Karen Grigsby and staff reports
Published 8:00 AM EST Dec 29, 2018
From music legends and legal giants to pioneers and politicians, Nashville said goodbye to dozens of newsmakers in 2018.
Some fought for equality. Some broke barriers. Some simply entertained us.
But all made a difference — and a lasting mark — on Nashville.
Here are 13:
Roy Clark, 85
A Country Music Hall of Fame member, versatile entertainer and co-host of the iconic television show “Hee Haw,” Clark died Nov. 15.
Clark was a fleet-fingered instrumentalist who inspired countless pickers, including Brad Paisley. His hits included “Thank God and Greyhound” and “Yesterday When I Was Young.”
“Roy Clark made best use of his incredible talent,” Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said. “He was both a showman and a virtuoso, with a love of music that beamed across air waves and into millions of living rooms.”
Aretha Franklin, 76
Franklin was born in Memphis, but the musical journey of the “Queen of Soul” — who died Aug. 16 — included many intersections with Nashville. In addition to concerts and award ceremonies, she recorded a handful of country songs and would prove to be an immeasurable influence on some of the genre’s most celebrated vocalists.
Franklin broke barriers while becoming the most distinguished black female artist of all time. She had nearly 100 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart, with 20 of them reaching No. 1.
Richard Fulton, 91
Fulton, one of Nashville’s most consequential political leaders of the 20th century, died Nov. 28.
A Democrat, Fulton was the second mayor of Davidson County’s metropolitan government, serving from 1975 until 1987. He was the driving force behind developing Second Avenue North, Riverfront Park and the Nashville Convention Center and the construction of Interstate 440.
He was elected mayor after serving seven terms in Congress. A social liberal and pro-business politician, Fulton was one of just seven Southern Democrats in the House out of 87 to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Thomas Aquinas Higgins, 86
Higgins was a former federal judge, serving from 1984 to 2006. He died Sept. 11.
“He was an activist on the bench; he would do what he thought was right no matter what anyone else said,” said longtime friend and colleague Ed Yarbrough.
Higgins also was deeply involved in the Nashville Catholic community, helping coordinate the incorporation of the Catholic Charities of Tennessee and Aquinas College.
Ed King, 68
As the longtime guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, King helped pen “Sweet Home Alabama,” one of Southern rock’s quintessential anthems. (It’s his voice counting off the “One, two, three” before going into the instantly recognizable guitar riff that starts the song.) King died Aug. 22 at his Nashville home.
Patti Myint, 73
A longtime Nashville restaurateur, Myint opened opened International Market and Restaurant on Belmont Boulevard in 1975 with her husband, Win, introducing Nashville to Thai food long before the city developed a diverse food industry.
Myint and her husband became a resource for refugees from southeast Asia who were arriving in the Nashville area during that time.
She opened her second restaurant, P.M., in 2003.
C.M. Newton, 88
A native of Rockwood, Tennessee, Newton played on Adolph Rupp’s 1951 Kentucky national title team, coached three straight SEC championship teams at Alabama and served as Kentucky’s athletic director for 11 years.
He also was Vanderbilt’s basketball coach from 1981 to 1989. He led the Commodores to NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons, including a Sweet 16 run.
Newton was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2000 and was a member of several halls of fame.
Elliott Ozment, 71
Ozment, Nashville’s leading immigration attorney, died Oct. 16.
Founder and managing attorney of Ozment Law and a former Democratic Tennessee state lawmaker, Ozment had a reputation as a tenacious fighter for the underdog, including immigrants who had entered the country illegally.
His highest-profile case was that of Juana Villegas, who in 2008 was shackled during childbirth as she faced deportation. The case was eventually settled in 2013.
Charles Sargent, 73
Sargent was a state House member who became a driving force in shaping Tennessee finances during his two decades in office. He died Nov. 13.
The Franklin Republican was one of the senior members of the Tennessee General Assembly, where he headed up the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee to create the state’s budgets for the past eight years.
“When we talk about Tennessee’s outstanding financial condition, Charles is one of the people that should get a lot of credit,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.
Sargent also fought to secure more funding for Williamson County Schools and the Franklin Special School District.
Randy Scruggs, 64
Scruggs, a Grammy-winning musician, songwriter, producer and the son of banjo innovator Earl Scruggs, died April 17.
Over the course of his career, he played on hundreds of recordings, including two of country and roots music’s landmark albums: the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and John Hartford’s “Aereo-Plain.” He also produced the Dirt Band’s subsequent two “Circle” volumes as well as recordings by Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Iris DeMent and many more.
More than 100 of his songs were recorded over the years.
Daryle Singletary, 46
Singletary, a country singer best known for hits “Too Much Fun” and “I Let Her Lie” — both from his self-titled 1995 debut album — as well as ”The Note” and “Amen Kind of Love,” died unexpectedly at his Lebanon home Feb. 12.
Mary Louise Watson, 99
Watson made history by walking her daughter to school.
Watson, who died Dec. 10, walked daughter Barbara Jean to all-white Jones School in North Nashville the day segregation began in 1957.
Along with 11 other families, she helped desegregate six all-white schools in the city.
“I wanted my children to have a good chance to succeed, the same as everyone else,” Watson told The Tennessean in 2007. “Segregation never helped nobody.”
