We were saddened to learn of Coach Runyon's death when we returned home from a trip today. We have very fond memories from his days in Dunlap. Wanda, you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Mike and Vallerie Greer
The Runyon family
Coach Runyon always had a little something to say...during practice, games, in the hallway...about each and every soul he encountered. So full of mischief, we certainly learned so much from him. Every young high school person should be so lucky, as we were, to have a Thomas Runyon. Kindest regards to you...Thank you, Mrs. Wanda for taking such good care of our Aunt Agnes.
Joe Gooden & Family Knoxville, Tn.
Thank you Coach. I am a better man because of you.
I will always have fond memories of Coach Runyon. He was a cheerful and quick witted man who influenced many students in a positive way. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.
To the family,
I was a student at Ooltewah when Mr. Runyon was there. He was such an encouragement to me and he was always smiling and friendly. He made a big impact on my life and will be missed. So Sorry for your loss. Will have you in my thoughts and prayers.
Coach Runyon was an amazing coach AND teacher. I learned so much in his classes and appreciated his care for us as students. Praying for your family at this time.
Sheri McBride West, RBHS '85
Was always someone I always looked up to. He had been on my mind for the last couple of months, I'm so saddened to hear of his passing. I was a manager on his team 1974-1975 central high. HE WAS A GREAT MAN OF CHARACTER! Not many left like you in this world coach. Deepest prayers to his family. Steve Hanning
I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
To the family of Tommy Runyon,
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Coach Runyons passing. He was a great influence in my life. He was truly one of the good guys. May God bless all of you in his passing.
Dear Wanda and Jennifer, I am so blessed to have been not only a student of Coach Runyan at Red Bank High School, but to call him a brother in Christ. Coach Runyan had a great sense of humor and was such a great mentor for all the students he taught. I am so thankful to have him as a teacher, coach, and a friend. I will miss him and I hope all of you will find strength during this difficult time. Thinking of you all
To the family of Coach Runyon, im sadden to hear of your loss. He was my American History teacher i graduated in 1982. He was an insipration to eveyone who's life he touched. He touched my life as a high school kid And with each memory he brings a warm smile to my heart. He will live forever in the hearts of so many including myself. Rhonda Clemons Miller Class of 1982
Tommy and I entered UGa on Labor Day wkend in1959. He was a tough little competitor and greatly happy to be in Athens. He was greatly liked by his teammates.
Dear Wanda, Was saddened to learn of Coach's passing. He was a great motivator, mentor and Christian example! Throughout the years, I have often spoken of the privilege which was given me to play high school football for such a fine person and the impact he made on me to prepare me for the game of life. Will miss him until we meet again.
To Mrs. Runyon, Jennifer & Family, Tommy was an incredible individual whom I have watched and observed since I was in high school. I played against his Central teams when I was at Red Bank and got to know him after college and in my career as a coach and teacher. Jerry Cotter and I were talking about how we were the ones always cussing or telling bad jokes and there was Tommy listening, laughing, but never judging us for being the sorry individuals we were. Tommy was always "Constant & Consistent" and just a solid individual that myself and others learned much from in how to deal with young people. Tommy is from a generation of coaches in the Chattanooga area that are so solid and many people in Chattanooga owe so much to, such as Coach Weathers, Coach Brewster, Raymond James, Bobby Davis, Carey Henley, Pete Potter and I can go on and on. I never was coached by Tommy, but I loved and respected him! He was always so nice to me and such a personal individual that always left you feeling good about yourself. I see so much of Tommy in Jennifer and I know how much she loved her father, that I can only hope my daughters look at me in the same way that she looked at him. A father could never ask for more!
I was saddened to hear of the passing of "Coach" Runyon. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and particularly his wife. He was a great influence in my life as a young man and gave me and several others the motivation to excel in whatever we did and carry on that tradition of inspiration and motivation by coaching others ourselves. He was a true teacher to many and will be missed!
Dear Mrs. Runyon and Jennifier,
I was deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Runyon's passing. I enjoyed knowing him, and-- as a strong measure of the man is the children he raises (that's you, Jennifier)-- I'm convinced he must have been a fine teacher and great influence on many. My condolences go out to all of the family.
