Harrell Lewis' Legacy of Love

Harrell Lewis during the Korean War.

Born in 1932 to Jesse Lewis and Anna Smith Lewis, Harrell was a man who loved the Lord above all else. He was a proud lifetime citizen of Maynardville where he was well known and loved. He married wife, Ima Ruth Cooke, on November 24, 1951 to begin their nearly sixty-three years together before her death in 2014.

Harrell was a 1950 graduate of Horace Maynard High School. Although they were the same age, Ima had graduated in 1949 from Hubbs Grove School which is why they really didn’t know each other. They met when Harrell saw Ima washing windows at her father, Lee Cooke’s, home. The rest is history.

Ima was the ideal picture of a preacher’s wife. She joyed in spreading love. She was well-known for the thousands of stack cakes and sourdough breads that she baked over the years. While Harrell pastored at Leatherwood Baptist and Head of Barren, she was the pianist for the churches.

The couple had three children with their first, daughter Patricia Jarvis, being born in 1953. Son Gaines, who was killed in a car accident on Thanksgiving in 1979, was the second child, born in 1959. Their third child, Timothy, died as a youngster at ten years old from tick fever. Both Ima and Harrell had much love to share with their children, grandchildren, and great grands.

Harrell often joked about all the “Girls, Girls, Girls” in his life. He had two granddaughters, Patricia’s daughter Lori Clay and Gaines’ daughter Misty Seal. Lori has two daughters and Misty has three. He loved all his girls so dearly.

Harrell joined the service in 1952, before the birth of their first child. He was stationed in Virginia, soon being shipped on a boat to Germany where he served the majority of his time. He completed Basic Training while overseas during the Korean War. While serving, he worked in grave registration using his experience working with his father in law at Cooke Mortuary.

Harrell liked to tell that he went over on a ship and came back on a ship. He said he asked the Lord if He would let him get back home, he would go to church and be a good Christian man. So, when he got back he kept his word. He began attending Hubbs Grove Baptist Church where Preacher Tindell was pastoring at the time. He continued to attend regularly, leading to him being saved as a grown man. From this time on, his life was clearly focused on the Lord.

After returning from the service, he was also helping run a little grocery store where the funeral home is currently. In the area there was the mortuary, a workshop in which they lived above, and then the store. Later came a sawmill and building supply.

Harrell is very well known in the community for his carpentry skills and over sixty years of ownership of Lewis Building Supply. The building supply stemmed off after he had been building houses. The business boomed until it burned in 1983. A period of time passed before Harrell rebuilt and reopened the business. He never really wanted to retire so he put a note on the door that said, “Call me if you need anything,” in later years.

After Ima’s death in 2014, the winter was a terrible season. There was a long-lasting ice storm and Harrell became determined to go to Knoxville and get lumber every day during the storm. It was so severe that his truck wouldn’t even go back in the driveway, but Harrell having to have things his way, made up his mind that he would make those trips.

In late fall of 2018, he went into Maple Court Assisted Living Memory Care in Powell. There he was loved by all. He also loved all the people there and having that social interaction.

In younger years, he played banjo and fiddle with some of the local musicians. He was a carpenter by trade. He became somewhat of a collector over the years. He loved clocks and making presence at rummage sales. At one time, Ima ran a ceramic shop out of the basement. He would help her with painting and pouring occasionally. Of all his hobbies, going to church was his priority.

Although Harrell was saved, ordained at, and belonged to Hubbs Grove Church, he had been attending Fellowship Christian for some time. There, his nephew, Johnny Smith, is pastor.

He was rather proud to be the nephew of singer Carl Smith. He had friends everywhere he went. There were some special friends at Farm Bureau and New South Credit Union in his last years. He loved to have a good time and share his sense of humor.

Harrell was a very good moral man. His last conversation was with his daughter. She was with him and said, “Daddy you seem sad today.” He shook his head yes; he didn’t talk much anymore. She said, “Why are you sad?” He looked over at a picture of himself and Ima from years past. She asked him if he was wanting to go to Heaven with her. He agreed once more. She said, “It’s okay Daddy. Then why are you still sad?” He said as they both shed tears, “You.” With tears weltering in her eyes, she let him know that is was okay for him to go. That God would take care of her like she had always been taught by her daddy. “I’m sad and I miss him so bad, but I’m happy of the memories, good and bad, that I had with them and I’m thankful for the way I was raised,” shared Patricia.

One of the things Harrell preached more than anything was love. His love gleaned. Above everything else, he loved the Lord and witnessed so that others would do the same. It is hoped that Harrell’s undying love for the Lord, his family, and his work is what he is remembered by and not the last years of his dementia. He led many people to the Lord to be saved. He had many friends. His main goal that he loved to share was “be prepared to meet the Lord, be saved.”