Tony Joe White, 75
White, who wrote the songs ”Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” died at his Leiper’s Fork home Oct. 24.
White was known for his deep, growling voice and potent “swamp rock” sound, which incorporated elements of blues, rock, country and R&B. His songs have been recorded by countless greats, including Dusty Springfield, Brook Benton, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings, Tina Turner and Elvis Presley, who recorded “Polk Salad Annie” and often performed it live.
Other Nashville-area notables who died in 2018:
• Ben Atchley, former state senator known as “Gentle Ben,” 88
• Sgt. Daniel Baker, Dickson deputy killed in line of duty, 32
• Stephanie Balmer, Harpeth Hall head of school, 50
• The Rev. Don Beisswenger, social justice activist and homeless advocate, 88
• Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Vanderbilt graduate and jewelry connoisseur, 76
• Bob Biles, aka ‘Roberto Bianco,’ Bluebird Cafe fixture, 72
• Stan Brock, global humanitarian and founder of Remote Area Medical, 82
• Pearl Joy Brown, who had a rare genetic condition yet defied the odds, 5
• Daedra Charles-Furlow, former Lady Vols basketball star, 49
• Jerry Chesnut, songwriter who penned hits for Elvis and George Jones, 87
• Mary Clinard, former TV personality, artist, athlete, politician, 92
• Turner Cockrell, Vanderbilt football player, 21
• “Irish” Billy Collins Sr., former boxer who was Nashville’s first Golden Glove national champion, 80
• Colleen M. Conway-Welch, former Vanderbilt nursing dean, 74
• John Coombs, Goodlettsville mayor, 72
• Johnny Daniel, longtime Dickson County dairy farmer, 69
• Roy A. Davis, founder of Cumberland Caverns, 88
• Lucas Davis, Brentwood High School football player, 16
• Bill Derrick, Father Ryan coach who integrated high school sports in Nashville, 88
• Lewis Donelson III, titan of Tennessee and Memphis politics, 100
• Frank Drowota, former Tennessee Supreme Court justice, 79
• Dr. Roy Elam III, founding director of Vanderbilt’s Osher Center, 71
• Bob Evans, founder of nonprofit Joseph’s Storehouse in Wilson County, 82
• Helen Farmer, longtime music industry and nonprofit executive, 92
• William Fisher, Spring Hill football assistant
• John Fleming, Nashville’s ‘dean’ of hotel managers, 66
• D.J. Fontana, Elvis Presley’s drummer, 87
• Dr. Burton Grant, Amy Grant’s father, 86
• Dr. Roland Gray, addiction treatment pioneer, 71
• Loniel Greene Jr., former Metro Nashville councilman, 37
• Johnny Guffee, fourth-generation Franklin native and former alderman, 73
• Rick Hall, Famed Muscle Shoals producer, 85
• Shirley Hardison, beloved Ryman Auditorium security guard, 80
• Joe Haynes, longtime former Democratic state senator, 81
• Dan W. Hogan, CapStar Bank chief operating executive officer, 56
• Jimmy Holt, legendary outdoorsman and former Metro councilman, 86
• Pamela Johnson, Nashville nonprofit leader, former OZ Arts VP, 68
• Bill Kelly, former head of Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse, 86
• Anne Kemp, former Gallatin city councilwoman, 79
• Mike Kennedy, George Strait’s drummer, 59
• Sam Delk Kennedy, former Daily Herald publisher, 91
• Johnny Kline, Harlem Globetrotters legend who lived in Lebanon, 86
• Denise LaSalle, “Queen of the Blues,” 78
• Lewis Lavine, nonprofit, business and government leader, 71
• Marilyn Lloyd, first woman elected to Congress from Tennessee for full term, 89
• Sondra Locke, Oscar-nominated actress, Tennessee native, 74
• Ron Lollar, state lawmaker, 69
• Jim Malloy, recording engineer for Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash
• Joe McConnell, original voice of the Tennessee Titans/Oilers, 79
• Herschel Moore, legendary Middle Tennessee football coach, 91
• Bethany “Bessy” Morse, Tennessee addiction recovery advocate, 34
• James “Nick” Nixon, blues musician, 76
• Kenny O’Dell, Grammy-winning “Behind Closed Doors” songwriter, 73
• Cano Ozgener, Nashville businessman and arts visionary, 81
• Peter Pressman, “father of Nashville’s running community,” 72
• Ann Robinson, longtime supporter of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 86
• Trent Seibert, investigative journalist, former Tennessean reporter, 47
• Ben Selecman, Nashville assistant DA, Alan Jackson’s son-in-law, 28
• Hazel Smith, songwriter and author who coined the term “outlaw music,” 83
• Jack Smith, former Hendersonville alderman, 94
• Mike Smith, former Fairview community servant, 54
• Gerry Stark, Fairview’s ‘volunteer extraordinaire,’ 85
• Diane Thorne, Middle Tennessee transit leader, 69
• Greg Walker, longtime voice of Austin Peay State University basketball, 70
• Jack Walton, longtime Williamson County commissioner
• John Ward, legendary Tennessee Vols radio voice, 88
• Lari White, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, 52
• Shannon Williams, beloved Smyrna High School teacher, 50
• Jimmy Work, “Making Believe” songwriter, 94
• Roy Wunsch, music executive who helped further careers of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, 75
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