Garry Tanner

Garry Tanner
Pleasantville Volunteer Fire Department – Tennessee

Classification: Volunteer
Rank: Assistant Chief
Date of Death: April 19‚ 2006
Age: 57

Garry was a loving‚ devoted dad to his three children. He had two grown daughters‚ Christine and Connie‚ and a thirteen-year-old son‚ Travis. He also had three grandchildren: Robbie‚ Hollie‚ and Sarah. They all were his pride and joy. Garry loved all children; they all touched a special place in his heart.

Garry loved spending time with his family‚ having big cookouts. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were always special to him‚ because he was with his family. Christmas was one of his favorite times of the year.

Garry‚ along with his wife Debra‚ owned and operated a country store and restaurant in Pleasantville‚ Tennessee‚ a small‚ close-knit community full of family and friends. Garry was also running for election as a county commissioner. When there was a need in the community‚ they would try to help-gifts for kids at Christmas‚ wood for winter heat‚ groceries‚ food for people that could not get out‚ just to name a few. Most people did not know this until Garry had passed away.

That is why it is not surprising that‚ when a call went out in the community that a small boy was missing. Garry and his wife answered the call for help. Along with family‚ friends‚ neighbors‚ rescue squad‚ and more‚ they went to a field along a creek where the little boy had wandered away. He was finally found in the creek‚ but it was too late for Duncan. The next day‚ people started to talk about what they could do to help each other. If they had been trained‚ could it have made a difference for one little boy? That was the question asked.

Finally the Pleasantville Volunteers was formed-neighbor helping neighbor. Training began-CPR‚ search and rescue‚ and more. After a few years‚ Pleasantville Volunteer Fire Department was formed‚ and fire training began. Garry was the Assistant Fire Chief.

Garry and Debra’s little market became the dispatch center. On April 19‚ 2006‚ a call came in about a fire. Garry left and said‚ ‘I am out of here. Call the rest of them.’ It was a dryer on fire in a trailer. They got the dryer out‚ and the trailer saved. Garry said‚ ‘We did a good deed today.’

On the way back from the fire‚ the brakes on the truck went out. He made the decision to take the truck‚ which he loved‚ into a chirt pit‚ so no one else would get hurt. That is the kind of person he was. Garry died doing what he loved and believed in.

John 15:13: ‘Greater love hath no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.’

Jeffrey A. Bowman

Jeffrey A. Bowman

Biography of Lt. Jeff Bowman
June 29‚ 1963 – March 11‚ 2006

Jeff began his career with the Chattanooga Fire Department in 1998. To him‚ it was an honor to be accepted into this community of caring and dedicated people. He came to realize that is was not just a career‚ but quickly learned that he had become part of a big family. He poured his heart and soul into the fire department. He was so proud of being there. He had a passion for learning‚ so he began studying and trying to learn all he could soak in. As a result‚ he received many certificates and eventually ‚was promoted to lieutenant in January 2003.

He was well loved and respected by his fellow fire fighters. They knew he cared about them‚ his job‚ and others. He would have risked his life for any one of them. He was especially remembered for his daily jokes and pranks. He lived to make others smile.

Jeff lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed many activities such as canoeing‚ fishing‚ running‚ working out‚ hiking‚ and boxing. His love for life and his competitiveness helped him to achieve many accomplishments. He won the all Navy Middle-Weight Boxing Title in 1985 while serving in the Navy. He placed in many body building contests‚ as well as winning several races. You just couldn’t keep him still.

He was happiest when he was with his family. He adored his wife and 2 sons. He devoted his life to them. He was a loving husband‚ guiding father‚ dedicated brother‚ and loyal friend to many.

He will never be forgotten as a courageous fire fighter‚ protector of the underdog‚ encourager to those in need‚ and respecter of our flag & heritage. But‚ most of all‚ he loved god‚ his family‚ and all who came into his path.

Jerry W. Hopper

Submitted by his Family

Jerry Wayne Hopper (10/02/1943-1/11/2005) Beloved Husband‚ Father‚ Grandfather and Friend was born on October 2‚ 1943 near the Cabo Community where he lived his entire life. He was the son of the late Otis L. Hopper and the late Elsie Connor Hopper Gray. He attended schools in Chester County. In his earlier years he worked at Bailey Brothers Trucking‚ Chester County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy and the State of Tennessee. He was an active member of the Masons‚ Initiated February 8‚ 1968‚ Passed March 2‚ 1968 and Raised April 25‚ 1988 and had served as Master Mason.

Jerry was a Forestry Technician with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture‚ Department of Forestry. He had served the Dept. of Forestry for 28 years. He loved his job and devoted countless hours to serving his position from building roads to fighting forest fires. He always participated in the annual Christmas Parade where he proudly escorted ‘Smokey the Bear.’

