Obituaries

Billy Neil Ellis, 82, Chickamauga, Ga.

Billy Neil Ellis died at home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at the age of 82.

A lifelong resident of Chickamauga, Georgia, Billy Neil was an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a selfless advocate for his community, and the beloved patriarch of a family he cherished.

The son of Lillian Crowder and Neil William Ellis, Billy Neil graduated from Chickamauga High School in 1954. After high school, he joined the army in 1955 and was stationed in South Korea. When he returned to the United States in 1957, he met Jean Marie Oliver, also of Chickamauga. They were married on December 19, 1958 in the home of Frank and Bernice Loveless, Billy Neil’s aunt and uncle. Billy Neil and Jean were married just a few weeks shy of 60 years. Together, they raised Gregory Neil Ellis and Sherri Neila Ellis.

Billy Neil served as a member of the Board of Education for Chickamauga City Schools for 37 years. This service, while impressive in its own right, does not begin to scratch the surface of his endless generosity to the last three generations of Gordon Lee Trojans. Billy Neil and Jean never missed a fall Friday night of Gordon Lee Football, cheering from their perch in the top of the stands. Over the course of his life, Billy Neil served in countless leadership positions, both publicly and behind the scenes, never wanting the credit or the acclaim. These included serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church and as a member of the Chickamauga City Council. However, Billy Neil’s most important leadership roles were those of father and grandfather. To the children and grandchildren who adored him, Billy Neil “Poppy” was a rock, unfailingly generous, kind, and loving.

Billy Neil was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren Kristen Spires (Laura) Williams, Dwane Alexander Spires, and Shelby Frances Ellis.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Billy Neil’s honor to the Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church Building Fund or the Gordon Lee High School Athletic Fund.

The family would like to thank Hospice of Chattanooga for their wonderful care and support.

Visitation: Tuesday from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm and Wednesday morning prior to the service.

Funeral services: 11:00 am – Wednesday – November 21, 2018 at Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church with Pastor Zach Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Melody Day.

Burial: Chickamauga Cemetery – Chickamauga, Georgia.

Arrangements by Wilson Funeral Homes – Chickamauga Chapel.

Online register book at www.wilsonfuneralhome.com.

Virginia “Jenny” Duncan Roe

Virginia “Jenny” Duncan Roe passed away November 8, 2018.

She was born November 28, 1929 in Whitesburg, Kentucky to the late Emmett Roe and Mattie Duncan.

She was predeceased in death by her husband of 58 years, Chester (Chet) Roe, Jr.

She is survived by her children; Chester “Rusty” Roe III (Debra) of London, Kentucky, Brenda Roe (Rick Hopkins) of LaFayette, Georgia and Scott (Janice) Roe of Opelika, Alabama. Grandchildren; Megan Roe, Emily (Sean) Schweickhardt , Andrew (Maggie) Roe, Ashley Roe and Great-Grandchildren, Jed, Nora, Beau and Ada.

In 1974, Jenny and her family relocated from Lexington Kentucky to Opelika, Alabama where she served as a volunteer at East Alabama Medical Center for 40 years in many capacities; including President of Auxiliary for Alabama. She wrote for the Alabama Newsletter for many years, was a life member of the Opelika Garden Club and a member of the local bridge club. She was a nature lover and avid bird watcher; she and her husband were instrumental in establishing the Opelika Wood Duck Heritage Preserve, to set aside a green space for future generations to enjoy.

Most of all, Jenny was a devoted Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Friend. She was a remarkable person with a kind spirit and compassion for all. She will be greatly missed by all that knew her, loved her and shared her friendship.

Memorial: Tuesday, November 13th, 2:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 900 Second Avenue, Opelika, Alabama.

In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Opelika Wood Duck Heritage Preserve, c/o Roger Johnson, 2203 Social Circle, Opelika, Alabama 36801.

Terry Lee Sparks, 69, Chickamauga, Ga.

