Thomas Lee "Mr. Tommy" Knowles age 84 of Lebanon passed away November 1, 2019, at his home.
Born in the Gladeville Community, February 1, 1935, he was the only child of the late John Lee Knowles and Eveline Dobson Knowles.
He was a 1953 graduate of Lebanon High School and Middle Tennessee State University. He was an active member of Lebanon First United Methodist Church and the church Men's Club. He served in the Tennessee National Guard. After graduating from college, he taught woodworking at Lebanon High School and was assistant Football Coach. He later sold insurance and real estate before joining the Gannett Corporation at the Tennessean and Nashville Banner in the Circulation Department.
He rose through the ranks as District Manager of Circulation in Lebanon, Regional Circulation Manager, and then Director of Circulation for the Tennessean and Nashville Banner. He was very instrumental in the launch of circulation for USA Today. He was a past President of Southern Circulation Managers Association and member of International Circulation Managers Association.
He received the Clarence W. Bevinger Memorial Award in 1990. He was appointed to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Commission by Governor Lamar Alexander. He was a member of the TN Jaycees, Wilson County Sportsman's Club, helped to found the former Coles Ferry Recreation Club and past member of the Wilson County Fair Board. He was a Blue Ribbon Winner for his homemade ice cream. He was well known as the Easter egg man having sponsored many Easter egg hunts for children through the years.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his son, John Thomas "Johnny" Knowles; mother of his children, Sarah Margaret "Peggy" Massey Knowles.
He is survived by two daughters: LeAnne (Steve) Wood, Candace (Mark) Dodson; nine grandchildren: John Lee (Leigh) Knowles, Stewart (Madelyn) Knowles, Rebecca (Mark) Fallin, Lauren (John David) Rutledge, Lacey, Layne and Steven Wood, Morgan (Mark) Kendrick, Kendall (Katie) Dodson; five great-grandchildren: Mylee, Thomas, Reese and Andie Blair Knowles, Kennedy Anne Rutledge; special friend, Nina Faye Sutton.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2019, at 1 p.m. from the First United Methodist Church with Rev. David Hesson, Rev. Steve Wood and Rev. Danny Sellars officiating. Interment will be at Cedar Grove Cemetery. Active Pallbearers: John, Stewart and Tommy Knowles, Kendall Dodson, Steven Wood, Mark Kendrick, Mark Fallin, John David Rutledge, Andrew Shannon, Johnny Clark. Honorary Pallbearers: Kevin Harvey, Robert Hatton and Derrick Knowles, Ken Davis, Jay White, Nicky Bowen, Bill Lair, Otis Hackney, Jim Clemmons, Lyle Hayden, James Mason, Curtis Majors, Pat Bryant, Chris Crowell, Susan and Mark Gray, Alfred Adams, Dr. Morris Ferguson, Twyla and Butch Martin, Carol Jean Martin, members of Wilson Co. Sportsman's Club, Clayborns, Hardees and Burger King breakfast groups, men's group of First United Methodist, former circulation department of the Tennessean and Banner. A special thanks to Ann Robinson his caregiver.
Visitation Monday 3 to 7 p.m. at Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home and Tuesday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bryant Chapel of First United Methodist Church.
Memorials may be made the First United Methodist Church or the Alzheimer's Association.
Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home of Lebanon, 615-444-2142. www.ligonbobo.com.