Jerry was a very respected and revered member of the community‚ having served in various capacities. Jerry was member of the Election Commission. In 1976‚ he served as security and assisted with many aspects of the filming of the first series of ‘Walking Tall’ movies which were filmed in Chester County. He also had a small part in the actual movie itself.

Jerry never knew a stranger‚ finding a friend in everyone he met. In crowds‚ he always managed to meet someone new and enjoyed getting to know them. He thrived on telling and listening to stories of old times (especially those told by family members) and putting a smile on the face of everyone he met. He was a wonderful listener and an avid peacemaker. A simple man‚ he never wanted great riches‚ considering himself a wealthy man with all his beloved family and friends.

He grew up in the Pentecostal Faith and was a member of the Stone Hill Pentecostal Church.

He married Emmadean Hatch in 1976‚ and they made their home near his home place‚ near Sand Mountain. They have two children‚ Misti Michelle Hopper Ellis (Jeremy) and Mark Rowland (Martha). He found in Emma his soul mate‚ eternal love and best friend. He loved her special cooking and offered his undying love to her throughout their 28 years together. He loved her family as though they were his own. He always supported Emma in her care and love of her parents (Ulyss G. Hatch (deceased) and Frances Beshires Hatch)‚ attending to many of their needs himself.

His family was the most important addition to his life. His 16 month old granddaughter‚ Braelyn Keira Ellis‚ was the joy of his heart and the apple of his eye. ‘Papa Jerry’ was her constant companion and her biggest cheerleader in all the things she did‚ including all her little beauty pageants. He took such pride showing her off to others in person and in photos. He loved snugging with her and getting and giving hugs and kisses. He believed he was blessed with the opportunity to relive his daughter’s life with him as a child through his granddaughter.

His daughter Misti Hopper Ellis (‘Michelle’ to him) was his pride and joy and he adored her from the bottom of his heart. She was a very vital part of his life and the ‘Light of his Life’.

His son‚ Mark Rowland‚ whom he loved dearly‚ brought much joy to his life and was his devoted son and treasured friend. They shared many interests including gardening and fishing.

He was also ‘Papaw Jerry’ to his ‘adopted’ grandchildren‚ James and Andrew Graves of Jackson‚ TN. He spent much time on countless outings with these treasured little boys.

Other special people in his life were: Judge Howard Bailey (deceased)‚ Billy Coatney (deceased)‚ Jonathan Kelley-dear little neighbor Friend‚ Aunt Oda Connor of Lexington‚ TN‚ Aunt Polly Daily of Decaturville.

He was an avid gardener and loved to share with his neighbors and friends. He loved the beaches of Destin‚ Florida‚ where he had spent numerous vacations.

Wendell Anthony Jeffery

Lieutenant Jeffery had responded to multiple alarms during his shift. He was back at the station when he suddenly collapsed from a heart attack. Care was initiated and he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

David W. O’Conner

Submitted by his wife

David O’Conner suffered a fatal heart attack while operating an engine back to the station after responding to an alarm. David was a devoted firefighter who worked for the Memphis Fire Department for nine years. During that time‚ he competently served on numerous trucks and engines‚ including Truck 9‚ Truck 25‚ Engine 15‚ driver of Engine 42 and‚ most recently‚ driver of Engine 7. He was a member of Local 1784.

David was a man of tremendous character whose life was devoted to work‚ family‚ and hobbies such as computers‚ racing‚ and Ford Mustangs. He was the loving husband of Brenda and father to his dog ‘Pepei’‚ whom he greatly adored. He will long be remembered for his ‘hard work approach’ around the Engine house‚ desire to stay in tune with modern technology‚ and eagerness to share information with others.

David made a lasting impression on everyone he met and will live forever in the lives of all he touched. He is a hero in many hearts and will never be forgotten.

Edward ‘Ed’ Stallings

Edward 'Ed' Stallings

Submitted by his wife


EDWARD ‘ ED’ STALLINGS a lifelong resident of Smith County Tn. was highly respected as a man of highest moral standards. Born and raised on a farm in Bluff Creek‚ he loved horses and hunting with his dogs. Shortly after graduating Smith County High School he served our country in the United States Army from Dec. 28‚ 1954 until an honorable discharge Dec. 11‚ 1956.

He became a member of the Carthage Volunteer Fire Department Oct. 1‚ 1957 and was elected by his peers to serve as Chief May 7‚ 1992‚ the commitment to which ultimately cost him his life August 1‚ 2004.

In 1966 Ed was one of 12 charter members of the Smith County Rescue Squad. He served as Chief of the Rescue Squad and is a former President of the agency.

