Robert Franklin Boatright, 97, of Kingsport died Wednesday, November 27, 2013, at Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center.
He was born near the waters of Big Stoney Creek in Ft. Blackmore, VA, on the family farm that was first settled by the father of his grandfather’s grandfather (five generations.) His father died when “R.F.” was four years old and his mother taught school and farmed to support herself and her four young children. These circumstances caused him to learn the value of hard work at a young age and at a time when food was raised in a garden, water was carried from the spring, cows were milked by hand, and corn was shucked and carried to the mill. He developed an independence characterized by a “do it yourself” spirit and an obstinate self-confidence that his way was the best way.
Upon graduation from Dungannon High School he obtained employment as a general laborer at Tennessee Eastman Company. More than forty years later, utilizing the work ethic and sharp mind that he developed in his youth, he retired as a technical services representative, having traveled to many parts of the country to consult and assist Eastman customers. During World War II he transferred to Oak Ridge, TN, and participated in the war effort there.
He was married to his high school sweetheart, Sue Rhoton, for seventy years and together they raised four children. They were members of Mafair United Methodist Church.
Known to his family and childhood friends as “R.F.” and as “Bob” to his co-workers and acquaintances, he served as an adult leader in both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, offering fatherly advice and instruction to many young scouts. He devoted much of his spare time, at first by necessity and later by choice, working on the farm where he was born and where he loved to spend his Saturdays.
He was a devoted caregiver and protector of both his mother and his wife in their later years. R.F. was loved by family and friends, respected by those who knew him, and he will be greatly missed. He was blessed to have a very special caregiver, Jorita Plowman, as well as Diane Bare and Susan Hess. The children again thank Dr. Gary Casey for his extraordinary medical care for both of their parents.
R.F. was preceded in death by his wife, Sue R. Boatright; and parents, Homer C. and Elnora Quillen Boatright.
He is survived by his three daughters, Carolyn B. Allen and husband, Jerry, of Kingsport, Evelyn B. Adams, of Gray, and Linda B. Williams and husband, Tom, of Sarasota, FL; son, J. Robert Boatright and wife, Sherry, of Ft. Blackmore, VA; seven grandchildren, Deborah A. Wallace, Amy A. White, Lisa Shanklin, Kelly Gilliland, Brittany Birken, Brian Boatright and Lauren Partin; eleven great-grandchildren; and one nephew, Fred Quillin.
The family will receive friends on Sunday from 3-4:00 p.m. at Hamlet-Dobson Funeral Home, Kingsport.
Funeral services will be held at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel with Rev. Steven Collins officiating.
Burial will follow the service in Oak Hill Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Brian Boatright, Brian Partin, Michael Wallace, Scott White, John Ralph King, Luke Dinsmore and Ryan Wallace. Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Allen, Tom Williams and Fred Quillin.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 207 N. Boone St., Johnson City, TN 37604; or to the Boy or Girl Scouts of America, Sequoyah Council, P.O. Box 3010, Johnson City, TN 37602.
Please visit www.hamlettdobson.com to leave an online condolence for the family.
Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Homes, Kingsport, is serving the family of Robert Franklin Boatright.