Spring arrived Thursday and must have helped push the temperature to about 80 degrees for our hometown, but the warm trend took the sidelines to the anxiety about virus in the air.
I didn’t have to get up early this week and be at the E. T. Coffee in Newport where retirees congregate to find Dean Williams. All I had to do is buy a refill of coffee at Weigel’s a week ago and three saw Dean in line buying items.
I’ve seen him here and yonder but not as much since he retired from his last job in the early 2000s with the Cocke County/Newport Partnership. A note on Weigel’s: the girls at the counter started wearing non-latex gloves to protect themselves from the potential to pickup a virus.
Dean said he hangs out with the dozen or more at the E. T. Coffee Shop where on Mondays many from either First Baptist Church or First Methodist talk about church activities and community. These have been on Dean’s mind so long as I’ve known him from the 1970s when he worked in the chemical industry here.
By the way, Dean says that the late Roger Gribble started the coffee house meeting club he dubbed The Romeo Club: Retired or old men eating out.
With an invitation to visit him at his home on Timber Trail, I went and got a greeting from his dog. It was also nice to renew acquaintances with his wife, the former Carolyn Fox. You might recall that her dad, John Fox, was a Baptist minister and lived in Sevier County.
Years ago she was married to James Layman and they had a daughter, who you know as Sharon Daugherty. She is a bookkeeper at New Center Elementary School, Sevier Co. I also learned that Maxie Wilson and Asa Wilson were related to James Layman, who died in 1980.
Dean also had been married and to the former Alice Thornton, whose mother was Iota Wilson, a sister to Asa Wilson. An interesting connection to the families. Alice died in 1983.
And so it was that Dean and Carolyn met up and married in July 1984. But let me go back to tell you more about Dean’s family in Sevier County in the Jones Cove community. Born August 27, 1934, he grew up near the current Jones Cove School.
Dean’s father, David Arthur Dean farmed at Middle Creek, as did his brother Walter, and their parents were Henry Williams married to the former Sarah Smelcer. Dean’s mother was the former Bessie Hicks, daughter of Crockett and Jane Hicks.
He was one of six children. Of these only Dean and his sister, Marjorie Webb are living. She is 93 years old and lives at Bogard.
By the 1940s, During World War II, he attended Sunset Gap School for about eight years. Sarah Cochran led the teaching group. From there as a young teenager he caught the bus at Middle Creek by the community country store to Cosby School.
By 1953 he graduated with the class that included schoolmates Harold and Ed Cates, Dee Ambrose, Harriet Harrison, and Pauline Freeman to mention a few he recalls after more than 65 years.
One of his favorite subjects was chemistry and he considered this field at East Tenn. State University but chose instead business and economics. He obtained a degree in 1957. During college, Dean said he was fortunate to be involved in ROTC training and became an active Army first lieutenant. He got his two-year active training at Ft. Lee, Virginia, and also Ft. McClellan and then did Army Reserve duty.
By the 1960s, Dean entered the work force at Rock Hill Laboratory east of Newport. The same company operated the Chemetron Plant in the industrial park. He retains fond memories of the many people he worked alongside of during his career with the chemical industry and later Bush Brothers. But more about this soon.
To Be Continued...