James Earl Longley, 93, of Collegedale, passed away on Saturday, March 4, 2017, in a local health care facility.
He was born on July 14, 1923, and grew up on a farm on Prospect Church Road between Collegedale and Apison, the third of six children. He was the son of the late George Emmett and Elsie Elizabeth Tallent Longley. He was a long time member of the Apison Baptist Church.
After attending Apison Elementary School and finishing in 1937, he attended Ooltewah High School and graduated from Chattanooga Vocational School in 1942. He worked briefly for Atlas Power Company before serving two years un the United States Navy during World War II aboard the USS Blair, crossing the Atlantic Ocean 28 times on convoy duty.
After his tour of duty in the Navy he worked at McLean Auto Machine Service, Sharp Auto Machine Shop and Tittle Auto Company, all in Chattanooga before opening his own auto repair business, Longley’s Garage in Collegedale in 1955.
In 1964 he began driving a school bus for the Hamilton County School System until retiring in 2004. He enjoyed and never forgot the children who rode with him.
Restoring antique Model T and Model A Fords was a hobby that perfectly fit his interest and line of work. He loved spending time working on old cars and attending car meets with his antique car buddies. He was a member of the Chickamauga Regional Antique Automobile Club of America for many years resulting in many close and lasting friendships. He also loved traveling and site-seeing across the country with family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte Evelyn McGhee Longley, granddaughter, Allison LeAnn DeFriese, sisters, Gladys Dodson, Eva Kirkland, brother, F.G. Longley and sister-in-law, Dorothy McGee.
Survivors include his children, Charlotte Alicia (Kenneth) Wilson of Albertville, Al., Stephen Earl Longley of Cleveland, and Candace LeAnn (John) TeHennepe of Chattanooga, three grandchildren, Greg Glover of Jackson, Wy., Amy Perdue of Franklin, Tn., Amanda DeFriese Harwood (James) of Grandview, Tn., four great-grandchildren, Ella and Seth Glover, Paul and Collis Perdue, sisters, Bettye Jean (David) Knisley, Martha Settle, sister-in-law, Dot Longley, and several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Life Care Center of Ooltewah for their patience, understanding, support, love and care for him during the past couple of years.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, in the chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel with Mr. Bill Hullander and the Reverend Jim Herman officiating. Interment will be at a later date.
The family will receive friends from 12-2 p.m. at the funeral home.
Please share your condolences and memories with the family on our website at www.ChattanoogaEastBrainerdChapel.com
Arrangements are by Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, 8214 E. Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37421.