Dr. T. Ross Averitt, O.D., a beloved doctor who helped several of generations of patients see more clearly the beauty in the world, died peacefully in his home on Thursday, September 10, 2020. He was 82. He died as he lived, on his own terms and surrounded by those whom he loved most.
He combined a worldly intellect with a folksy and unhurried “country doctor” charm, which made his patients feel comfortable and loved. He was a man of principle and character who found life simple: he knew what the right thing was and he always did the right thing. He knew what was important: God, his family, his patients and his community. He never missed his children’s ball games and was never too busy to help anyone. He had been a proud member of the First United Methodist Church since 1966.
Although he could have lived anywhere, he fell in love with Lebanon and knew he never wanted to live anywhere else. It provided the setting for him to live his perfect life with his wife, Mary Helen, and raise Teresa, Kelly, Stanley and Amy. He relished family dinners, where daily happenings and life lessons were shared as the delicious homemade dishes were passed around the table. His life provided the best example to his children, but he also inspired them by unforgettable stories from his childhood, as well as others he picked up along the way. He enjoyed working on his farm to unwind after a busy day of work.
He also embraced the philosophy that it was important to give back to the community that had blessed him, so he served as Wilson County Commissioner of District 19. He was devoted to the Wilson County Jail Ministries for several years.
Born May 16, 1938, he and siblings Linda and Jack were raised in Livingston, Tenn., by their father, Thurman Averitt, the founder of Averitt Express, and his warm and loving mother, Colah.
He was a 1956 graduate of Livingston Academy. He graduated in 1959 from Tennessee Polytechnical Institute (now Tennessee Tech University) and the Southern College of Optometry in 1962.
He served as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1965. After his honorable discharge, he moved to Lebanon and opened his optometry practice, where he worked until he retired in 2013.
He was committed to growing and expanding the field of optometry and served as a member of the Tennessee Optometric Association since 1963. He served as president of that organization as well as The Lebanon Lions Club, an organization to which he devoted decades of his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Colah and Thurman Averitt; and his wife, Mary Helen Averitt; brother, John Robert Averitt; and grandson, Benjamin Paul Averitt.
He is survived by his brother, Jack Averitt; sister Linda Tipton; daughters Teresa Averitt Barlow (Tim) and Amy Averitt Wheeler (Mike); sons Kelly Vaughn Averitt (Audrey) and Stanley Ross Averitt (Kelly J.); grandchildren Joel Barlow, Sarah Beth Barlow, Emily Averitt, Daniel Averitt, Samuel Averitt, Hailey Averitt Mulligan (Richard), Hannah Averitt, Andrew Averitt, Mattie Averitt, Stephen Wheeler (Shelby), Mary Ruth Wheeler Jones (Duncan) and Julia Wheeler; and one great-grandson, Jasper Andrews.
Pallbearers are Kelly Averitt, Stanley Averitt, Andrew Averitt, Joel Barlow, Tim Barlow, Mike Wheeler, Stephen Wheeler and Duncan Jones.
Visitation will be held at Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home, 241 West Main St, Lebanon, on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 2-6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 13, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The funeral will be held at First United Methodist Church on Sunday at 2 p.m. with Rev. Ryan Bennett and Rev. David Hesson officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at Wilson County Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to Volunteers in Mission thru Lebanon First United Methodist Church.
The service will be live streamed at lebanonfumc.com
Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home, 615-444-2142, www.ligonbobo.com.