Beginning in 1964 Ed served for many years as coach and President of the Babe Ruth and Little League ball teams. His last two years of coaching he won League Championships.

For over twenty years he was the Smith County representative for the American Red Cross and was the local contact official to get service men and women home on leave for family emergencies.

From Jan. 1974 until his death August 1‚ 2004‚ he served as Smith County Coroner. On Sept. 1 of that same year he served as the Smith County Sheriff for six hours when the former sheriff vacated the office at 6:00 p.m until the new sheriff was sworn in at midnight. He spent six anxious hours in the jail watching over the county–a night we both long remembered.

In addition to wearing a number of public service hats‚ Ed was a businessman. He was President and operating manager of the Smith County Monument Company in Carthage‚ a company he started in 1966 and incorporated in 1983.

He was also Vice President of the Sanderson Funeral Home where he had been employed as a funeral director since July 1‚ 1969. He also was a stockholder and served as secretary of a corporation owning three cemeteries in Smith County.

He was of the Methodist faith and was a member of the Civitan club and a member of Funeral Director Association.

A bill known as the ‘Chief ED Stallings’ bill was passed granting survivors of fallen firefighters in Tennessee the amount of $25‚000.00.

The Carthage Fire Hall has been renamed the ‘ED STALLINGS MUNICIPAL BUILDING.’ A bronze plaque and a picture with John 15:13 inscribed has been placed in the Fire Hall in memory and honor of Ed.

Ed and I‚ Wanda‚ were married Jan. 15‚ 1958. He was a loving husband for 46 years. We have three children‚ Nicky‚ Jason and Chanda‚ three grandchildren‚ Blake‚ Beau and Mikayla. Nicky is also a fireman and was injured in the fire that took his dad’s life. Jason is a Chiropractor practicing in Carthage. Chanda is head of the C T Department at Urology Associates in Nashville. Ed was a loving husband‚ Dad and Poppy. Blake‚ our first grandson named Ed ‘Poppy’ and that is what everyone calls him to this day. He loved family gatherings and sports. He was always there for the children and grandchildren when they played any sport.

After the burning building fell April 8‚ 2004 and a four month struggle in a critical care unit our dear‚ sweet‚ gentle Poppy left us August 1‚ 2004. It has taken me this long to talk about it without breaking down. I have shed many tears just writing this. Ed was a good man‚ I knew that‚ but I just didn’t know how many lives he had touched until his death and the people of Smith County began sharing with me the way he had touched their lives.

Ed was loved and is sadly missed by his family and the people of Smith and surrounding Counties.

Submitted by the chief of his department

Edward H. Stallings joined the Carthage Fire Department on 1 October 1957‚ and served as Chief from 7 May 1992 until his death on 1 August 2004.

Chief Stallings died from injuries sustained while directing fire suppression operations at a church fire on 8 April 2004. The roof of the structure had collapsed causing the front wall to fail and fall out onto the sidewalk injuring the Chief and two of his firefighters who had just exited the building.

He was active in numerous civic and charitable activities‚ but his great passions in life were his family and his fire department.

He is survived by his wife‚ Wanda‚ and their three children: Nicky‚ a Captain with the Department‚ Chanda‚ and Jason.

Ed was a devoted husband‚ a dedicated father‚ and a loving grandfather. To the fire service‚ he was a neighbor‚ a Good Samaritan‚ a mentor‚ our Chief‚ and our friend. He was a good‚ kind‚ and extraordinary individual‚ whose absence is only partially filled by the good works and good humor he leaves with us.

Charles A. Zachary

Charles A. Zachary

Submitted by his wife

Chuck Zachary was a tough firefighter. He rode as Pvt. out of station 31’s on E31. Chuck or ‘Zach’ as most of the guys called him died June 16th‚ 2003 while responding to the Family Dollar Father’s Day fire in Memphis.

Chuck had been with the department for 19 years. He loved God‚ his job and his family as well as his little pug dog‚ Misty. Wherever he was‚ she was.

Chuck will always be remembered by the pranks he loved playing on fellow firefighters at the engine house. The classic one being the kool-aid in a fellow firefighters’ turnout boots. Of course‚ after they made a fire and got back to the engine house the firefighter was astonished how red his feet were. Anyway‚ that poor guys feet stayed red for about 3 weeks!

He had a few friends he adored. One being fellow FF Lt. Mike Shelton with whom he loved playing golf with. Neither one of them was very good at it‚ but they enjoyed the friendship they shared. Also Chief Fred Steward‚ whom he loved playing hand ball with and cooking rice krispie treats for. I could go on and on about special friends of his. If you were a true friend of his‚ you knew it.