Terry Lee Sparks, age 69, of Chickamauga passed away Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

Born in Walker County he lived most of his life in Summerville, Georgia and graduated from Chattooga High School. A Vietnam War veteran, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy and continued his education graduating from Walker Tech and attended Chattanooga State. In 1972, he moved to Chickamauga where he resided until his death. Terry was a welder by trade and had a long career with Liquid Air Corporation.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond Lee “Bill” Sparks and Betty Jo Sparks.

Survivors include his loving wife of 33 years, Maybell Sparks; daughter, Shannon (Jeff) Stevens of Chickamauga; 2 granddaughters, Ashley Stevens Clayton and Courtney Stevens; 2 great granddaughters, Asher and Ellis Clayton; sisters, Linda (Wayne) Brown of LaFayette and Martha (OW) Carpenter of Summerville; and several nieces and nephews.

Celebration of life service: At a later date.

Arrangements are by Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home, LaFayette.

Nancy Margaret Mann, 86, LaFayette, Ga.

Nancy Margaret Mann, age 86, of LaFayette passed away Thursday, November 15, 2018. She was a member of Harmony Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, R.B. Mann; parents, Henry Thomas Green and Lucy Borden Green; three brothers and three sisters.

She is survived by her daughter, Sylvia (Bade) Eller of Summerville; sons, Dale (Janie) Mann and Randy (Tina) Mann all of LaFayette; nine grandchildren; several great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren; sisters, Ann Brown of Cloudland, Ga., Judy (Harold) Brock of Knoxville, Tenn., and Dorothy Green Huskey of Alcoa, Tenn.; brothers, Charles Green of LaFayette and Jim Green of Madisonville, Tenn.; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Saturday, November 17, 2018 in the Wilbanks Memorial Chapel with Pastors Bobby Lemons and Stephen Gilbreath officiating.

Interment: Littlejohn Cemetery.

Pallbearers: Lamar Mann, Mason Eller, Caleb Greene, Roy Hambrick Jr., Gage Bauer, and Derek Wilson.

Visitation: Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home.

Arrangements are by Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home, LaFayette.

Sgt. Major Jerry Randall Wilson, 76, Rossville, Ga.

Sgt. Major Jerry Randall Wilson age 76, of Rossville, Georgia passed away peacefully at his home from a long battle of heart and lung disease on November 17, 2018.

Retired after 28 years of service in the United States Army and also served 9 years law enforcement in the state of Georgia.

A member of Union Avenue Baptist Church, American Legion Georgia post 0400, VFW-Post 528 of Smith Alabama, life member of Georgia Gun Owners Association, Lt. Col. State of Alabama Militia (Appointed by the Governor of Alabama), National Rifle Association, Masonic Lodge 714 of Lawton Oklahoma, and an avid golfer.

He was a very giving and loving man with a heart of gold, who loved his family and friends.

Proceeded in death by his father and mother, Cecil and Orlean Wilson; wife, Donna Jane Wilson; daughter, Gayla Howard; sons, Randall Wilson and Virgil Byram.

Survivors include the love of his life, wife, Barbara Gay Wilson; children, Terry (Sarah) Wilson of Chickamauga, GA, Rhonda (Steve) Crandall of Lawson, OK, Sandra Colley of Dallas, TX, Janet (Danny) Burton of Hixson, TN, Angela Langford (Danny Lee) of Ooltewah, TN, brother, Judge Ron (Wanda) Wilson of Chatsworth, GA, sisters, Seretha (Joe) Henry of Ringgold, GA, Ruth (Bill) Dinning of Franklin, KY, 15 Grandchildren, 33 Great-Grandchildren, 1 Great-Great-Grandchild and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Family wishes to thank Caris Hospice Services.

Funeral services: 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 20, 2018 in the Fort Oglethorpe Chapel with Rev. Fred Fagan officiating.

Burial: LaFayette City Cemetery.

Visitation: 11:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m. on Monday and prior to the service on Tuesday at the funeral home.

Online guest book at www.wilsonfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements by W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Home Fort Oglethorpe, GA.

Eugene “Buddy” Wright, 67, Rossville, Ga.

