James R. “Jimmy” Tate, age 71 and a lifelong resident of Mt. Juliet, TN, died Aug. 18, 2020.
Born April 12, 1949, to the late Robert and Kathleen Hibbett Tate of Mt. Juliet, Mr. Tate was a 1967 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School and received a degree in history from Cumberland College. After graduation, he and a friend drove north through the United States and into Canada just to say they did.
He owned and operated the family farm, Pine Springs Farms, while simultaneously holding other jobs throughout his life, retiring in 2001 from the U.S. Postal Service after a 27-year career. He fulfilled both union duties and rural route delivery, enjoying face-to-face communication with his customers, their yard sales, and their delicious holiday treats.
He took his wife, Linda Martin Tate, to Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam for their first date, and they married at the home of two former Mt. Juliet mayors, N.C. and Jenny Bess Hibbett in 1984. He embraced her children as his own, helped them learn to be good stewards of the land and the community, and like all good dads, frequently asked when they’d last checked the oil in their vehicle.
For 16 years, Mr. Tate was elected to the Wilson County Commission for his district and was quoted in The Lebanon Democrat for cursing its reporter, although privately claimed he was just expressing his feelings and there was no “you” attached to the admitted profanity.
He was past president of the Mt. Juliet Kiwanis Club, past board member of the Mt. Juliet/West Wilson Chamber of Commerce, charter member of the Mt. Juliet/West Wilson Historical Society, and a charter member of the Mt. Juliet/West Wilson Big Brothers.
After his retirement from the USPS, Mr. Tate turned his attention to model trains. He was former president of the Music City Chapter of the Train Collectors Association, worked on the annual Kid’s Christmas Train Show in Nashville, and the model train layouts at both the Wilson County Fairgrounds and the Mt. Juliet Library. He joined several boards of directors, serving as president of the West Wilson Utility District Board of Commissioners until last year.
Mr. Tate was a member of Mt. Juliet Church of Christ, and his family was instrumental in the charter of Cloyd’s Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
He was active in early Mt. Juliet haunted hayrides, loved UT-Knoxville football games, and enjoyed calling his friend’s children on Christmas Eve pretending he was Santa. He often tried to win on the Nashville radio WSIX’s Liar’s Club, and was once filmed by a local television station herding cows in full dirty overall regalia, yelling “sucka, sucka, sucka” which was not how he normally called them. He delighted in a good practical joke and extolled the use of duct tape. He had a story about every inch of Mt. Juliet and most of Wilson County.
Mr. Tate was able to stay at home for the majority of his long illness and only needed a long-term care facility beginning last year. Because of mandatory isolation required for long-term care facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restricted visitation policies made things difficult. Like so many older people in this forced isolation, it drained him.
His family is grateful for the time allowed with him at Nashville’s Alive Hospice before his passing and gives special thanks to home health caregivers Chimea (Mea) Dyers, Mike Didio, Sr., Mary Holt and Richard Howard.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Tate is preceded in death by his cousins, whom he loved as brothers, N.C. Hibbett and John Wayne Everett of Mt. Juliet.
He is survived by wife of 35 years, Linda Martin Tate; sons, Jeff Martin (Georgia) and Eddy Martin; daughters, Lori Martin Barnes (Jeffrey) and Beth Martin Jones (Cory); three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; nephews of heart, Robert “Bobby” Hibbett (Kelly), Johnny Hibbett (Susan) and Tommy Hibbett (Lynda); and beloved friend and long-term caregiver, Richard Howard (Patricia).
Due to the increasing spread of the COVID-19 virus in Wilson County, services were held graveside at Caraway Cemetery in Gladeville Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, with Pat Hackney officiating. Active pallbearers will be sons and nephews. Honorary pallbearers will be employees of the West Wilson Utility District and members of the Music City Chapter of the Train Collectors Association.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mt. Juliet Church of Christ Building Fund, Tennessee Central Train Museum, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Alive Hospice.
Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615) 773-2663. www.bondmemorial.com