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Sunday, October 31, 2021

James Albert Leeper remembrance


Obituary of James Albert Leeper

“To everything there is a Season, And a time to every purpose under the Heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1


            “A time to be born”

            James Albert was born to Albert F. And Myrtle Leeper.


            “A time to die”

            James A. Leeper departed this life on October 29, 2021 at the NHC Health Care Rehabilitation Center, Kingsport TN.


            “A time to plant”

            James A. Leeper graduated from Swift High School in Rogersville, TN and was a retiree of Tennessee Eastman Company Chemical Division of Kingsport, TN.


            “A time to laugh”

            James had a comical sense of humor, he enjoyed making people laugh.


            “A time to dance”

            James enjoyed living a good life.


            “A time to love”

            James loved life and living in the now.


            “A time to mourn”

            James was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Helen Leeper; mother and father, Albert Franklin and Myrtle Leeper; and sisters, Estella Leeper and Cecil Leeper.

 James leaves to share his memories his daughter, Alana Denise Leeper of Church Hill, TN and Angela Leeper Waller of Little Elm, TX; brother, William Clifford Leeper of Church Hill, TN; nephews, Reggie Leeper and Billy Leeper; and niece, Tonya Leeper Johnson.


 The family would like to send a special thanks to the service and care provided to James from special friends and family, and especially cousins, Kathy Robinson Jones and Tosha Leeper.


 A graveside service will be held at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Church Hill Memory Gardens with Rev. Kenneth Calvert and Minister James W. Leeper officiating. 

All those wishing to attend are asked to meet at Carter-Trent Funeral Home in Church Hill at 2:15pm and are asked to please wear a mask.


Pallbearers will be Reggie Leeper, Kris Cantu, Kenny Martin, Jason Huff and Randy Leeper.


Online condolences may be sent to the family at


Carter-Trent Funeral Home in Church Hill is proudly serving the Leeper family.

Graveside Service3:00 pm - 3:30 pmTuesday, November 2, 2021Church Hill Memory Gardens 208 Lane StreetChurch Hill, Tennessee

Friday, October 29, 2021

Note from the Sons and Daughters Board of Directors


Now is the time to come to the aid of your Alumni Association.

The Douglass Board is seeking volunteers to help us in the planning process for the "DB Tribute to the Douglass Tigers" program on December 17, 2021.

This includes any alumni activities and events in the morning, in the afternoon, the alumni tribute program during the game, and also any alumni activities that follow the game.

If you have ideas and suggestions and want to volunteer to help out, you're asked to come to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass meeting on Saturday, November 13th at 1 PM.

Of course, we want our alumni tribute program to be better than the one that Langston is planning when DB comes to visit Science Hill dressed in the Douglass Gold and Blue on February 4th.  We can only do that, with your help.

Please RSVP your meeting attendance on November 13th  to:
Also, please pass this note around to make sure everybody gets it.

Right now, the meeting is scheduled for the Eastman Conference Room on the second floor of the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex tower, but if we have a lot of alumni, we'll move the meeting to a larger room. 


Douglas Releford, President
Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Inc.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Douglass Tigers Tribute Game is Back!


Flyer from 2020 Tribute Game

It's now official.

Dobyns-Bennett High School will pay tribute to the Douglass High School Tigers in the DB Buck Van Huss Dome on Friday, December 17, 2021.  The Tribe will once again be dressed in the gold and blue uniforms of our beloved Tigers on that night.

The opposing team will be none other than Science Hill of Johnson City, who will be dressed in the uniforms of the Langston High School Golden Tigers!

Talk about a game that we Douglass Tiger alumni all need to attend.....

Because of Science Hill's schedule, the game on the 17th is a men's varsity game only... the girls' teams will not compete on that night.

But while you're planning, pencil in Friday, February 4th, 2022... that's the night when DB goes to Johnson City to play Science Hill, with both teams in the uniforms of Douglass and Langston.  And both the Douglass Tigers and Tigerettes  and the Langston Golden Tigers and Tigerettes will be honored that night.

Your Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association is planning a program on December 17th that commemorates the biggest rivalry in the old Tri-State Athletic Conference.  We want our program to be bigger than the one that Langston alumni will have planned for February 4th.

The planning for our program begins on Saturday, November 13th, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Douglass Alumni board.  That meeting will be at 1 PM in the Eastman Conference Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex on the second floor.  Everyone with ideas and suggestions is urged to attend that meeting and future meetings to share any ideas.