Eugene “Buddy” Wright age 67, of Rossville, Georgia went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

He was a lifelong resident of the North Georgia area and was of the Baptist faith. He was a United States Marine Corp. Veteran having served during Vietnam and had worked most of his life as an electrician and tow boat operator. He enjoyed spending his time fishing, hunting for arrowheads and loved spending time with his dog “Spencer”.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bud & Mary Wright and his lifelong friends, Dale Wilhoite and Buckie Cagle.

Survivors include his daughter: Shannon Wright Coley, former wife: Deborah Stoner, sister: Mary & Richard Rominger, grandson: Harley Williamson, son-in-law: Keith Sellers, nephews: Chip and Tracy Rominger and numerous extended family & friends.

Graveside services: 2:30 pm – Tuesday – November 20, 2018 at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Online guest book at www.wilsonfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements by W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Home Fort Oglethorpe, GA.

Gaynelle Shope Layman, 81 Ringgold, Ga.

Gaynelle Shope Layman, age 81 of Ringgold, went home to be with her Lord on Saturday, November 17, 2018, surrounded by her family.

She was born to the late John Monroe and Amy Elizabeth Headrick Shope in Ringgold and was a member of Grace Baptist Tabernacle, Rock Spring. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, who will be greatly missed.

Gaynelle was also preceded in death by her grandson, Eric Nathaniel Hullender, Brothers, Johnny Shope and Gene Shope and step-children, Howard Franklin Layman and Trennon Lamar Layman.

She is survived by her loving husband, of 47 yrs., Seth Layman, children, Gary Hullender, Phillip (Cindy) Hullender, Susan (Glenn) Mulkey, Greg (Lisa) Hullender and Sadonna “Sissy” Layman, sister, Betty George, 10 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service: 2:00 pm on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 in the funeral home chapel, with Bro. Shane Cloud officiating.

Interment: Anderson Memorial Cemetery.

Visitation: 10:00 am until the service time at the funeral home on Tuesday.

Arrangements by Wilson Funeral Home Wallis-Stewart Chapel, Ringgold.

Rev. Charles Edwin Keith, 81, LaFayette, Ga.

Rev. Charles Edwin Keith, 81, of LaFayette, Georgia departed this life Sunday, November 18, 2018 for his eternal home with Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.

Charles was a graduate of Kirkman Vocational High School in Chattanooga, TN; he then went on to receive his Bachelor of Business Degree from Brenau College and then his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He also did extensive post graduate work and was nationally certified in the field of substance abuse and alcohol addiction. He was retired from the U.S. Navy after more than 21 years of service as a Chief Petty Officer (Yeoman). After retiring from the Navy, he was called to preach and spent 20 years pastoring as well as 8 years as a Chief Counselor in the field of substance abuse. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather that will truly be missed by all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Phillip & Mary Keith and brother, Byron Alvin Keith.

Survivors include his loving wife of more than 63 years, Elsie Sue Wilson Keith; children, Cynthia Renee Keith Brown (Donny) of Ranger, GA, Charles Bradley Keith (Missy) of Ooltewah, TN, Ralph Edwin Keith (Chris) of LaFayette, GA; sister, Carolyn Williams of Kennesaw, GA; 6 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren and numerous extended family & friends.

Funeral services: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 21, 2018 in the LaFayette Chapel with Pastor Kenny Roach and Pastor Mike Peterson officiating.

Burial: 1:30 p.m. at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Visitation: 4 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday and prior to the service on Wednesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gideons or your favorite charity.

Online guest book at www.wilsonfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements by Wilson Funeral Homes – LaFayette Chapel, LaFayette, Georgia.

Peggy Sizemore Bible, 65, Rossville, Ga.

Peggy Sizemore Bible, 65, of Rossville passed away Monday, November 12, 2018 at a local hospital.

She was a lifelong resident of the North Georgia area where she was a 1970 graduate of Ringgold High School. Following high school she went on to graduate from Walker Technical College in 1972. She was of the Baptist Faith. Mrs. Bible loved her family and friends, she was always looking for ways to help others, and she always had the time to listen. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

She was preceded in death by her former husband, Robert Bobby Bible; brothers, Robert and Walt Sizemore; and sister, Bertha Sutton.

