Affairs

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of Specialist Jeremy Tomlin of Chapel Hill, Tenn.  The Marshall County U.S. Army soldier was working as a crew chief and training in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed on Monday, April 17, 2017 in Leornardtown, Md.   Tomlin was pronounced dead at the scene and two other crew members were critically injured. Tomlin,22, was assigned to “C” Company, 12th Aviation Battalion out of Fort Belvoir, Va.

”Jeremy was a son, brother and husband who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country,” Haslam said.  “We pause to remember this young Tennessee soldier killed in the line of duty and as a state we offer our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones.”

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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