Salute to a pair of Sevierville’s finest

Mar. 09, 2014 @ 08:34 PM

The generation of Americans who guided the country after World War II are widely regarded as the “Greatest Generation.”

Over the past month, we’ve lost two such men in Sevier County.

This past Tuesday, Amos Marshall, 95, died — just weeks after James “Chief” Atchley passed at age 86.

The pair provided shining examples of the reason Tom Brokaw coined the often-used phrase to describe those who grew up during the Great Depression and strived to better America in the years that followed.

Both men were guided by their beliefs, and took proactive steps to better our community through their own sacrifice and service.

Each was a WWII veteran and donated years of his life to benefit our area. Atchley was a key player in the growth and improvement of much of fire protection across the county.

While working with the Sevierville/Sevier County Fire Department, where he served for years as chief, Atchley helped several other local community volunteer fire departments get their start. He was also involved in getting the county’s first E-911 dispatch center into operation.

“He had just meant so much through his work and his volunteerism,” said Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley, a cousin and longtime neighbor.

“He never looked for glory, he never looked for recognition, he did his job. And he did it to almost perfection.”

Marshall, a longtime employee and retiree of Oak Ridge National Laboratories, was an alderman in Sevierville for 24 years and during his time on the board Sevierville flourished. The city saw the construction of the community center and the establishment of our city parks during that time as well as accelerating growth.

He was also instrumental in creating local community groups — helping Sevierville establish its first Little League Baseball charter, the first Cub Scout troop and the Sevierville Teen Board. 

“He was a big fan of recreation and doing stuff for kids,” Mayor Atchley said.

These were two men who contributed to Sevierville become what it is today. They didn’t wait for their community to get better, they stepped up to the plate and helped make it happen.

The community mourns their deaths. As do we.