Survivors include her children, Nathan (Elizabeth) Bible, Donna Bible, and Jason (Shelly) Bible; sister, Gerrie Beard; brother, Jackie Sizemore; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation: Monday, November 19th from 4-8p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home and Crematory, located at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.

David “Tweety-Byrd” Byrd, 75, Lookout Valley, Tenn.

David “Tweety-Byrd” Byrd, 75, of Lookout Valley went home to be with the Lord on Friday, November 16, 2018.

David was a lifelong resident of Chattanooga. He was a 1965 graduate of East Ridge High School where he played Football. He was the last barefooted punter in the state of Tennessee. After graduating high school, David served in the United States Army in Germany during the Vietnam Era. David retired from Combustion Engineering in the mid 1990’s with over 30 years of service. While working with Combustion he enjoyed playing Fast Pitch Softball. David was a member of the Tiftonia Church of Christ, was a TWRA Hunter Education Instructor and his passions in life were hunting, fishing, and cutting up with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Camela Byrd; parents, Conner and Beulah Byrd; and sister, Mary Nell Reed.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Nancy Byrd; children, Connie (Terry) Tipton and Dava (Buddy) Whaley, all of Lookout Valley; brothers, Raymond, Charles, and Wayne Byrd; sister, Judy Wilbanks; four grandchildren, Terry Tipton, II, Amber Tipton, Katie Tipton, and Laney Robinson; six great grandchildren, Aurora, Bella, Jude, Bailey, Anna, and Isaac; special friends, Tommy and Barbra Meyers; and several nieces and nephews.

Condolences may be sent to www.lane-southcrestchapel.com.

Funeral services: Wednesday, November 21st at 1:00p.m. at Tiftonia Church of Christ 159 Browns Ferry Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37419 with Minister Gary McDade officiating.

Lie in state: At the church from 11a.m. until the funeral hour.

Interment: Chattanooga National Cemetery with Military Honors.

Visitation: Tuesday from 4-8p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home and Crematory, located at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.

Thomas Franklin Brown Jr., 66, Rossville, Ga.

Thomas Franklin Brown Jr., 66, of Rossville met Jesus face to face on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Frank was a lifelong resident of the Chattanooga and North Georgia area.

He was a 1970 graduate of Kirkman High School where he broke several weight lifting records. Frank worked in the Maintenance department at Mohawk Industries in Ft. Oglethorpe for over fifteen years and was on Mohawk’s Bowling team. He was ordained as a Minister in 1974, was an active member of Bible Baptist Church and attended the Auditorium Sunday School Class. Frank never met a stranger, he always had a smile on his face, and he was always looking for an opportunity to play a trick on someone. His passions in life were his Lord, his family, his church family, enjoying his rose garden, and listening to music from the 50’s and 60’s.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Tommy and Betty Brown; and brother, Larry Wayne Brown.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Gloria Brown; children, Cinnamon Dawn Brown and Melinda (Lamar) Sosebee; five grandchildren, Jordon, Macy, Spencer, Garett, and Bella, all of Rossville; sisters, Wanda Sue (Lee) Campbell of Tullahoma, TN and Linda Lou (Walt) Morrison of Rossville; brothers, Steve (Millie) Brown of Rossville and Johnny (Terri) Brown of Chickamauga; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services: Monday, November 19th at 1:00p.m. at Bible Baptist Church 110 Talley Ave, Rossville, GA 30741 with Reverend Ricky Gravley officiating.

Interment: TN-GA Memorial Park.

Visitation: Monday from 11:00a.m. until the funeral hour at the church.

Ann Lowe, 80, of Ringgold, Ga.

Ann Lowe, 80, of Ringgold went home to be with the Lord on Friday, November 16, 2018.

