L.B. Johnson, 79, passed away peacefully dressed in orange and surrounded by his family on May 23, 2020.
His name was truly just initials, despite the variations he told thousands over the years.
Known as B and Jo since they had grandchildren, he and Jo Kathryn were married for 57 years. Her love and smarts were all he ever needed or wanted.
L.B. worked at Twin Lakes Telephone Co. in his younger days. He and his fearless friends worked for the City of Cookeville Electric Department in his early career also. He helped bring in and became the owner of the Baxter Bee Hive restaurant in the 70s, giving families a great place to eat and socialize.
He changed to a new career in the insurance industry, which included working with Jack Meadows in Gainesboro. In 1975, he opened L.B. Johnson Insurance in Baxter. Later the agency moved to Cookeville, and in total, his insurance career spanned 40 years.
Born and raised in Liberty, Tennessee, he gained legendary status as an athlete in Jackson County. His football and basketball exploits remain vivid to those who played and watched him.
L.B. refereed high school basketball for several years across the Upper Cumberland. He made friends and foes in gyms along the way, but all agreed he was fair and fun.
He made hundreds of children better ballplayers, or at least happier ballplayers, by coaching Jr. Pro basketball, Little League baseball, and girls’ youth softball in Baxter and Cookeville. Every girl or boy who ever played for him was an honorary daughter or son, with access to his help and heart.
He worked hard, played hard and loved well. He played competitive 3-on-3 basketball tournaments until age 60.
He sat with the sick and grieving when they needed to talk. He rushed to the side of his family and friends when they needed brute force to get a job done. He taught Sunday School at Baxter Church of Christ for teenagers, toddlers and elementary school kids. He drove the Willow Avenue Church of Christ bus for years, making passengers feel special and loved. He gave freely of himself to serve God and others.
He and Jo moved to Cookeville three years ago, but they were proud former residents of Friendly Road in Baxter where they lived for more than 40 years and celebrated July 4th with style.
L.B. taught us the best way to love and leave: happy. His office sign said it all. God. Family. Big Orange. Coach Phillip Fulmer called L.B. late in his personal fourth quarter to get advice and thank him for his loyalty to the Big Orange.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Kathryn; three children and their spouses, Karen Lykins and husband, Dave, John (Jack) Johnson and wife, Leanne, Jim Johnson and wife, Kristie; and four grandchildren, Isabella, Alana, Olivia, and Drake, who owned his heart. He is also survived by a sister, Elizabeth Philpot. He was faithful and loving to them all.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Betsy Maberry Johnson and father, William Bice Johnson; two brothers, J.W. and Rowis Johnson; and three sisters, Margaret Vaughn, Lucille Duke and Marie Shouse.
The family sends great love and appreciation to Morgan, the owners, the staff and all his friends at The Gables; to our Willow Avenue family who poured out their love; and to the Caris nurses and aides who made one amazing Rocky Top celebration possible.
A private family graveside service will be held. Family and friends will be invited to a kickoff party at a later time to tell stories and laugh.
Anderson-Upper Cumberland Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Kevin Dale Boles
Kevin Dale Boles, 49, of Gainesboro, passed away May 19 at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. The family has chosen cremation, with no services at this time.
He was born June 20, 1970 in Jackson County. He was an automotive mechanic by trade.
He was preceded in death by father, Leslie Earl Boles.
Surviving relatives include son, Shaun Dale Boles of Gainesboro; daughter, Shelby Rose Boles of Macon County and mother, Judy Heady of Gainesboro.
Anderson-Upper Cumberland Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Randall Howard Way
Randall Howard Way, 60 of Gainesboro, passed away May 15 at his residence. Funeral services were held May 18 in the Chapel of Anderson-Upper Cumberland Funeral Home with Bro. Lakeland Barham and Bro. Sam Mainord officiating. Interment followed in the Pharris Cemetery in the McCoinsville community.
He was a diesel mechanic with Walker Diesel, a member of Tannehill Masonic Lodge #133 in Gainesboro and a member of Dudney Hill Church of Christ.
He was preceded in death by parents, Elijah Howard Way and Elizabeth Joyce Roberts Way.
Surviving relatives include: wife, Lisa Ragland Way of Gainesboro; sons, Shawn (Lindsey) Howard Way and Cody (Brooklyn) William Way, both of Gainesboro; sister, Sandy Keith of Gainesboro; brother, Danny Way of Rickman; granddaughter, Blakely Cole Way and grandson, Jax William Way.
Bobbie Jean Smith Blunkall
Mrs. Bobbie Jean Smith Blunkall, a longtime resident of Old Hickory, died at 11:50 a.m. Thursday morning May 21, 2020 at the Mabry Health Care Center in Gainesboro where she had made her home since March 5 of this year. Mrs. Blunkall was 88.
Private graveside services were conducted Friday afternoon May 22 at the Patrick Henry Smith Family Cemetery in the Smith Bend Community of Jackson County. Bro. Jeff Burton officiated at the 1 p.m. services and burial followed beside her husband.
Born Margie Jean Smith on the family farm in the Smith Bend Community, she was the only child of the late Bobby Archie Smith who died March 8, 1988 at the age of 82 and Lillie Mai Hastings Smith who died December 9, 1990 at the age of 80.
Mrs. Blunkall was preceded in death by her husband, Nashville native Thomas Eudaly “Tommy” Blunkall who preceded her in death on July 6, 2011 at the age of 80 following over thirty two years of marriage. The Blunkalls were united in marriage on January 13, 1979.
Mrs. Blunkall was a 1949 graduate of the Jackson County Central High School.
In 1990 she retired from the State of Tennessee following a twenty-five year career as a counselor at the Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Donelson.
Mrs. Blunkall was a member of the Smith Memorial United Methodist Church in the Smith Bend Community.
She is survived by her son, Tom Neil Forkum and wife, Ellen of the Smith Bend Community.
The Blunkall has requested memorials to the Patrick Henry Smith Family Cemetery Mowing Fund.
Sanderson of Kempville was in charge of the arrangements.
Elizabeth Marie Brawley
Elizabeth Marie Brawley, 3, of Nashville, passed away May 24 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Funeral services were held May 31 at Anderson-Upper Cumberland Funeral Home. Interment will followed in the John L. Clark Memorial Cemetery in the Stone community.
She was born Dec. 2, 2016 in Nashville.
Surviving relatives include: father, Robert Paul Brawley of Nashville; mother, Sarah Rae Scott of Gainesboro; godparents, Janice and Carl O’Neal; sister, Michellana Amos; paternal grandparents, George Roy Winters, Sr. and Linda Winters of Nashville; maternal grandparents, John Scott of Gainesboro and Bonnie Scott of Sparta; uncle, John Scott, Jr. of Gainesboro; aunt, Rachael Lawson of Cookeville; and other cousins, relatives and friends.