Chuck played football in high school for Millington Central as a tight end. A couple of his proud moments was he helped his team win the Civitan Bowl his senior year‚ 1981. He was really proud when he graduated from Marine Corp. bootcamp and finished out his time in the Tennessee National Guard.

Chuck and his wife Frances were married for 13 years. We didn’t have just a marriage‚ we were best friends as well. He talked me into start fishing with him ‚ which was fine but actually we just enjoyed spending time together. He also loved deer hunting. (I refused to get out in the cold and climb a tree.) His 9 point buck still hangs on the wall along side his stepson’s 8 point. He loved my children from a previous marriage; Sabrina age 26 and DJ age 23 just like they were his own. I could not have found a better man to help guide and teach my children about life. He is also survived by his father; Everett; retired Lt. from the Memphis Fire dept.‚ mother Nancy both of Ripley‚ Tn. brother Bill and his wife Tiffany ‚ of Olive Branch‚ Ms. and lots of nieces and nephews.

Chuck will always be missed and remembered by his friends and family and forever in all of our hearts.

Bennie J. Shields

Lt. Bennie Shields was on the way home after his overnight shift when he was killed in a car accident. Bennie Shields made a lot of friends during his 31 years as a fireman. And co-workers said that Shields was dedicated to his work.

Grady Roy Austin

Grady Roy Austin

Submitted by a member of his department

Roy Austin was born on October 30‚ 1929 in rural West Tennessee. Roy was raised on a farm in the Sardis‚ TN‚ area. He had siblings consisting of three brothers and two sisters. He attended and graduated from Sardis High School in 1951. After high school‚ he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 as a transport driver.

After returning from his service to his country‚ Roy met and married the former Wilma Ann Crowell. Roy and Ann were happily married 50 years. Roy and Ann were dedicated members of Sinner’s Hope Church in Sardis‚ TN.

Roy was a farmer‚ raising crops of corn and beans. He loved to spend his spare time fishing. He encountered a lifetime friend after a stray dog wandered up to him. Roy called this dog ‘dog.’ I can still see them riding through the cornfield together on the tractor. He took Dog everywhere with him.

In 1982‚ Roy joined the Henderson County (TN) Fire Department as a volunteer with Station 5. Roy was not a quitter and always dedicated himself 100% when he made a commitment. After committing to the Fire Department‚ Roy became a vital asset to our station. He kept everything fixed and all the service done on our trucks. Anytime we needed anything fixed we would call on Roy to fix it for us.

Roy was a second father to me as to other members of Henderson County‚ TN‚ Station 5. Most of the junior firemen called him ‘Pop Roy.’

We think of Roy every day. He touched our lives in so many ways and will be truly missed by us all.

Trent A. Kirk

Submitted by his wife

Trent was an exemplary firefighter who pursued his career with enthusiasm and knowledge. He encouraged the Rookies assigned under his leadership to excel in their careers and many achieved the rank of Driver under his leadership. Trent spent many hours of his own studying the proper procedures relating to firefighting to ensure his crew would be well prepared when called to any scene. Trent was known by his fellow firefighters at Station #10 as being the best firefighter in the City of Memphis and they were all proud to serve their community along with him. Most importantly‚ Trent was a loving‚ caring and devoted husband to his wife Donna‚ and a fun-loving happy‚ spirit-filled Christian father who led by example for his two daughters Hope and Charity.

Our loss will be felt forever‚ however‚ we find comfort in knowing that Trent is in Heaven and will be there waiting for us when it is our time to go home.

Trent felt his greatest accomplishment and treasure in this life was his wife and children. In eleven years of service since 1992‚ Trent achieved Driver in 1995‚ and Lieutenant in 1999. Additionally‚ he achieved as a firefighter the Medal of Honor in 1999 for assisting in the rescue of a 13-year old child from a burning home.

Trent and his wife Donna created a home-based business‚ Kirk’s Designs‚ which they were awarded the 1999 and 2001 Vesta Home Show awards for Best Interior Design and Workmanship.

After serving at the fire house and while on Trent’s way home‚ he noticed smoke. Following the smoke‚ he arrived and called for the fire department. He was told by neighbors that an elderly man may still be inside. Trent immediately entered the house without any of his fire equipment and searched the house completely. However‚ the homeowner was not home at the time of the fire‚ but safely away at a local hospital.

Trent always wore a smile that illuminated any room. His hearty laugh made him an instant friend. He was always there to lend a helping hand to his family and friends without any expectations. As so eloquently spoken at his funeral by fellow firefighter‚ Steve Dew‚ that after fighting a house fire together‚ Trent looked at Steve and said‚ ‘This is the best job ever!’ And in the end‚ Trent gave his life to the career he loved and in essence died doing the ‘best job ever!’