Charles Willoughby, 82, Mt. Juliet, died Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Willoughby was the son of the late, A.H. and Edna Earl Pennington Willoughby. He was raised on the family farm in Morristown, and began milking cows at age 15 as part of the family’s Grade B dairy operation. The family moved to Mt. Juliet in 1946 and purchased Greenhill Farm, which had been widely known for bringing registered Jersey cattle to the area. The family continued the dairy operation with grade Holstein cattle. Charles was a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School, Class of 1947. He then enrolled at the University of Tennessee-Martin, where he began is agriculture major while playing football for two years. He transferred to UT-Knoxville and completed his degree in Animal Husbandry in 1951, and returned home to Mt. Juliet to become the principal operator of the dairy. He later received his Master’s Degree from TSU. While at UTK, Charles met his future wife, Dorothy Roach of Columbia. They were married in 1954, and started the family having two sons a few years later. Charles built the home in which they still reside on part of the family farm, moving in during 1960. During these years, he continued to run the dairy operation with 80 cows, and raised the majority of corn, hay, and silage needed for feed along with tobacco. He received the honor of Outstanding Young Farmer for Wilson County. In 1965, long-time friend and high school vocational agriculture teacher, Bill Coley, took a job with the state department of education and asked Charles to fill his vacant position at Mt. Juliet High School. He accepted the proposal and taught high school agriculture while maintaining the farming operation. With the sons growing old enough to take a greater role in the farm, Charles accepted an appointment as county Vocational Director in 1975. His duties under a federal vocational reform act were to oversee expansion of what was primarily agriculture and home economics into a diverse program to include metalwork, building trades, electronics, business, culinary arts, nursing and others. After the dairy farm was sold in 1980, Charles and sons transformed the farming operation into soybeans, wheat, beef cattle and hay; which were the main commodities produced on the farm today with the help of the grandchildren, Dale and Kate. Over the years, Mr. Willoughby has been a leader and mentor to men – youth and adult. While an FFA Advisor, he touched the lives of many young men and helped them develop the skills needed for employment and everyday life. He served as scout master, and was presented with the Long Rifle award. He has served as president of Mt. Juliet Kiwanis, Mt. Juliet Little League, and Tennessee Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. He has been a member of Hermitage and Cloyd’s Presbyterian Churches serving in Deacon and Elder positions, Building and Ground Committee and Missions Outreach. He has served on the Wilson County Commission, West Wilson Utility District Commission, and later on the Farm Bureau Board of Directors and UT Institute of Agriculture Development Board. Throughout his life, Willoughby continued to advise the operation of the farm and support agriculture in the community. He is a life member of the FFA Alumni, and was recently recognized as a member of the Tennessee FFA Foundation’s Century Club and the Wilson County Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Charles was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert Harvey Willoughby and David J. Willoughby and his son, Al Willoughby.
He is survived by: wife, Dorothy Roach Willoughby; son, Don Willoughby; daughter-in-law, Patty Willoughby; brothers, Dr. Bill (Jeanette) Willoughby and Dr. Joe (Betty) Willoughby; sister-in-law, Marjie Willoughby; grandchildren, Dale Willoughby, Kate Willoughby, Lisa Pratt and Steve Cannon.
Funeral services were Friday, Sept. 14 at Bond Memorial Chapel with Mike Reese and Jason Michaels officiating. Interment followed at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens. Active pallbearers will be Freddie Weston, Danny Tomlinson, Bill Coley, Wayne Griffin, Ray Griffin, Mack Moss, Bill Ligon, Louis Fletcher, Stant Eakes and Danny Eakes. Honorary pallbearers were Ilene’s Travel Bunch, Mt. Juliet FFA Alumni and fellow Agriculture Teachers from 1965-1976.
Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to the Green Hill Women’s Club or the Mt. Juliet FFA Alumni.
Visitation was Wednesday and Thursday at Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615)773-2663. Obit Line (615)641-2663, www.bondmemorial.com.