John Gary Simpson, 80, of Athens, died Sunday night, February 11, 2018, at Starr Regional Medical Center in Athens.
He was a lifelong resident of McMinn County and was a son of the late Chester and Gladys Burger Simpson.
Gary was a graduate of Englewood High School, where he was a two sport letterman in basketball and football. He graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan College (University) with a Bachelor of Science degree and from Middle Tennessee State University with a Master's Degree in Chemistry and Physics.
Gary was a lifelong educator serving as a teacher, principal, Title I Director for the Tennessee State Dept. of Education, Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction, and Assistant Superintendent. He was actively involved with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), having served as a chairperson and consultant for many schools undergoing accreditation.
Gary enjoyed sports and was an avid golfer, playing and competing in many events at Chestuee (Ridgewood) Golf course. He laughingly stated that his claim to fame was a hole in one on a provisional golf ball.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Athens.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Becky Simpson of Athens; a daughter and her husband, Holly and Todd Williams of Lenoir City; a sister and her husband, Sarah Jo and Jerry Hamilton of Englewood ; and a brother and his wife, Bill and Joyce of Elijay, GA.
A funeral service will be conducted at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 14, 2018, in the chapel of Smith Funeral Home with Dr. Jason Clark and Dr. David Pierce officiating. The committal service will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday in Niota Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 pm Wednesday at the funeral home prior to the service.
Pallbearers will be Don Nolen, David Pierce, Mickey Blevins, Jonathan Pierce, Steve Akers, Bob Mahoney, Mike Vinson, and Phillip Swanson.
Anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in Gary's name may do so to the McMinn County Education Foundation, P.O. Box 2 , Athens, TN 37371-0002; or to a charity of the giver's choice.