Now is also a good time to start planning on getting our former Tigers basketball players ready to come and be honored on the 17th.  We lost two of our oldest players, William "Bud" Hickman and Richard Sensabaugh since the last program two years ago and we will be honoring them that night.  For the players who could not attend two years ago, now would be a good time to come back home.  They don't have to speak on the program unless they've got something to say.... just having them in the house sends a strong message of Douglass family.

Here are the dates again:

Saturday, November 13th:  Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board and planning meeting (other Saturday planning sessions up to game night will be set at the end of the meetings).

Friday, December 17th:  DB (Douglass) vs. Science Hill (Langston) basketball game in the Buck Van Huss Dome, varsity boys' game time and Douglass alumni program tba.

Friday, February 4th:  Science Hill (Langston) vs. DB (Douglass) in the Science Hilltopper Palace, Johnson City, both varsity boys and girls games' time and Langston alumni program tba).

Please spread the word.  We need an overflow of Douglass High School alumni on hand and ready to greet the Langston visitors on Friday, December 17th.  We are planning another reception for everybody before the game, and hopefully an alumni gathering afterwards at V.O. Dobbins.

More news to come!

Support the Local Children against Drug, Alcohol and Violence


Note:  Johnnie Mae's number is 423-429-7553.

Monday, October 25, 2021

‘We’re more than just a business:’ Uptown family bakery with a Douglass influence cooks for the Kingsport community

Amy Ferguson, Jacqueline Wood Ross and Lynette Reese and their bakery, the Uptown Family Bakery and ready to serve the people of Kingsport.  Jackie Ross is a Douglass Elementary School graduate and her daughter Lynette is a Douglass descendant.

By Marina Waters - courtesy the Kingsport Times-News

KINGSPORT — The owners of Uptown Family Bakery have overcome typical new business woes such as fixing plumbing issues, establishing the store set up and forming the bakery menu. But lately, their biggest task has been keeping up with the community’s appetite.

“We are learning to keep up with the rate at which things are selling,’ said Jacqueline Ross, the co-owner of Uptown Family Bakery. “The support has been overwhelming.”

The bakery has seen a steady flow of customers stopping by for cream cheese rolls, cinnamon rolls, Oreo whoopie pies, cupcakes and more.

The bakery opened last month at 129 E. New St. in Kingsport and has seen a steady flow of customers stopping by for lemon cookies, pumpkin rolls, cupcakes and more. Ross said last week a woman sat in her car just before 7:30 a.m. when the bakery opened hoping to snag cupcakes and cinnamon rolls just before another customer came in that morning, buying the rest of the batch of cinnamon rolls.

If you were to ask Ross what the bakery’s secret is, she’d likely say it comes down to three words she repeated multiple times while talking with the Times-News: made from scratch.

“We have old-fashioned baked goods that people are running after,” Ross said. “We have a cream cheese roll and a cinnamon roll that is made from scratch. People run after those. We bake a couple of pans a day, but we’re about to advance to three or four pans a day.

"We also make the old fashioned, made-from-scratch, homemade cakes, too. We do yellow cakes and vanilla buttermilk cakes with caramel icing. We can’t keep them.”

Ross manages the bakery while her daughter, Lynette Reese, puts her baking skills to the test. Reese honed her cooking experience while raising nine kids and taking a few notes when she worked at Rose Cottage Bakery, which once resided on Market Street in Downtown Kingsport.

Reese made everything from fresh bread to cookies at the former bakery, which left a spot in the community Ross and Reese hope to fill.

“Ever since they left we have had a desire to revive a bakery,” Ross said. “(Reese) worked there, and I bought a lot of stuff there. The owner used to joke and say I was one of the reasons she made it when she started out because I bought so much from her. Like people load up here, I used to load up on stuff there.”

Reese puts her own spin on a Rose Cottage classic, the cream cheese roll, which has been a best seller for Uptown Bakery.

“She’s got a little bit of a different recipe that’s a little more rich,” Ross said. “People love those cream cheese rolls.”

The bakery also offers gooey cinnamon rolls, lemon cookies, chess bars, pumpkin rolls, cupcakes, Oreo whoopie pies, brownies and cakes, which Ross and Reese both said are the most popular, next to the cinnamon rolls and cream cheese rolls.

The focus remains on old-fashioned desserts, but the family also strives to provide community members with what they’ve been waiting for — a community bakery.

“A man came in who lives downtown and said he passes here all the time and was waiting for us to open,” Ross said. “We’re surprised at the number of people who come in and have seen us working on things and say, ‘We’ve been waiting.’ They come in and they say, “we’ve been waiting.’ It’s been an outpouring of support.”

