Willie Lee Tarver

Willie Lee Tarver

Monday January 1st, 1940 - Sunday April 4th, 2021
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Willie Lee Tarver transitioned to be with the Lord on Sunday, April 4, 2021, at a medical facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Willie was the only child of the late Tom and Elizabeth “Lizzie” James Tarver. He was born on January 1, 1940, in Midway, Alabama. He is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Amanda Purdy Tarver.

As a young man, Willie gave his life to Christ. After moving to Bristol, Tennessee in 1984, he became a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia, where he served on the deacon board and became a leader in the church for many years. Willie graduated from the Birmingham Public School System and went on to attend Miles College, also in Birmingham. Later in life, Willie returned to school to finish his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia.

Willie married Amanda Purdy, of Marked Tree, Arkansas, on February 11, 1966, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This union was blessed with three sons, Eric, Michael, and Kevin. He was a dedicated husband and a committed father to his family throughout his lifetime. He spent more than 20 years in the federal government as an administrator with the Job Corps, assisting thousands of young people earn their GEDs and learn a trade. He retired from Job Corps and embarked on a second career with the Bristol, Tennessee, Department of Housing, where he earned another retirement. Willie had a passion for helping and mentoring young people to reach their potential. He enjoyed tinkering with antique radios, and he loved to sing and play his guitar. Over the years, he was a member of several local gospel groups, performing throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

He is survived by immediate family members, sons, Eric DeWayne (Lucy) Tarver of, Hartford, Connecticut, Michael Eugene (Kim) Tarver, of Odenton, Maryland, Kevin Lee (Tanya)Tarver, of Harrison, Tennessee; grandchildren, Aaron, Joshua, Alyssa, Layla, and Serena; aunt, Annie Seale Tarver Tatum, of Union Springs, Alabama; brothers-in-law, Franklin D. (Mary) Purdy, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Jessie S. (Cheryl) Purdy, of Manassas, Virginia; sister-in-law, Rosie M. Purdy (Willie) Willis, of Luxora, Arkansas; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, church members, and friends.

A public viewing will take place from 2:00PM to 6:00PM EST on Friday, April 16th, at John P. Franklin Funeral Home located at 1101 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37404.

A homegoing ceremony will be held at 11:00AM EST on Saturday, April 17th, at Transforming Faith Baptist Church located at 5311 Upshaw Drive, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37416. Interment will follow at Lakewood Memory Gardens East.

All CDC mandates will be enforced at the church which include but are not limited to wearing a mask, social distancing, and assigned seating.

Arrangements by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Avenue, 423-622-9995.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday April 16th, 2021 | 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Friday April 16th, 2021 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    John P. Franklin Funeral Home
    1101 Dodds Avenue
    Chattanooga, TN 37404
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday April 17th, 2021 | 11:00am
    Saturday April 17th, 2021 11:00am
    Transforming Faith Baptist Church
    Address Not Available


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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 11:28am
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.Robert and Charlotte Young
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Posted at 07:58am
With deepest sympathy, Curtis, Marsha, CJ, Chase Drake
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Posted at 04:10pm
My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Willie’s family. I worked with Mr Willie for many years at Bristol Housing, assisting with inspections. Many fond memories. May precious memories bring you peace and comfort during this difficult time. With sympathy. Barbara Gentry

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