She was a lifelong resident of Catoosa County, was a founding member of Indian Springs Church of God, and was currently a member of Ringgold Church of God. Ann worked many years as a waitress at the Country Bumpkin in Ringgold and at the Golden Corral in Ft. Oglethorpe. She loved the Christmas season and some of her hobbies included making ceramics and Christmas crafts. Ann had a servant’s heart. She was at her happiest when she was taking care of others.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Sonny Lowe; son, Royce Lamar Lowe, Jr.; parents, Morris and Maude Steele; brothers, Otis, Ernest, and Paul Steele; and sisters, Mary Doss and Jo Wilbanks.

Survivors include her daughters, Marie (Frank) Bailey of Ringgold and Lisa (Jimmy) Smith of Trenton; five grandchildren, Tracy Byrd, Wayne Hunt, Brittney Vice, Brad Vice, and Jordan Frye; fifteen great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Condolences may be sent to www.lane-southcrestchapel.com.

Funeral services: Tuesday at 2:00p.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Reverend Carrol Allen and Reverend Ken Paul officiating.

Interment: Rock Spring Cemetery.

Visitation: Monday from 5-8p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home and Crematory, located at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.

Omer Gene Gurley, 89, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Omer Gene Gurley, 89, of Chattanooga, passed away on Saturday, November 17, 2018 in a local health care facility.

Mr. Gurley was born on April 11, 1929 in Tellico Plains, TN to the late Dave & Neppie Freeman Gurley. He had spent the greater part of his life in the Chattanooga area and retired from Hertz-Penske with more than 40 years of service. Omer was of the Baptist faith.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred Lowe Gurley, son, James Gurley, daughters, Barbara Ann Gurley & Mary Byas, great-granddaughter, Lauren Smith, five brothers and five sisters.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Linda & Rodney Higdon of Ringgold; granddaughters, Tammy Bond, Melanie Alexander, Amanda Cash & Misty Hudson; seven great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.

To share expressions of sympathy, visit lane-southcrestchapel.com.

Graveside services: Wednesday, November 21st at 11:00 a.m. at the Archville Baptist Church Cemetery in Reliance, Tennessee.

Visitation: Tuesday, November 20th from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.

Howard Lewis, 90, Ringgold, Ga.

Howard Lewis, 90, of Ringgold, passed away on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at his residence following a long battle with diabetes and leukemia.

Howard was born in Calhoun, GA on October 30, 1928 to the late Howard Lewis, Sr. & Ruby Hight Lewis but had lived most of his life in Chattanooga. He also lived in Nashville, Chicago, & New York City. He was a 1946 graduate of Chattanooga Central High School and received his B.A. degree from Florida State Christian College. He was a Computer Science Engineer, having worked for Railway Express Agency for 17 years, rising from a clerk in Chattanooga to the head of all computer operations for the company in New York City. He was also employed with the City of Chattanooga for 15 years. Howard served in the 181st Field Artillery Battalion of the United States National Guard and was a member of the American Legion. Mr. Lewis was a member of Pilgrim Congregational Church, having joined while in his teens. He was an avid fan of U.T. football and basketball and was a season ticket holder for over forty years. He attended all home games, many road and bowl games, including games in Hawaii, New Orleans, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando & Tampa. He also had season basketball tickets for eight years.

In addition to his parents, Howard was preceded in death by his brother, Perry Leon Lewis, and grandson, Adam Justin Carroll.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Marian Cartee Lewis; daughter, Marilyn Lewis Cason; son-in-law, Rocky Cason; sister, Frances Montag Reber; brother-in-law, Ken Reber; sister-in-law, Lynne Cartee Shaw; several nieces, nephews, & cousins.

To share expressions of sympathy, visit lane-southcrestchapel.com.

Funeral services: Wednesday, November 21st at 1:00 p.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Dr. Paul Ritch & Dr. Robert Daugherty officiating.

Interment: Chattanooga Memorial Park.

Honorary pallbearers: Members of the Chattanooga High School Class of 1953, of which he was an honorary member.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or to a charity of your choice.

Visitation: Wednesday from 12:00 noon until the service hour at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, at the end of historic Missionary Ridge, Rossville.