- [S106] The Mountain Press, 19 Mar 2007.
Friends, family gather for 100th Wade's birthday
March 19, 2007
SEVIERVILLE - On March 14, 1907, Dwight Robert Wade made his entrance into the world.
One hundred years later, Wade is still kicking - having influenced the lives of many in Sevier County. So influential was Wade that Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley issued a proclamation that declared March 14, 2007 as Dwight Robert Wade, Sr. Day.
His longevity, it seems, came from having good women in his life along the way.
"He's been taken care of very well in his life," son Gary Wade said. "First by his mother, then by his wife and now by his housekeeper."
His father agreed, as a 100 year lifespan poured through his memory.
"You can't live a long time like I have," Dwight Wade said, "without having good people in your life."
Wade's legacy on Sevier County spans many history books.
He was a member of the first graduating class at Sevier County High School. He gained fame as a member of the so-called "scoreless wonders" football team.
"It was the fall of 1923 and I played halfback and quarterback," Dwight said. "The regular quarterback's dad wouldn't let him travel to away games, so I was the quarterback on the road.
"We didn't score. We came very close to it, but we never could quite get there. I weighed about 108 pounds and the biggest player on our team weighed about 150. The other teams were always so much bigger."
After graduating from high school, Dwight's influence settled into Sevier County's economy. He opened Wade's Department Store in downtown Sevierville in 1929.
"We didn't have much of a good year that year," Dwight said. "It was during the Great Depression. But the next year was pretty good."
In fact, the next 42 years went well, as Wade's became a staple of Sevier County until 1971.
If anyone truly knows Dwight Wade, it would be Jimmy Turner. Turner, 93, worked alongside Dwight from 1934 until 1970.
"I could always work well with him," Turner said. "We knew a lot of people, because it was necessary to find out one's background before giving them store credit.
"He was a very serious businessperson and he liked to be pretty sure of his investments. That was important to him. He's just a good fella."
While running the business, Dwight and his wife had four sons - Gary, a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, Dwight Jr., Ken and Sid. He is a grandfather of six and has six great-grandchildren.
Wade, whose claims to fame also include being the oldest member of First Baptist Church in Sevierville and the only charter member remaining of the Sevierville Lion's Club, remains in solid health.
"Our hope for him is that he'll make it another 10 years," Gary said, "so that he can be at the hundredth birthday parties of his friends."
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 8 Nov 2008.
Dwight Robert Wade, Sr.
March 14, 1907 - November 08, 2008
Birthplace: Sevier County, Tennessee
Resided In: Sevierville Tennessee USA
Visitation: November 10, 2008
Service: November 10, 2008
Cemetery: Shiloh Cemetery, Pigeon Forge
Wade, Dwight Robert, Sr. - Age 101, died on Saturday, November 8, 2008. Born in the Boyds Creek Community of Sevier County Tennessee on March 14, 1907, he graduated from Sevier County High School in 1924 and attended Maryville College, Carson Newman, and the University of Tennessee, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In 1929, he founded Wade’s Department Store in Sevierville, a business he owned and operated until his retirement in 1971. A veteran of the Army National Guard and a participant in the Civilian Conservation Corp., he was the last surviving charter member of the Sevierville Lions Club. He served as a member of the board of directors of Sevier County Bank for 53 years. A devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Sevierville since age 12, he was, until his death, the church’s longest active member.
He was preceded in death by wife, Kate Reagan Wade and son, Sidney Paul Wade, of Sevierville; his father, Robert Ira Wade, and his mother, Mary Victoria Atchley Wade of Sevierville; and his sister, Anna Wade Morris and brother-in-law, Kenneth C. Morris, of Clinton, Tennessee; brothers-in-law and sister-in-law, Clint L. Reagan, Clell H. Reagan, and Hazel Reagan Ford.
He is survived by his three sons and daughters-in-law, Dr. Dwight R. Wade, Jr. and wife, Jan B. Wade of Knoxville; Kenneth R. Wade and wife, Marion Paul of Gatlinburg; Justice Gary R. Wade and wife, Sandra F. Wade of Sevierville; grandchildren, Dwight Robert Wade, III and wife, Meg Johnson Wade of Memphis; Holly Wade Kelly and husband, William J. Kelly, III of Darien, CT; Kathryn Alexis Wade of Knoxville; A. Zachary Wade and wife, Tasha Sims Wade of Seiverville; Katherine Wade Loveday and husband, Todd Loveday of Sevierville; and Gigi Wade of Washington, D.C.; great-grandchildren, William J. Kelly, IV and Kathleen Reagan Kelly of Darien, CT; Chloe Johnson and Caleb Johnson of Memphis; William Ethan Schuch of Knoxville; Gretchen Sidney Wade and Chaz Nicolas Wade of Sevierville; and Taegan Grace Loveday and Claire Victoria Loveday of Sevierville; brother-in-law Clyde Reagan and wife, Helen Moody Reagan, of Nashville. Caretakers, Dora Corn and Debbie Smith and bookkeeper, Sherri Dunahoo.
A memorial service will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 10, 2008 at the First Baptist Church in Sevierville with Rev. Dr. Randy Davis and Rev. Dr. Jan B. Wade officiating. The family will receive friends from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. preceding the service. Interment will be held at Shiloh Cemetery at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 11, 2008. Grandsons and granddaughters will serve as pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Sevierville, 317 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862. Arrangements have been made by Atchley Funeral Home of Sevierville, 118 E. Main Street, Sevierville, TN 37862, www.atchleyfuneralhome.com.