Don W. Tetrick, age 96, of Elizabethton, went home to be with his Lord on Sunday, the 26th of August, 2012, in the Ivy Hall Nursing Home, following an extended illness.
He was born December 31st, 1915 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of the late G.W. â€œPappyâ€ and Letha Galbraith Tetrick. Don grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from Kansas City Junior College and Kansas City College of Mortuary Science. He met his wife, Frances Jane Smith Tetrick, in Joplin, Missouri and they were married on June 14, 1941. Frances passed away on May 26th, 2003, after a marriage to Don of almost 62 years.
Don and Frances moved to Elizabethton in 1943 and purchased the H.S. North Funeral Home, which is now the Tetrick Funeral Home. Don was always known as a compassionate, professional funeral director who served all families equally, regardless of their status in life. He was the oldest funeral director in the state of Tennessee, having been licensed for 69 years.
Don loved Elizabethton and took great pride in his community, serving as the community funeral director and as a good citizen. The first year after Don moved to Elizabethton he was selected as the Outstanding Young Man of The Year by the Jaycees. He served two different terms as president of the Jaycees. Don joined the Kiwanis Club when he moved to Elizabethton and has been a member of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club for 69 years. He has held every office in the Kiwanis Club and served two terms as president. The Kiwanis Club has recognized him as â€œKiwanian Of The Yearâ€ on two different occasions and elected him a Life Board Member. Don was also named as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Elizabethton Rotary Club. Don was always active in the Carter County Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as president, and was the first person to be recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as the Citizen of the Year. Through the years Don has served as chairman of the Community Chest, the predecessor of the United Way, served as president of The Cancer Society, The Heart Fund, The Carter County Boys and Girls Club, The March of Dimes and numerous other charitable organizations
Don and his father â€œPappyâ€ Tetrick helped to start the Carter County Rescue Squad in 1951, donating the first ambulance to the Rescue Squad. Don served as a trustee of the Rescue Squad for many years. He was a member of the Gideons and Dashiel Masonic Lodge, having received his 50-year pin in 1993. In 1988 he was recognized as the Citizen of the Year by the VFW. He was always most appreciative of that honor as he was not a veteran. During World War II, Don volunteered three times for the U.S. Army, but was turned down each time because of a heart murmur.
Don was the oldest male member of the First United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School for many years. He loved his church and served on numerous church committees and as Chairman of the Administrative Council. Don liked to say he had been a Methodist all of his life, as his mother and father were also Methodist and he always liked to tell everyone his grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider preacher. He loved to travel, play golf, drive in his car and play bridge with his friends. Wherever Don went he made friends and never met a stranger.
Don owned and operated Tetrick Funeral Home in Elizabethton with his father until his father retired in 1959. Always progressive, he built for the families he served one of the first â€œmodernâ€ funeral chapels in East Tennessee. In 1963 Don was invited to be a member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a membership in which he had great pride. He was the owner of Happy Valley Memorial Park from 1955 till 1971, developing some of the first feature gardens and mausoleums in northeast Tennessee. His son Bill Tetrick now owns Happy Valley Memorial Park and his son Richard owns Tetrick Funeral Home. Don retired in 1981 from being a â€œfull-timeâ€ funeral director, but never lost his love for funeral service and serving his fellow man. After his retirement he gave many years of service to the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission of which he served as chairman. He was very active in The Gideons during his retirement.
Don was a former member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Carter County Memorial Hospital and was the first Chairman of the Board of the Sycamore Shoals Hospital. In 2012 he was recognized in Whoâ€™s Who in Perspective Magazine, the magazine of the Tennessee Health Care Association. He was also recognized in 2012 for his â€œOutstanding Support to the Practical Nursing Program and its students by the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton Practical Nursing Program.â€ He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens Bank until his retirement from the Board in 1987. He was one of the founders of Security Federal Bank and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 47 years.
Besides his wife and parents, Don was preceded in death by his sister, Leona Winton of Rogers, Arkansas, in 1999.
He is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Bill and Julie Tetrick and Richard and Norma Tetrick, all of Elizabethton; four grandchildren, Tyler Tetrick and his wife Terina, Ronda Greeves and her husband Dr. Robert Greeves, Ashley Tetrick-Mijeski and her husband Keith Mijeski, and Jared Tetrick and his fiancÃ©e Erica Hensley; and two nieces, Janet Thompson and Judy Pertle.
The family would like to recognize Geneva Norris for her special friendship and many acts of kindness to Don after his wife Frances passed away. The family also thanks the staffs of Asbury Center in Johnson City, Appalachian Christian Village, Dr. Jonathan Bremer and his staff, the 3rd floor nurses at Sycamore Shoals Hospital, the staff of Amedisys Hospice, and a very special thanks to the staff of Ivy Hall Nursing Home and Judy and Victor Deloach for being so kind to Don in his last years.
A service to celebrate the life of Don Tetrick will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, the 30th of August, in the Elizabethton First United Methodist Church with The Rev. Dr. Terry L. Greer and The Rev. Ray Amos officiating. Music will be under the direction of John Bunn, soloist, and Brent Billheimer, organist. Entombment will follow the service at Happy Valley Memorial Park. Honorary pallbearers will be the men of the First United Methodist Church, members of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club, the employees and Directors of Security Federal Bank, employees of Tetrick Funeral Home and Happy Valley Memorial Park, Willie Church, Don Cooper, Pete Hampton, Ken Howerton, Julia Jessee, Dr. Harold Lane and Barbara Lane, Charles â€œDudeâ€ LaPorte, Ronnie McCloud, Linda Raley, Jim Ritts and George Simmons. Ben Pollard, piper, will provide music at the committal service. The family will receive friends from 2 till 4 p.m. and from 6:30 till 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the 29th of August, at Tetrick Funeral Home, Chapel of Peace, Elizabethton. Those who wish to make donations in memory of Don may donate to the Memorial Fund of First United Methodist Church of Elizabethton, 325 East E. Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643; the Kiwanis Club of Elizabethton, P.O. Box 401, Elizabethton, TN 37644; or their favorite charity. Words of sympathy and encouragement may be sent to the family at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com.
Tetrick Funeral Home, 211 North Riverside Drive, Elizabethton, is honored to serve the Tetrick family. (423) 542-2232.