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One of Bill Agee's legacies is Union's new mausoleum


Bill Agee stands in front of his home off College where he has lived for as long
as I can recall. I made this photo on Sept. 19, 2012 before an interview. He
has been ill in recent weeks and could not meet me at Union Cemetery to help
with a story on the mausoleum.
Published: 9:11 PM, 01/11/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Mid January brought about warmer and sunnier days after a cloudy and rainy month's start for our hometown happy for a break from the dreary days of early winter.

By now the death of Paul Freeman is known throughout the county and was announced in the Plain Talk last Tuesday thanks to Duay O'Neil's splendid story and the informative obituary. It is safe to say that few people have not met or done business with him or the Freeman family. He was a real treasure, true friend to the consumer and our community. No one will be able to replace his unique experience and knowledge of furniture. For many decades the business was a major newspaper advertiser so we enjoyed a strong bond and made sure buyers heard about the latest and best sales at Freeman's Furniture. Our sympathy and condolence is extended to the family at this difficult time. Judging by the recent obituary notices in the Plain Talk many good people have died and their presence and contributions will be missed.


The mausoleum at Union Cemetery


The sun arrived causing us to expect a warming trend mid week and it was about 50 degrees last Tuesday, when Mike Proffitt called; of course, you know him, everybody knows Mike Proffitt. He was at Union Cemetery and we had been talking about letting people know how important Bill Agee has been to the cemetery. So I drove to the mausoleum that looks like a tall granite wall stretching east and west for over a hundred feet. While waiting for Mike, I looked at the names already etched in the face of many vaults available. I also saw the gray granite podium with stone honoring William "Bill" and Nona Agee. At the far right top corner the crypt's face stone is etched with the name of the first person's body placed here, Patsy Baxter McNabb. I know this because Ellen Williamson showed up and told me. She is the manager of union Cemetery since 1999. When I arrived here in 1972, H.C. Alexander was the manager and I got to know him through some features we published in the Plain Talk.

I saw Gene Layman's name and space reserved for Nancy Layman. Some names I did not know such as Sharon Lee Hoyt and Annette McRary. There was also the name of Carl Carlson. Two places were reserved for Phillip Morgan Sr., and Wilma O'Dell Morgan. Ellen said that other people have reserved spaces but not placed names on the face stones. I learned that Ellen's parents, Carter and Mickey Youell arrived in Newport about 1963 and are from Harriman. Mike arrived and we chatted a little about the union of three major churches that organized the cemetery and acquired about 35 acres of land to be the last resting place of tens of thousands of people. Some of the names of the directors of the board as church representatives include Roy Campbell Jr., Mike, Jim Masters, Charlie Manes, Jack Parks, Dave Proffitt, Tommy Denton, Jim McSween and Edward Williams.

The cemetery came to be about 1898 and Bill Agee has been on the board at least since Alexander was manager in the 1960s, said Mike. Bill has been ill of late and I hope to chat with him again for his insight on early Newport.


Airman Bockmann saving lives


Last week we began talking with an Army airman who is married to the daughter of a former Cocke Countian and former Newport family, too. Lt. John Bockmann never realized it while flying regular missions in the territory but he was "a hop and skip" from the compound where Ossama Bin Laden was living and killed in 2012.

While Lt. Bockmann spoke, among those in the audience were his wife, Katherine, who is the daughter of Robert and Brenda (Bailey) Kisabeth, of Newport. And, Brenda Kisabeth's father Kiwanian Reid Bailey was there along with Katherine's parents. So let me tell you what I learned about this young man married into a local family and how he is serving our nation and others in the world through his flying talent. John is one of four boys, parents being Bob and Maggie Bockmann of Tyler, Texas. I'm sure he did not plan to marry into a family with other Bobs, the Kisabeths. 

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