William Oliver Wimmer, 88, of Oakdale, died July 20, 2014, at UT Medical Center in Knoxville.
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He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Carolyn Wimmer; and granddaughter, Mary Lee Rodgers.
Survivors are children, William Kendall Wimmer, Oakdale, Paula Rodgers and husband Mark, Cookeville, Robert Peyton Wimmer and wife Karen, Austin, Texas, Edward Garris Wimmer, Nashville, and Charles Alexander Wimmer, Maryville; and grandchildren, Seanne and Alex Rodgers, Oliver Milo, Lucy and Wendy Wimmer and Madeline and Jacob Wimmer.
Bill, or "Doc," as he was known, was born in Roanoke, Va., to Mary and Paul Wimmer in 1925. At birth, the doctor asked, "And what is this child to be called?" Mary said, "William Oliver Wimmer," to which the doctor remarked, "WOW."
It could not have been said better. He was a true one-of-a-kind, quick of wit, eternally loyal as a friend, and loved to ponder the imponderable.
At 17, Bill joined the war effort, serving as a torpedoman's mate in the submarine service aboard the USS Haddo I (SS-255) until the war's end in 1945. He continued to love the sea and sailboats. After the war, he attended college, graduating from the University of Wyoming. Returning to Kingsport, he became a junior chemist for Eastman Kodak, where he met his future wife, Nancy.
Bill and Nancy moved to Memphis, where he entered dental school. Graduating in 1954, they eventually chose Harriman as the place to set up practice. Moving to Harriman with his wife and three small children, he quickly found his place in the community. He became known as the "singing orthodontist" and provided care to many who would otherwise not be able to afford it with his flexible barter, trade or long-, long-term payment plan.
Bill joined the Lions Club as soon as he got to Harriman. He was elected to the office of tail twister, in charge of harassing, stirring up camaraderie, keeping people proactive and having fun at the meetings. He was re-elected every year. He was a Melvin Jones Fellow and chairman of the Harriman Lions Club Eye Screening Program in conjunction with Vanderbilt University. He loved the program and the impact it had on so many people's lives.
He helped to bring forth and support many programs: Band Aides, Roane Choral Society, Roane County Park and Riverfront Park. He grew potatoes for the church food pantry and served on numerous church boards and classrooms through the years.
In 1980, he retired to the farm.
After all the adventures, five children through college, community action and his farm, Bill found his true calling in life: to be the world's best grandfather. And he was. His love for and pride in his grandchildren was as obvious as the twinkle in his eye.
He had great capacity for diversity and differences. He supported the rights and needs of a diverse community and respected opinions, whether or not he personally agreed with them, giving himself room for debate, his favorite pastime. His most defining characteristic, however, was humor. He was just funny. Everyone he has ever met has a Bill Wimmer story.
In his honor, the family asks that you share those stories with people you love and strangers you meet. It is a legacy that we can all afford to donate generously. For cash donations, the family asks for donors to support the Kingston United Methodist Church building and general funds â€" at least until the tithing catches up.
From Kingsport to points all around the world and then to the Oakdale and Roane County area, Bill enjoyed the world with curiosity and intensity. His was a life well lived. As that doctor 88 years ago exclaimed looking to a child's future, today we all look at the life Bill Wimmer lived and collectively say, "WOW!"
Kyker Funeral Home, Harriman, is in charge of arrangements.
Kyker Funeral Homes
430 Morgan Avenue Harriman, TN 37748
Published in Roane County News from July 24 to July 25, 2014