OBITUARY: Bill Kerr Dye

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Bill Kerr Dye

Billy “Bill” K. Dye, age 91 died peacefully of natural causes on August 17, 2021 at Richland Place Senior Living in Portland, Tennessee.

He was born August 29, 1929 in Portland, Tennessee to the late William Beeler Dye and Virginia Gertrude Tubbs Dye. Bill had one brother, Donald Dye (Gloria), and two sisters, Marie Juanita Grantham (Bob) and Bettye Faye Glover (Glen), all who predeceased him in death.

In 1953 he married Mary Sue Graves from Franklin, Kentucky, and remained faithfully married to her until her death in 2014.

Mr. Dye is survived by their two daughters, Kerry Sue Pruett (Wayne) and Holly Bell (Glen); three grandchildren, Jackson Pruett (Angela), Tara Campbell (Phillip), and Rachel Giese; four great-grandchildren Hunter Pruett, Kerry Rose Pruett, Hannah Beardslee, and Brooks Campbell.

He graduated Portland High School in 1947; he attended Western Kentucky State College (now Western Kentucky University) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science. In 1959 he earned his Masters of Arts from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee.

He enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served from 1951 until 1956 as a navigator in the Korean War, ranked as Second Lieutenant earning an honorable discharge and receiving the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

In addition to working on the farm his entire life, he began his working career in Portland teaching physical education at the elementary school and then taught math, algebra, trigonometry at the high school. Although his teaching career ended in the early 1960s, he had lifelong relationships with many of his students until he died. He took a job as an industrial engineer with the Kendall Company in Franklin, KY where he worked until he retired in 1991.

He was passionate about living in Portland and after retirement soon became a regular and high-ranking member of morning and afternoon coffee groups at the Panther Den, Hardees and the 109 Family Restaurant as the group solved numerous local, national, and global problems.

He and Sue enjoyed many years of retirement, spending endless hours watching the annual migration of geese and wildlife with their grand and great-grandchildren in rural utopia. Fishing the ponds, gardening, and watching the variety of trees mature was a great and simple pleasure that no money could buy. They were happy, content, and blessed with family and friends. They worked many years as a team with the Restoration of Maple Hill Cemetery, Fountainhead Cemetery, and other civic endeavors in Portland.

In 2017 he moved into Richland Place Senior Living where he enjoyed a wonderful level of care while aging in place. He was grateful for the faithful friends and relatives who visited when he was no longer able to be out and about, and for the Richland Place staff who treated him with respect and compassion until he passed. He was blessed with many wonderful friends and relatives and was so proud to have lived a simple and happy life in Portland, Tennessee.

He was baptized on August 31, 1949 and was a lifelong member of the Portland Church of Christ. During his life, he read the entire Bible over a dozen times, and read the New Testament every year from 1991 until 2015.

Arrangements for Mr. Dye’s cremation and memorial service will be handled by Wilkinson & Wiseman Funeral Home in Portland. Visitation will be Friday, August 20, 2021 from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, August 21, 2021 from noon until the memorial service that begins at 1 p.m. all at the funeral home.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Restoration of Maple Hill Cemetery, PO Box 929, Portland, TN 37148; or Portland TN History Museum; or Portland Public Library; or Portland TN Church of Christ youth programs.

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