James Thomas “J.T.” Whitehead departed this life on September 28, 2020, at the age of eighty-three. He was born on June 2, 1937, in Marshall County, Tennessee, the only son of James Eddie and Ruby Elizabeth Collins Whitehead. He married Jeanette Voss on August 31, 1963.
J.T. was a proud member of the 1956 graduating class of Forrest High School in Chapel Hill and looked forward to their annual reunions in his later years. After attending business college for two years, he embarked on a career in the freight business. Over a span of 34 years, he worked for White Motor Express, Huber & Huber, Franklin Motor Express, Harpeth Freight Line, Brown Freight Line, and Circle Delivery. In 1990, he joined Allied Electric Motor Company in Nashville and served as owner and president for nearly 30 years.
J.T. was a faithful member of the Church of Christ at Millview, where he served as an elder for more than 30 years. There he supported the youth group, served in the jail ministry, fellowshipped with the 39ers, and often locked up the church building before welcoming friends and family into his home for Sunday lunch. J.T. thrived as a member of the K Club for more than 50 years and for decades as one of three “J.T.’s” in the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA). In the 1980s, he helped establish the Millview Community Club swimming pool.
A lover of nature, animals, and people, J.T. never met a stranger. In addition to dabbling in horticulture and raising cows, chickens, peacocks, guinea pigs, and a parade of faithful dogs and barn cats, one of his truest joys was discussing the local history and ancestry of the various Middle Tennesseans he met. If you talked with him for more than a few minutes, (and it was impossible not to), he would make a connection with someone you had in common. J.T. believed in hard work, and was barely home from his day job before heading out the door for several hours to tend his land. He continued working both indoors and out the weekend before he entered the hospital.
J.T. was devoted to family members past and present, serving as the memory keeper and reunion-captain for the Whitehead and Ely families. He rarely missed a Decoration Day and delighted in his children, grandchildren, and great grandchild. J.T. is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jeanette (Voss) Whitehead; three children, Lori (Keith) Jones of Franklin, Tommy (Kerri) Whitehead of Knoxville, and Mike (Shannon) Whitehead of Franklin; twelve grandchildren, Janae (Will) Richter, Katherine (Ben) Buchanan, Daniel Callicoat, Caroline Whitehead, James Walker Whitehead, Parker Whitehead, Abigail Callicoat, Kinsley Jones, Carson Whitehead, Paxton Whitehead, Kaylor Jones, and Porter Whitehead; one great grandson, Drew Richter; and a sister, Mary Etta Pratt. He was preceded in death by sisters Ella Mae Hickman and Elizabeth Wood, and by his parents, Eddie and Ruby Elizabeth Collins Whitehead.
Visitation with the family will be from 4 PM until 8 PM on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Lawrence Funeral Home. The funeral service will be conducted at 10 AM on Friday, October 2, 2020 from the Chapel of Lawrence Funeral Home with Jeremy Hall and Jamie Pratt officiating. Interment will follow in Reed Walker Cemetery near Chapel Hill, TN.
Daniel Callicoat, Will Richter, James Walker Whitehead, Carson Whitehead, Ben Buchanan, Parker Whitehead, Paxton Whitehead, Porter Whitehead, Kevin Pratt, and Jamie Pratt will serve as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to either the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Fund or Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch. The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the medical staff of Williamson Medical Center for caring for J.T. in his last week of life.
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