Ross and Reese might be surprised at how many batches of cream cheese rolls and cakes they’ve churned out since the bakery’s opening. But Ross likely isn’t surprised their family dream has worked as it has after envisioning the downtown storefront for many years.

“It just felt like the right time,” Ross said about opening the bakery. “I believe there is a time for everything. This was just a step of faith. It’s something we’ve had in our heart, to provide a community bakery.”

More than providing deserts and future lunch items and fresh-baked bread, Ross said what means the most is providing old-fashioned food and a comforting place for the community.

“It’s a connection to the community,” Ross said. “It’s not just a business. A lady came in the other day and said this has become one of my favorite places. She brought all of us to tears. She said, ‘It’s kind of like my refuge.’ It’s more than just buying stuff — she’s bought like three pumpkin rolls.

“It’s more than just coming to a business. We’re more than just a business.”

Uptown Family Bakery is open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (423) 765-0379 or go to

Riverview resident reflects on time with Gen. Powell


By Matthew Lane - courtesy the Kingsport Times-News

KINGSPORT — Longtime Kingsport resident Orvel Bond remembers Gen. Colin Powell as a good man, a smart officer and one who was fair to the enlisted men.

Bond, 95, served in the Army during the time Powell served, and they both were stationed in Germany in the early 1960s. In light of Powell’s passing earlier this week, Bond sat down with the Times News to talk about his time in the military and his memories of the famous general.

Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, died Oct. 18 from complications from COVID-19, his family said on Facebook.

Powell broke many barriers during his professional career. Under Ronald Reagan, Powell became the nation’s first Black national security adviser. Under George H.W. Bush, Powell became not only the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also the youngest person to hold the position.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell rose to the rank of four-star general and in 1989 was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

“I was in Germany when I met him, and he was about 25 years old,” Bond said. “This would have been in the late 1950s or early 1960s. He was in the headquarters and not allowed to associate with the enlisted men.”

Bond said he was stationed in Germany and France for about 13 years, rising to the rank of sergeant first class. Ultimately, Bond spent 22 years in the Army, then worked for Holston Defense for 27 years and finally the Times News for 20.

Over the years, Bond said he kept up with Powell’s career, watching him rise through the ranks while serving in several Republican administrations through the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

“I remember him for sure. He was a good solider, a good man and a smart man, and all the people close to him liked him,” Bond said. “I know Colin died not knowing my real name, and after I left France I never had contact with him again. I just wish his family well.”

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Calvin Simon remembrance


                      Calvin Edward Simon

       May 16, 1952 - October 5, 2021

With heavy hearts, the Simon family regrets announcing the passing of our beloved Calvin Simon.

Born in Kingsport, Tennessee to Henry “Buddy" Simon, Sr. and Pauline Shade Simon (both deceased).

His spouse Peggy Porter Simon of Texas preceded him in death on September 26, 2021.

Survived by two daughters: Shantell Simon Wade (David -TN), Shammara Simon Eppenger (TX), and mother of his daughters, Brenda Lyons Simon (NV); Four stepchildren: Gary Porter (TX), Vickie Porter Jackson (Marcus - TX), Calvin Porter (deceased - TX), Tammy Porter (TX); Three grandchildren, Mykhah Calvin Simon (TN), Marley Smith (TX), Gabriel Wade (TN), and ten step grandchildren (TX).

Siblings, Victor “Vic Danger" Simon (deceased) (survived by wife Gretta),  Danny “Pete” Simon (deceased) (survived by wife Jennifer), Spencer “Tootsie" Simon of Georgia, Earl “Peanut" Simon (survived by wife Lakitha of Texas)

Also survived by half-sister and brothers Nate Thurman (Deborah) of Alabama,  Linda Merriweather (Ned) of Alabama,  Henry “Buddy" Blackman Simon, Jr. (Michelle) of Ohio,  Jackie Simon Jackson (John) of California,  Terrence Lynn Simon of Ohio, a host of relatives including nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Calvin was a resident of Kingsport, Tennessee from 1952 to 1976, and Dallas, Texas from 1976 to 2021.

He was an alumnus of the Douglass Elementary School, and Dobyns-Bennett High School, both Kingsport, TN, graduating high school in 1970.

He served in the U. S. Army from 1973 to 1975 in Military Intelligence, 36 years as an electrician (member of the IBEW) and Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

Calvin was passionate about football, basketball, golf, chess, playing his guitar and especially “shooting the breeze" with his buddies.

No deliberate intent to leave anyone out, but please know that he had a long list of family and friends whom he cherished dearly.

Although recently his health began failing, he often spoke of having lived a full life and made his peace with Our Savior, requesting that little tears fall, and much laughter would fill the room and hearts of those he leaves behind.

