Thomas Earl Dudney, 87, died late Saturday evening, December 28, 2013 in Kingsport.
He was born on February 1, 1926 in Chattanooga, TN to John Alfred and Rose Sullivan Dudney. He moved with his parents and sister, Lib, to Kingsport in 1930. At Dobyns-Bennett High School, Earl lettered in basketball, track and football and played in the very first football game in J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
After graduating in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served two years in the South Pacific during WWII. Earl attended Georgia Tech on the GI Bill and in 1949 married his college sweetheart, Susan Bowling. Upon graduation, he accepted a job with Eastman and began his career in Kingsport. After sales assignments in New Jersey and Massachusetts, Earl returned to Kingsport in 1966 with his family. He held a number of management positions with Eastman before retiring in 1990 after nearly 40 years of service.
Earl was first and foremost a family man. dHe and Susan were parents to five children and, over the years, enjoyed the many activities in which they participated. In later years, he was surrounded by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and celebrated each new addition to the Dudney clan.
As a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Kingsport, Earl was very active in many areas including Sunday school, deacon leadership, committee work and the drama ministry team. Earl was also a dedicated volunteer in numerous community organizations including Contact Concern, Meals on Wheels and Junior Achievement.
Preceded in death by his parents, Earl is survived by Susan, his wife of almost 65 years and his younger sister Lib, both of Kingsport and his brother-in-law, Bill Bowling and wife Libba of Pine Mountain, GA. Surviving children include, Susan Marsh of Kingsport; Dr. Tom Dudney and wife Diane of Birmingham, AL; Steve (Bo) Dudney and wife Gloria of Johnson City; Anne Kilgore of Kingsport and Bill Dudney and wife Janyce, also of Kingsport.
His 15 grandchildren are Jennifer (Shawn) Murphy, Easley, SC; Rebecca (Josh) Morelock, Kingsport; Danette (Casey) Bentley, Birmingham, AL; Lindsey (James) Hundley, Nashville, TN; Brett (Shannon) Dudney, Birmingham, AL; Shane (Anne) Templeton, Indianapolis, IN; Beth (Allen) Goins, Clinton, TN; Leslie (Thomas) Jordan, Nashville, TN; Nick Dudney, Johnson City; Adam (Staci) Kilgore, Memphis, TN; Sally Kilgore, Kingsport; Brooke (Andy) Adams, Atlanta, GA; Laura Dudney, Houston, TX; John Dudney, Columbia, SC; Rachel Dudney, Kingsport. He is also survived by 16 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
The family extends sincere gratitude to Dr. Bob Lee, the dedicated staff of caregivers at Holston Manor Nursing Home and the wonderful nurses of Amedisys Hospice for their loving care and support. Special thanks also to Preston Place Assisted Living and Earl’s private caregivers over the past couple of years.
A memorial service celebrating Earl’s life will be held on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at First Baptist Church at 11:00 am with Dr. Marvin Cameron and Dr. Ron Davis officiating. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary immediately following the service. Burial will be private preceding the memorial service.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church “Bridging Generations” Campaign, 200 W. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660 or Contact Concern, PO Box 3336 Kingsport, TN 37664.
Please visit www.hamlettdobson.com to leave an on-line condolence for the family.
Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Homes, Kingsport is serving the family of T. Earl Dudney.