Don Bass

Don Bass

Don Bass, 84, died peacefully at his home before dawn on Christmas morning.

Don was born on Oct. 21, 1937, to Aaron and Ellen Frances Hudson Bass on a farm near Watertown.

His boyhood during the hard years of the 1930s and World War II laid the foundation for an unending belief in the importance of hard work and family.

Don graduated from Watertown High School in 1955 and moved to Nashville with his new bride, the former Marie Hayes.

Rising early, Don delivered milk in Donelson before becoming a State Farm Insurance agent. Many of his first customers were the families that he had met delivering milk. His career was highly successful because of his friendly smile, cheerful optimism, and desire to work hard in the rapidly-growing Donelson/Hermitage area.

For several years Don was State Farm’s top sales agent in the United States. On his best days, he would write 10-12 new policies each day. In the 1980s, Don built his own office building in Hermitage and later started an equally-successful career as a real estate investor in Hermitage and Mt. Juliet.

Don’s life encompassed far more than business. He was a member of the Donelson Lions Club for more than 40 years. Lions International recognized him as a Melvin Jones Fellow, the organization’s highest honor for community service.

He served on the community board of Wilson Bank & Trust.

A charter member of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Don served as a trustee and treasurer for many years. In his later years, he was an active member of Donelson Presbyterian Church.

Most of all, Don was happy when he was together with friends and family. He shared monthly lunches with his Watertown High School friends. He and his two brothers never missed being together on Christmas. He cherished his role as Pop or Pops for all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When Don met people, he routinely and unabashedly asked about their age, marital status and homeplace — not just to collect data and make conversation, but because he was genuinely interested in everyone he met.

In later years, Don was most at peace on the deck of his lake house in the woods at Center Hill watching the water, the birds and leaves shifting in the morning breeze. To anyone nearby, he would contentedly say, “I hope heaven is like this.”

Don was preceded in death by: his parents; first wife, Marie Bass; daughter, Debi King; and great-grandchildren, Samuel Clark, River King.

He is survived by: his wife, Judy; daughter, Donna Bell (Darrell); and step-children, Sandie Harper (Brooks), Nancy Harbolic (Bobby) and Greg Holzmeyer (Renee).

His grandchildren are Heather Hayes (Matt), Stephen Bell (Sabrina), Jacob Bell (Talon), Tatum Clark (Herby), Josh (Heather) and Zach King (Nikki). Step-grandchildren are Reese (Taylor Gonyea), Noah (Anna Cole), Lily Harper, Aimee Harper, Wilson Harper, Paul Holzmeyer (Mike), Rebecca Sells (Justin) and Hannah Danser (Dylan).

His extended family includes: his devoted brothers, Ray Bass (Bonnie), Bobby Bass (Sandra); his sisters-in-law, Ruth Loper, Linda Dickens (Clarence), Mary Kaye Jordan (Louis); and son-in-law, David King (Sonja). He is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as many friends in the Hermitage community, State Farm, and Wilson Bank & Trust.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, with Dr. Paul Casner, the pastor at Donelson Presbyterian Church, officiating. The service will also be live-streamed at

Visitation will precede the service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m and also at the Hunter Funeral Home in Watertown on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In concern for one another, the family requests masks be worn at both visitation and the celebration of life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Donelson Presbyterian Church, Hermitage Hills Baptist Church or

Alive Hospice.

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