Willie Lee Tarver transitioned to be with the Lord on Sunday, April 4, 2021, at a medical facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Willie was the only child of the late Tom and Elizabeth “Lizzie” James Tarver. He was born on January 1, 1940, in Midway, Alabama. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Amanda Purdy Tarver.
As a young man, Willie gave his life to Christ. After moving to Bristol, Tn., in 1984, he became a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Bristol, where he served on the deacon board and became a leader in the church for many years.
Willie graduated from the Birmingham Public School System and went on to attend Miles College, also in Birmingham. Later in life, Willie returned to school to finish his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia.
Willie married Amanda Purdy, of Marked Tree, Ar., on Feb. 11, 1966, in Poplar Bluff, Mo. This union was blessed with three sons, Eric, Michael, and Kevin. He was a dedicated husband and a committed father to his family throughout his lifetime.
He spent more than 20 years in the federal government as an administrator with the Job Corps, assisting thousands of young people earn their GEDs and learn a trade. He retired from Job Corps and embarked on a second career with the Bristol, Tennessee Department of Housing, where he earned another retirement. Willie had a passion for helping and mentoring young people to reach their potential.
He enjoyed tinkering with antique radios, and he loved to sing and play his guitar. Over the years, he was a member of several local gospel groups, performing throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
He is survived by immediate family members, sons, Eric DeWayne (Lucy) Tarver of, Hartford, Connecticut, Michael Eugene (Kim) Tarver, of Odenton, Maryland, Kevin Lee (Tanya)Tarver, of Harrison, Tennessee; grandchildren, Aaron, Joshua, Alyssa, Layla, and Serena; aunt, Annie Seale Tarver Tatum, of Union Springs, Alabama; brothers-in-law, Franklin D. (Mary) Purdy, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Jessie S. (Cheryl) Purdy, of Manassas, Virginia; sister-in-law, Rosie M. Purdy (Willie) Willis, of Luxora, Arkansas; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, church members, and friends.
A public viewing will take place from 2-6 p.m. on Friday, April 16, at John P. Franklin Funeral Home located at 1101 Dodds Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37404.
A homegoing ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, at Transforming Faith Baptist Church at 5311 Upshaw Drive, Chattanooga, Tn. 37416. Interment will follow at Lakewood Memory Gardens East.
All CDC mandates will be enforced at the church which include but are not limited to wearing a mask, social distancing, and assigned seating.
Arrangements by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.