(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL Tommy Crowder, at left, of Crowder excavation services, began razing the Brown Funeral Home garage on Thursday, and Friday morning he met with Tip Brown to hear a little of the history of that 1950s structure. Tip Brown played in it as a teenager and said it was built in the mid 1950s.
Friday, September 06, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-09-06 20:32:40)
 
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

True to weather forecasts of a wetter September, we had a deluge last week and continue to have morning fogs in and around our hometown so many of you, with a slight shiver, may be wondering what winter will be like.

The new week began with Grandparents Day and that brought to mind two people I’ve known for many years who are grandfathers. Before moving along with our talk about new businesses springing up like mushrooms after raining days, let me celebrate belated birthdays and wish these grandparents well.

 

Grandpas celebrate birthdays

 

On August 14, I went to the home of Quinton and Wilda (Bill) Parrott on the occasion of Quinton’s 90th birthday. It is astonishing he looks so well and is here to celebrate because he has struggled with a significant heart problem for decades. He and Bill have two sons: Richard Parrott of Ohio about 50 miles from the Michigan state line; Dr. Earl Parrott, who practices medicine at Columbia, Tenn. Richard has two daughters, Amy Mills, of Newport, and Ashley Parrott of Texas. You may know Amy because she is a nurse at Tennova’s Newport Medical Center. Dr. Parrott has a son, Adam, who lives in California. Quinton and I will be chatting soon about the good old days and you will read about this.

General Sessions Judge John Bell and I were chatting a month ago, and I asked about his parents, because I taught at Cosby School with his Dad, Frank Bell. John reminded me that on August 29, Frank would turned 81 and more importantly he lost 50 pounds over the year by one simple change in his lifestyle. When he and I talk soon this plan will be revealed to you. Frank and Una have six children in addition to Judge Bell and they are Daniel, Joel, Dallas (the oldest), Linda Meeks and Rebecca Hunter. So you can understand how the Bells can have 10 grandchildren.

 

Old building disappearing

 

Tommy Crowder called me last Thursday morning to let me know he was removing an old building with some history to it. You may have noticed the two-story white wooden garage and apartment building behind Brown Funeral Home. The roof had been leaking and the old building was unsteady so the owner, Buddy Mayes, decided to have it taken down. When I drove up, I saw Daisy Crowder and Charlie standing off to the side. Daisy was seated, and not having seen her in a year, I greeted her with a hug. Johnny Bugg, alderman and former Brown employee, was watching the removal, too. I learned more about the history of this large structure from Tip Brown on a revisit Friday morning. Tip said that Oscar Wood built it for Everette Roberts, who was a partner with Cora Brown, Tip’s mother, of the funeral home business formerly operated by Tip Brown the senior. He died of Bright’s disease in 1945. The ground floor was for parking vehicles and receiving casket shipments. There was an entry hole in the second floor so that a chain hoist could lift caskets into the second floor showroom. On the west side was a large apartment. Tip believes Bob Ray and his wife, Sylvia, Tip’s sister, lived there early-on. “There’s probably 20 families lived there over the years,” including Tip. Charlie Manes lived in it, too. Tip told a few stories, one of which I can retell. He and Benny Cline were playing with the casket hoist, and Benny was on the second floor pulling the chain and Tip was trying to keep Benny from pulling the hook and chain up, which he could not. So Tip got the bright idea to secure the hook into the foundation. Benny pulled so hard that the 50-pound hoist broke loose and fell on Tip. “I didn’t realize how close I came to dying.” The hoist hit his head and blood spewed but he was not knocked out or seriously injured. If he had been killed, at least the caskets would be close at hand and the funeral home where he grew up. And that is how Tip has made it to age 72. He told me some stories about fire chief Roy Rader and Police Chief Ike Johnson, who at one time got fed up with the rats like Tip and put them all in the old stone jail for 15 minutes. Did you serve time with Tip? He is happy to again see the railroad from his casket and insurance sales office after all these years.

 

Dr. Lillard visited Newport

 

The Newport Kiwanis Club had the pleasure of hosting Tennessee State Treasurer Dr. David Lillard Jr., thanks to State Representative Jeremy Faison, at left, who made the visit possible. What was interesting to me is Lillard’s connection to Cocke County dating all the way back to Colonel William Lillard, who fought in the Creek Indian Wars. Dr. Lillard speaks eloquently about the financial position and concerns for Tennessee and no doubt has helped with its fiscal stability. Jeremy called me several weeks ago to give me a heads up that he would be inviting Dr. Lillard to Newport and to the Kiwanis Club. Lillard has roots in Cosby dating back to the late 1700s to three Lillard brothers one of whom was in the third general assembly. Colonel William Lillard left here and went to Missouri; James remained in Cocke County. The other brother was John Lillard. Dr. David Lillard was born in Ft. Rucker, Alabama, and descends from John. David’s interest in his family brought him to Cocke County in 1982, when he began researching the Lillard family. By 1991 he had published a book, Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia, two volumes.

 

Gameknights for players

 

When I first visited Gameknights in late August a “volunteer” worker pointed out the business owner, Franklin Williams. You may know his parents. Gary Williams former Cocke County High School principal and currently working in the materials center with Superintendent Manny Moore. Franklin’s mother is Debbie (Moore) Williams, who is at Newport Utilities and a fine person, too. Franklin hired a new manager, Nathan Gilbride, and also with them is Josh Johnson.

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