Soddy Daisy Community Library Mourns Loss Of Founding Board Member Diana “Dee” Heath

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Diana Dee Heath
Diana Dee Heath

Well known Soddy Daisy resident Diana “Dee” Heath, a founding board member of the community’s first and only public library, died Sunday at age 73.

The widow of Benjamin E. Heath, Mrs. Heath moved with her husband to Tennessee from Ohio following their retirement.

“She was a feisty lady,” said Curtis Cecil, owner of KELKURT Media, a video production company which now shares quarters with Soddy Daisy Community Library. “She was the inspiration for all this. She was our first volunteer and a member of our founding board of directors. She definitely will be missed.

The library was far from Mrs. Heath’s first volunteer rodeo. 

At Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, for example, both Mrs. Heath and her husband, who died in 2010, were regulars. Mrs. Heath worked in the commissary car on long-distance excursions, while Mr. Heath served as the train’s conductor.

Both were lifetime TVRM members.

Mrs. Heath was a supporter of a variety of other groups including, but not limited to, the YMCA, according to Mr. Cecil.

For example -- not surprisingly, since her husband was a U.S. Marne veteran of WWII who served in the liberation of Guam – she was active in veterans support groups.

In Soddy Daisy, Mr. Cecil said, she frequently dropped in at KELKURT – a self-described community driven company looking for ways to enhance the area in which it operates – for long talks.

Among her favorite topics, he noted, was the need for a library in the town to serve local residents.

“She read all the time,” Mr. Cecil recalled. “Mysteries were her favorite, and she also loved Gone With The Wind.”

“Rhett Butler,” he said with a laugh. “That was her man.”

Her enthusiasm gave him an idea: create KELKURT Foundation with the goal of organizing and teaching Soddy Daisy residents to become more self-sustainable focusing on three primary pillars: agriculture, community and education.

Then, for their first major project, original KELKURT Foundation board members – Mrs. Heath, June Ferry and Mr. Cecil – chose to create a library: a “second home” where residents of Soddy Daisy and surrounding communities could meet, talk, work and study together.

The resulting community library opened Jan. 28, 2018, with four books, Mr. Cecil said, “and Diana was our first volunteer. She was the one who entered the first 500 books into our data system. Then we piqued the interest of a local ebay book seller who donated 2,000 books to us – and Diana really had a lot of work to do.”

Today, the library occupies 76 percent of KELKURT Media’s operating space. It holds 22,000 movies, audiobooks and books – both children’s and adult, fiction and nonfiction – ranging from mysteries and classic literature, to agriculture, to religion, to business and finance. The history section alone covers local history, ancient Greek and Rome, the Civil War, World Wars I and II and a wide variety of other topics.

“Our whole mission is to create a self-sustainable community based on three factors: agriculture, community and education,” Mr. Cecil explained. “We offer classes, taught by volunteers, on raising chickens, off-the-grid living, sewing and quilting, jewelry making, basic auto repair and solar grids and panels.”

This summer, he said, the library will work with other organizations to host the town’s first-ever literacy day.

“But none of this would have happened without Diana,” he said. “Without her initial help and support, we could never have done it.”

Funeral plans have not been announced, but Mr. Cecil said Soddy Daisy Community Library will hold a rememberance service on Sunday, Feb. 23, from 2-5 p.m.

The service, which will take place at 9619 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, in the library, will include a pot luck luncheon, he said. “Everybody who knew Diana is welcomed to bring a dish and share stories and memories of her life.”

For more information, contact Mr. Cecil at 645-7427.


Southside Youth Development Prepares For Summer Baseball Programming At Emma Wheeler Homes Community

"Honoring Those Who Serve" Tribute At Honor Park May 15

Chattanooga Desert Shield-Desert Storm 30-Year Anniversary Reunion Planned


Stemming from the successful revitalization of the Howard High School baseball program and field, a group of Chattanooga residents have launched Southside Youth Development, a non-profit with ... (click for more)

The public is invited to join an event, "A Tribute to Those Who Serve," this Saturday at Honor Park, 1 Cleburne St. in Fort Oglethorpe from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be a bell ringing ceremony ... (click for more)

Ten years before the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and the United States began wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Operation Desert Storm took place to protect America’s and its ... (click for more)



Happenings

Southside Youth Development Prepares For Summer Baseball Programming At Emma Wheeler Homes Community

Stemming from the successful revitalization of the Howard High School baseball program and field, a group of Chattanooga residents have launched Southside Youth Development, a non-profit with the mission of extending the reach and impact of organized sports to the surrounding Southside communities -- and they’re starting with the Emma Wheeler Homes community. The group’s first ... (click for more)

"Honoring Those Who Serve" Tribute At Honor Park May 15

The public is invited to join an event, "A Tribute to Those Who Serve," this Saturday at Honor Park, 1 Cleburne St. in Fort Oglethorpe from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be a bell ringing ceremony for police officers who have lost their lives, beginning at 11 a.m. Events and performances will include LFO JROTC Honor Guard, Alhambra Highlander Pipes & Drums, patriotic music ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Roadtec, Inc. To Expand Chattanooga Operations With $6.2 Million Investment

Roadtec, Inc. officials announced on Wednesday that the paving equipment manufacturer will expand its operations in Chattanooga. Roadtec will invest $6.2 million to make building and site improvements and relocate its Washington operations to its headquarters in Tennessee. The project represents the creation of 128 new jobs in Hamilton County. Roadtec, a subsidiary of ... (click for more)

County Commissioners Anxious To Expand Number Of Officers At Hamilton County Schools

County Commission members said Tuesday they are anxious to expand the number of officers at county school campuses - even if it means using a number of security guards in addition to School Resource Officers. They said they are concerned that a tragic incident will occur on a local campus with no officer present - either from not being assigned one or from the SRO being called ... (click for more)

Opinion

Please Stop Calling Us “Latinx”

We’re asking nicely, because we think the use of the term has been mostly well-intentioned. But let’s start with some numbers: a mere 3 percent of Americans of Latin-American descent use “Latinx” to describe themselves. This is based on a 2020 Pew Research poll of about 3,000 American Latinos. Those who want for “Latinx” to become the default say it’s preferable because it’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Earn Life's "Free Lunches"

The worst debacle in our nation’s history, it is beginning to be proven, was when the United States was quarantined during the COVID-19 epidemic. Our economy – from employment to production – was stymied. Our next generation responded with virtually no education for an entire year and a surging teen suicide epidemic and the biggest profits that were made in the second half of 2020 ... (click for more)