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William's Story

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Sept. 8, 1919—Oct. 16, 2015 William Franklin Gracy, known to all as “Dub,” passed away Oct. 16, 2015, at the age of 96 in Crossville. He was born Sept. 8, 1919, in Davidson, TN, to Curtis and Etta Mae. Born fourth in a family of six children, he had two brothers and three sisters. The Gracy family moved to Miami, FL, from Davidson in 1925. Dub attended Miami Edison Senior High School where he was the school’s star quarter back. He also played the positions of pitcher and shortstop for the school’s baseball and softball teams, lettering in all sports. His favorite sports and hobbies included softball, boating, golf, guns, baseball and football. Shortly after graduating from high school, Dub enlisted in the United States Navy July 30, 1941, as a third-class Yeoman. During WWII, he learned to decode messages sent from Japan and spent two years at Pearl Harbor. The Navy later stationed him in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he continued his passion for softball as the team’s pitcher for the Navy Section Base. Often featured in the sport’s section of the Miami Herald, Dub was described as “Metropolitan Miami’s No. 1 pitcher with a well-rounded arsenal of pitching weapons.” It was at this time that Dub met Jean, the love of his life, during an outing at a local Fort Lauderdale beach. As fate would have it, they both chose the same sandwich shop for lunch. Dub walked in and saw a beautiful young vision standing before him next to the juke box. Trying to figure out how to approach her, he suggested that she select a certain song. In a rather flirty manner she replied, “Well, this is my nickel. Why don’t you make your own selection with your nickel?” After some casual conversation, Dub explained he was on the Navy Section Base softball team and invited her to attend the game that evening. He humbly decided not to mention he was the team’s star pitcher! He would let her find that out for herself. Of course, Dub pitched a winning game with many more victories to follow. Dub and Jean became engaged Dec. 25, 1943. At the end of the war in 1945, he was honorably discharged with the rank of first-class Yeoman. In February 1946, Dub and Jean got married. They settled in Miami Springs, FL, where he began a long and successful career in the airline industry. He first worked for Pan American Airlines where he also continued to play softball for the Pan American Clippers. He later worked for Northeast Airlines as the station manager until the company was acquired by Delta Airlines, where he continued as station manager. His jobs took him to such places as Havana, Panama, Bermuda and Nashville. While in Bermuda, Dub was an ambassador not only for Delta but also for the island. He was a gracious, kind and friendly individual who never met a stranger. Throughout his 37-year airline career, he was regarded as a top role model, leading by example. Dub and Jean were always searching for opportunities to serve God and their church. To all his family and multitude of friends he will be remembered as someone who was extremely compassionate and generous with his time. During the early 1960s, Dub joined Big Brothers of America and was active with the organization for several years. It was during his service as a Big Brother that he met and mentored two very special boys, Powell and Frank. Dub and Jean embraced these boys, adopted them and together raised their sons. It was their commitment to accepting Christ’s love and passing it on that is their legacy. In January 1984, Dub retired from Delta while living in Nashville. In 1985, they built their retirement home in Fairfield Glade on the golf course where he could continue to enjoy his passion for the sport. He was president of the Men’s Golf Association, corporate sponsor chairman of the Member-Member Tournament in 1990, and a member of the Fairfield Glade Golf Council. Dub was also active in community service having served in both the Fairfield Glade Rotary Club and United Fund for Cumberland County. Between 1989 and 1991, he held the offices of second vice-president, vice-president and president of the United Fund. He served on the board from 1986 through 2001. Dub is survived by his son, Frank, and sister, Helen, along with many adoring nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his wife of over 62 years, Jean; their son, Powell; and also his siblings, Louise, Irene, Jack and Malcolm. Family and friends are invited to share in the celebration of Dub’s amazing life at Fairfield Glade Community Church Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. The church is at 521 Snead Dr., Fairfield Glade, TN 38558. The office number for the church is (931) 484-7412. The committal will take place following the service at the church’s columbarium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider making a donation in memory of William F. Gracy to Fairfield Glade Community Church or to the United Fund of Cumberland County. Dub’s family is extremely grateful to Pastor Laurie Hill and the members of Fairfield Glade Community Church where Dub and Jean established many friendships and served faithfully. The fellowship of this wonderful church enabled Dub and Jean to fully enjoy their retirement. During this time, God sent an angel by the name of Tina Ward into their lives. She was their devoted housekeeper and caretaker, enabling them both to enjoy an independent life for many years. Dub and Jean’s loving spirit continues to live on in all the many lives they touched, generously giving the best gift of all— their time. “The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.” —“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren
Published on  November 9, 2015
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