Harrell Lewis with wife Ima Ruth Cooke Lewis

Harrell Lewis and wife Ima Ruth Cooke Lewis

Photo of a Quilt of Thalor that was presented to Harrell Lewis as an honor for his service during the Korean War.



Ghostly Hikes at Big Ridge

Fall leaves at Big Ridge State Park

As the spooky October season sneaks around the corner, Big Ridge State Park has some ghostly adventures planned for the community and visitors. As you may know, there are some mysterious stories from past generations that spook the park this time of year. These stories are shared amongst hikers at the Annual Ghost House Hikes which have been happening for more than a decade.

Poultry Auction Success for 4-Hers

Grand and Reserve Grand Champion winners for the 2019 Union County 4-H Chick Chain Show and Sale, left to right; Travyn Farmer, Dakota Smith, Chloe Lloyd, Mia Effler

The Annual 4-H Chick Chain Show and Sale was held Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at Darrell’s Auction & Livestock.

Shut the Door

Brooke Cox

I really felt bad for my mother. Even at my very young age, I could tell she was struggling more than I was.

You see, I was afraid to pull my own lose baby teeth. Many of my friends did it, but I couldn’t stand the thought. Some even worked to get their teeth lose so they could lay them under their pillows and get money from the tooth fairy. In those days, that was usually a quarter or two. Though there were a couple of kids in my class who received a whole dollar. At this time, you could buy a candy bar for fifty cents and lollipop for a quarter.

Gentle chiropractic procedures for the sacroiliac joint

Some patients with low back or buttock pain resulting from sacroiliac joint dysfunction may favor a more gentle chiropractic treatment over the traditional spinal manipulation techniques. Less forceful spinal manipulation involves slower (low-velocity) techniques that allow the joint to remain within its passive range of motion. Gentle chiropractic techniques include:


During the Great Depression, I remember growing up with the horrors of being quarantined. It seemed kids only caught the measles, whooping cough, mumps and such during the school year. Maybe the problem was the close contact we all had during the school day. If you or someone in your home had an infectious disease, the sign went on the door. There were no vaccines.

Jelly Roll

Have you ever made a jelly roll? I have made a few. My first one was for the fair in my home county. I was trying for the Homemaker Award that year in the early '60s. The person who won the most ribbons in the Food and Needlework categories would get the prize. I entered everything I could think of, including a jelly roll. It was my first one. I won the Homemaker Award as well as the silver tray for Best Cake. Guess what? My jelly roll beat out those fancy frosted cakes. Wedding cakes were in a different category.

House Dust

Those trying in vain to keep a house clean detest house dust. It floats in sunbeams and accumulates on furniture. Most assume the dust comes from outside, and about 60% of it does in the form of dirt or pollen, but much of it is generated inside the home. If you look at floater house dust under a microscope, it appears to be small flat plates, usually six sided and slightly wrinkled on the surface. It’s is mostly skin cells from us or from pets. We shed them constantly in fantastic amounts, and it’s the body’s way of keeping itself clean and free from invading pathogens.


It's About Time

There is nothing more certain than the inexorable march of time, each second dutifully ticking ahead at fixed, predictable increments. It’s the one certainty in a world of uncertainties, right? How many times have our movie heroes “synchronized their watches” in order to meet at a precisely coordinated time in order to save the world from some nefarious villain or another? How many New Year’s Eve parties have culminated with delirious attendees screaming the countdown to midnight in a gleeful chorus, watching the final seconds of the dying year slipping away?

A Makeover for Janet's Hair Salon

Janet Holloway, owner and operator of Janet's Hair Salon in Maynardville, TN, relaxing in the new spa chair

Janet’s Hair Salon is a remedy to style, beauty, and friendship within the Maynardville community. For nineteen years, folks have been visiting the salon for their beauty needs as well as laughter amongst friends. Janet Holloway, owner and operator of the salon, bought the shop in 1990, and business has been growing ever since.


Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Hogskin Festival

Saturday, September 28, 2019 - 11:00
Spinning wheel

Hogskin History Day Saturday, September 28 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
The 20th annual Hogskin History Day will be held Saturday, September 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center, 1936 Liberty Hill Rd, Washburn.

Hogskin History Day is a celebration of the history, music, and culture of the Hogskin Valley and surrounding Appalachian communities. The day promises to be both full of fun and interesting information.


