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Cecil Thomas Cantrell

• Feb 25, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Cecil Thomas Cantrell, 86 years old, passed away, after an extended illness on Tuesday February 21, 2017, at Mission Hospital.

Cecil was born September 24, 1930 to the late Charles Dewey Cantrell and Betty Elizabeth Donnell Cantrell in McMinnville, Tennessee. He was the oldest child, with two younger brothers, the late Charles D. Cantrell and Bobby Gene Cantrell, both of McMinnville.

In addition to his parents and his brother, Charles; he is preceded in death by his daughter, Patricia Lynne Cantrell.

Cecil demonstrated, at a very early age, his unusual ability to learn quickly, which led to him graduating high school at the age of fifteen. Soon, thereafter, he joined the US Army served honorably for 3 years as a private. Through the GI Bill, he enrolled at Middle Tennessee State College, and graduate in 1953. Following this military time in Italy, he began work for Ford Motor Company 1959 when the opportunity presented itself for Cecil to work for Shell Oil Company, leading to his purchase of a Shell Distributorship in 1958 with the help of the late Alvin Batson in Hendersonville. He and his wife moved to Hendersonville, and within a short time Cecil was able to purchase the dealership which became Skyland Petroleum Company. Cecil then began purchasing land to grow his business. The plans to build I-26 came into view, and Cecil was able to purchase property at several interchanges between Henderson County and Asheville. He expanded his business to into a Tire Recapping Business in VA with Preston Carter; He developed Kingsport Fuel in Kingsport TN with partnership with Ron Coven as well as expanded into Asheville NC, Greenville SC with several partnerships. He built and owned the Ramada Inn of Hendersonville which was sold and he then opened the famous restaurant known as The Coach Lite off Long Shoals Road in Asheville NC. Nothing gave him more joy than to be the host to so many people that came to eat there and it gave him much joy and memories for many years. He expanded and opened a second restaurant in Hendersonville the Quarter House with Harley Stepp, later both were sold. The expansion of his oil business began when he and Norman Gordon formed a partnership and the building of multiple convenience Stores known as Norms Minute Mart. Cecil was a man to help people, and loved to see them succeed he was very involved in the Alumni Association of MTSU, serving as National President. He also served at the request of the Governor of North Carolina, on the board on UNCA In 1999 he decided to retire and sell his business, which enabled him to enjoy being a grandfather to Will and share many special memories. Not long after he met his wife Teresa. They traveled the works until his health would no longer permit. Cecil's spirit will never die, his generosity and wonderful personality lives on in every person's life he touch.

Cecil is survived by his wife, Teresa (the former Teresa Campbell Caton of Anderson, SC) his son Thomas Allan Cantrell, Chapel Hill North Carolina; his daughter, Anne Cantrell Dyer and Grandson Will Dyer of Johnson City Tennessee. Cecil had two step sons William Ross Rhoton,of Atlanta Georgia, and Robert Madison Rhoton of Charleston, South Carolina, along with their families

The family will receive friends from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Home in Hendersonville. There will be a private family burial in Anderson SC.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the UNC Asheville Foundation-Athletics Scholarship Fund, Attention: Janet R. Cone, Athletics Department One University Hts. CPO#2600 Asheville, NC 28804 An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.

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