From: Christie Billingsley [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:53 PM
To: Winfred Billingsley
Cc: Tab Billingsley
Subject: Re: Thomas Winfred Runyon RIP
So sorry to hear about Coach Runyon. He is a gem. I was just thinking abut him a few days ago, in fact. I don't know why but I was thinking about the influential adults throughout my life. Coach Runyon popped in my head. It may be because I am reading the new Dan Brown book, Inferno, which quotes a lot of Dante. Coach Runyon was such a joker, but also an intellectual. Above the door to his classroom he wrote: Abandon hope; All ye who enter. The same inscription written above the gates of hell in Dante's inferno. But, of course, the experience in his classroom was not hellish at all. He was nurturing, encouraging, and downright fun.
To Wanda and family, While I didn't know Tommy personally, I was so saddened to learn of his death. My children all knew him (Dean, Frances, Greg). Greg, who graduated in 1981, was very influenced by Tommy's teaching and coaching. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Nancy Shelton McDaniel
Dear Runyon Family,
It was my great privilege to do my student teaching under Tommy in 1986. He has always been in my heart as a tremendous mentor and example of passion for teaching and more importantly a passion for the students. I think it was really hard for him to let go and let me teach classes for a couple of weeks. Many of the things I do today as a teacher are exact copies of things I saw him do.
I will never forget his love of a good practical joke. Many a teacher who stepped out of the classroom for a minute would come back to find an empty classroom due to Tommy leading their students to some other unoccupied room. It was probably good for everyone that I finished student teaching and allowed him to focus on the classroom. His sense of humor was never very far below the surface.
Please know that Tommy left a lasting legacy and his talent t teaching, passion for kids, love of learning touched my life and I am sure it has for many, many others as well.
Chattanooga Christian School
Wanda, I do not have to tell you or anyone in the Runyon family how much this man meant to me. He was truly what a "coach" should be. He believed the best was in everybody and had a quiet way of bringing that out, not only on the playing field but in life! I sincerely respected him for his positive impacts on my life. People like him are truly rare in this day and time! Thank you and your family for "sharing" him throughout the years! God blss you all!
Dear Wanda, Coach Runyon has always had a special place in my heart beginning in 1964 when he came to Sequatchie County to be our football coach. He taught me how to win on the field but more importantly even as the young man that he was at the time, he was an immediate and shining example of the way I should live life. I know that as the years passed he provided that example to many other young men during the formative years in their lives. I will pray for you and your family and I know God will comfort you in this time of loss.
Coach Tommy Runyon was a great coach, mentor, teacher and example to me during my high school years. He was a coach that you wanted to play hard for, that made playing fun and loved to see improvement. I have used his sayings as I've coached many time... What are we doing at practice today coach? 'A little offense, a little defense and a little kicking game'. And, 'hit the hole this way and you'll be standing in the endzone getting your picture in the paper and smiling for your girlfriend'. We all have fond memories of Coach Runyon and know he has made a positive impact of thousands of young men. Please know your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
We will always have a smile when we think of Tommy's humor when he would hand out bulletins in the foyer at White Oak Baptist. He has been a blessing to our family, as Larry and David knew him at Red Bank High School as well as church. You have been a shining light as well through all the difficulties of these past few years. God Bless. Marjorie & Loyd Kindiger
To the Runyon Family - Our hearts break for your loss. We are all seeking comfort in wonderful memories of Coach Runyon and all the people he influenced as an outstanding teacher, coach, principal and man - including each of us. He lives on through everyone he touched and influenced. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Love, Carolyn Wheeler and Pam, Sharon and Teresa
Dearest Wanda, Jennifer, Logan and Jerry....words cannot express how sad this makes me....please know you are in my thoughts and prayers...Coach was a wonderful person and will be missed by so many...we love you...Pattie & Jimmy Flippo
Dear Wanda, Jennifer, Logan and Jerry: Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. You all are special to us. We love you very much. May God give you comfort and peace today!
Love, Martin & Joyce
Coach Runyon gave me the confidence I needed at an important time in my life. His smile, attitude and coaching style reflected his genuine and heartfelt faith. We, his players could feel his passion - and also his kindness. It was after he began as the Assistant Coach at Red Bank in 1976 that we began to openly, confidently and proudly say that we loved each other - and the coaches. Thanks Coach - We love you. Sincerely, David Jordan, Red Bank Lions, 1976-78.
Wanda, Jennifer, Jerry & Logan, Our sweet Tommy will be missed but we know he is in a better place. We love you! Loyd & Nell
my dear Wanda , my heart breaks for you today