As per his request, no funeral services will be held. A commemorative memorial will be held in Kingsport, Tennessee at a future date. Notice will be given in advance.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Meeting Postponed

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board meeting scheduled for Saturday, October 16th has been postponed to Saturday, November 13th.

Please watch for a reminder.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Meeting Notice: Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board


The Sons and Daughters of  Douglass Alumni Board will have its re-scheduled monthly meeting this coming Saturday, October 16, 2021.

The meeting will be at 1 PM in the Eastman Conference Room on the second floor of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, 301 Louis Street, Kingsport. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Marilyn Cox Underwood remembrance


CHURCH HILL – Marilyn Cox Underwood, 70, fell asleep quietly, peacefully at Holston Valley Medical Center on October 7, 2021 (heart complications) with her loving family by her side.

Marilyn was born on March 17, 1951, along with her twin sister Carolyn to Mr. and Mrs. Homer S. Cox. She was married to Charles R. Underwood, Sr. and had one son, Charles R. Underwood, Jr.

Marilyn was a faithful member of her church, the Lyons Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Church Hill, TN.  Some of her positions held included President of the Homecoming Board, member of the Missionary Society Board, the Deaconess Board, the Junior and Senior Choir, Church Delegates and Usher.  She passionately loved preparing and assuring in serving Holy Communion and believed the accomplishments of her Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

Marilyn was employed several years by the Kingsport Press and was personally recognized by the president of the company as an outstanding employee.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Charles R. Underwood, Sr.; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Homer S. Cox; her grandparents, George and Sallie Price; uncles and aunts, and a brother Sammie Cox.

Those left to cherish her memory, a son, Charles R. Underwood, Jr.;  her twin sister, Carolyn Harris (Tony); grandchildren, Tyreke and Tia Underwood;  brothers, Robert, Ronnie (Joyce), and Edward (Anita) Cox;  her sister, Alberta Haley;  an aunt, Elsie Mae Horn; and several nieces and nephews.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the family requests Marilyn to lie in repose on Monday, October 11, 2021 from 12:00 – 5:00 PM. 

Anyone who wishes may pay their final respects during that time frame.  Marilyn will be laid to rest at the Church Hill Memory Gardens alongside her dear beloved husband, Charles Reginald Underwood. 

A private graveside will be held at a later date, with Pastor Pamela Hoard officiating.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Work Opportunities and Job Preparedness in Riverview: Upcoming Chance to Better Your Life


Introductory sessions for  the WorkKeys Boot Camp will be conducted Thursday night.  

Two 30-minute workshops are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. at the Riverview Community Center, 285 Louis Street, entrance off Wheatley Street across from the tennis courts. 

This first session will focus on how to prepare for  the WorkKeys exam and how to use study materials.  Representatives from Eastman Chemical will also discuss employment opportunities and the WorkKeys requirement. Tutoring and assistance with applied math will be on tap for October 14th and 21st.  Each session is limited to 20 attendees, due to social distancing.  Major industries in Kingsport (Eastman) require a score of Gold or Platinum.

See the flyer above for additional information about the workshops.  For registration information, text contact information to 423-534-7626.

Workshops are sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, in partnership with Eastman, Regional Center for Applied Manufacturing, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority,  CONNECT - Eastman Resource Group, and Apprenticeship Tennessee.

What is WorkKeys?

National Career Readiness Certificate
Individuals who successfully complete the three WorkKeys assessments—Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents—earn the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate® (WorkKeysNCRC®), a valuable credential for students and job seekers seeking to verify foundational workplace skills. 

ACT WorkKeys also offers additional assessments to measure interests, values, and behaviors that can lead to greater job satisfaction.

Assessments - Scores range from 3 - 6 or Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum
Applied Math - Required for the NCRC

The Applied Math assessment measures critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and problem solving techniques for situations that actually occur in today’s workplace.  While individuals may use calculators and conversion tables to help with the problems on the assessment, math skills are still needed to think them through.

Graphic Literacy - Required for the NCRC

Workplace graphics come in a variety of formats, but all communicate a level of information. From charts to graphs, diagrams to floor plans, identifying what information is being presented and understanding how to use it are critical to success.

The Graphic Literacy assessment measures the skill needed to locate, synthesize, and use information from workplace graphics. 

Workplace Documents - Required for the NCRC

Employees need to be able to understand written text to do a job. The Workplace Documents assessment measures the skills people use when they read and use written text such as memos, letters, directions, signs, notices, bulletins, policies, and regulations on the job.

For more information, call (423) 534-7626.