Frank Eugene Ricketts passed away in the early morning hours of June 24, 2020 at the age of 91. Gene was born in his parents’ home in Blount County, Tennessee on March 5, 1930. He was a cherished son of Frank Benjamin Ricketts and Nannie Sue Thomas, both now deceased. He died at the Summit View Assisted Living facility in Chattanooga, TN where he had lived since age related health issues required daily assistance for his care. His death was preceded by the deaths of his brothers Ralph, Charles, Jimmy and of his sister Marie.
Gene spent his youth in the Maryville-Alcoa area of east Tennessee. He learned the skills of a mechanic working at his father’s garage. He joined the U.S. Army in 1950 and was proud of his time served in Korea. After his Honorable discharge from the Army in 1953, he began working as a ground equipment mechanic for American Airlines at the McGhee-Tyson airport. He continued to work for American Airlines until his retirement. Besides McGhee-Tyson, he worked at the El Paso, TX and Nashville, TN and Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX airports.
In 1955 he married Ivadene Lee after her divorce. Gene took on the roles of husband to Ivadene and dad to her 6 year old son Jerry and raised him as his very own. Gene and Ivadene remained married and devoted to one another for 63 years until her death in November of 2017. Gene was always a good neighbor no matter where they lived and when the couple settled down for their retirement in Louisville, TN he became the neighborhood handyman for many years, even as he became the sole caretaker for Ivadene when she became disabled with Alzheimer’s. During the earlier years in Louisville, Ivadene became a well recognized artist in the area and Gene supported her by custom framing her paintings, travelling with her to the many art shows in the region, and even gained his own fame through the hand-crafted walking sticks and canes that he created from trees and branches that they discovered as they took their many and frequent walks on quiet trails in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains.
At the time of his passing, he was a member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Louisville, TN. He leaves behind a legacy of friendship, love and faithfulness to all who knew him, and all who knew him well and all who loved him will agree that This was a Man.
Gene is survived by his sister Wanda Jenkins and his brother Donald Lyn and the boy he raised to manhood as his own, Jerry Lee Latham and Jerry’s son Joseph Lyle Latham.
Gene was laid to rest in the Chattanooga National Cemetery next to his beloved Ivadene. Memorial Services are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at St Mark’s United Methodist Church, 3359 Louisville Road, Louisville, TN. In place of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, New Hope, (www.blountkids.org), or the charity of your choice.
Condolences and memories can be shared at www.williamsonandsons.com.
Arrangements are by Williamson and Sons Funeral Home, 8852 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
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