Carolyn Marcum

Carolyn Marcum, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 surrounded by loved ones. Preceded in death by Daddy Rev. Leon Dawson, Momma Mabel Dawson, brother Doyle, and husband Dalvis Marcum. Survived by sons Tony (Brenda), Robbie (Christy), daughter Tammy, 9 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, sister Loretta Foster. Family will receive friends 6:00-8:00pm Friday, September 20, 2019, at Redemption Harvest Church with service to follow, Rev. Jody Darden and Rev. Randy Carver officiating.

Hampton McMahan

Hampton McMahan, age 94 of Maynardville, TN, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. He was a WWII Army Veteran and received a Purple Heart for his outstanding service to his country. Preceded in death by wife Laura McMahan; parents Reverend Harvey and Easter McMahan; brothers Pete Hayes and Hubert McMahan; sister Meryl Ward.

John Franklin Chesher

John Franklin Chesher, age 77, passed away September 16, 2019. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving in the US Army. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. John enjoyed fishing, always had a good humor about him, was tough as nails and had a huge heart. He loved his “Pete” with all his heart.

John is preceded in death by his mother Mattie Ethel Chesher; three brothers; and mother-in-law Iona Webb.

Rev. Ruben and Belinda Wilson

Rev. Ruben Wilson-age 76 and Belinda Wilson-age 58 of Blaine passed away suddenly Tuesday morning, September 10, 2019 as the result of an automobile accident.

The families would like to express their love and gratitude for the outpouring of love and support shown to our families.

Upon the request of Rev. Ruben and Belinda, there will be no services. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Sara Elizabeth Dixon Kitts

Sara Elizabeth Dixon Kitts – 37 of Maynardville, born April 28, 1982 passed away Wednesday, September 11, 2019. She was a member of Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by sister, Nancy Lynne Dixon; grandparents, William “Bud” Jones and Charles and Opal Dixon. Sara is survived by son, Carson Kitts; parents, James “Len” and Ann Dixon; sister, Jamie Dixon Delph; brothers, Andy (Sherri) Dixon and Scott Dixon; grandmother, Georgia Jones; special niece and nephews, Abygale Dixon, Hunter and Eli Delph; and several uncles, aunts and cousins.

Dana Lynn Bryson

Dana Lynn Bryson – November 7, 1957 – September 11, 2019 of Knoxville, departed Wednesday morning, losing her battle with cancer. During her time with us she lived, worked and played in Knoxville, Kansas City, Cleveland, Ohio, Washington D C and Atlanta. She graduated from Shawnee Mission High School in Kansas and Georgia State University. Her varied interest included dance, theatre, debate, politics, genealogy, knitting and film history.

Dustin "Cotton" Earl Bates

Dustin “Cotton” Earl Bates, age 27 of Strawberry Plains, passed away on September 7, 2019. Dustin was a beloved son, grandson, uncle and soon to be father. Preceded in death by his grandparents, Eddie and Wanda Bates and grandfather, Clifford Hensley. He is survived and will be greatly missed by his parents, Charles “Chad” Bates and Misty Hobbs; stepfather, Jesse Hobbs; sister, McKenzie Bates; brothers, Peyton Bates and Lee Hobbs; grandparents, Jerry and Polly Holt; grandmother, Barbara Hensley; nephew, Maverick Dylan Townsend; several aunts, uncles, cousins and great friends.

E. LaVerne Wilkerson

E. LaVerne Wilkerson age 91 of Knoxville, Tennessee was received into the presence of her Lord Jesus on Sunday, September 8, 2019 as she peacefully slept. She was a member of Salem Baptist Church.

Welcoming her into the Kingdom are parents Winfred and Iva Nunn; sister Wanda Nunn; daughters Kathy Wilkerson Rowden and Cindy Wilkerson Bryant; and grandson Dennis Carson Wilkerson Jr.

Corum Henderson Wolfenbarger

C.H. Wolfenbarger-age 86, was born in Washburn, Tennessee on July 7th, 1933 and passed away September 1st, 2019 in White Lake, Michigan. Beloved, he rose to heaven surrounded by his loving family. He was attentively cared for by his son, Jim Wolfenbarger and family after suffering a stroke in 2002 causing a slow decline of dementia. He celebrated Christmas and spent the winters with his daughter, Sherry Wolfenbarger Cagan and family in California.

Sandra C. Kitts Thomas

Sandra Carol Kitts Thomas-age 60 of Maynardville went home to be with the Lord Monday morning, September 2, 2019 at Select Specialty Hospital in North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a long-time member of Grace Baptist Church. She was born January 31, 1959 the daughter of the late Rev. Ted and Welmia Kitts, also preceded in death by sister, Mary Kitts.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.