Paul Erskine "Pappy" Reagan, 90, of Kingston, passed away Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at his home.
He was born on June 9, 1922 in Jamestown. He was a graduate of York Institute in Jamestown and Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where he earned a degree in physics He worked for more than 30 years as a nuclear engineer for the X-10 and Y-12 Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge, where he received numerous patents for his work. He retired in 1988, filling his time with Bluegrass and raising his famous tomatoes, taking great pride in sharing them. He served in the Army
Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) during World War II
, where he operated radar as part of the 14thÂ Air Corps Flying Tigers B-25 bomber crew out of Kunming, China. He participated in the Burma Road Campaign. His greatest passion was Bluegrass music. From the age of 13, he began to teach himself how to play the guitar and later the mandolin. "The mandolin is my favorite instrument â€" I've only got nine of them," he joked in a 2012 interview. He was well known as a frequent player and attendee at Bluegrass festivals across Tennessee for decades. His musical influences were Dick Burnett and Bill Monroe. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of his musical passion was seen in his devotion to Bradbury Community Center in Kingston. He was one of the co-founders of the community center's weekly and monthly Bluegrass "jam sessions," which began in 1980. Some of his best times at Bradbury included playing with his family band, the Harvesters. A prolific writer, he also contributed to several Bluegrass publications. He was always active in his community, serving on the Roane County Farm Bureau Board for many years. In 2011, he was named as a Roane County Treasure, and was honored as such with a resolution by the Tennessee State Senate. He was a longtime member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church and Central Baptist Church in Kingston.
He is preceded in death by his father, Joel Gaudin Reagan; mother, Rhoda Sewell Reagan; his daughter, Janie Reagan Monroe; four brothers and sisters, Elva Reagan Turner, Edna Reagan Copley, Joel Kermit Reagan and Lela Reagan Stockton.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Billie Grimes Reagan, Kingston; his sister, Charlene Reagan Hill, Crossville; three daughters, Judy Bensey, Kingston, Joyce Nall, Kingston, and Jennifer Burnett, Flowery Branch, Ga.; two sons, Joel Reagan, Knoxville, and Jason Reagan, Boone, N.C.; two sons-in-law, Earl Nall, Kingston, and Ray Burnett, Flowery Branch; two daughters-in-law, Andre'a Reagan, Knoxville, and Stacy Reagan, Boone; 11 grandchildren, Todd Carriger, Kingston, Paula Fross, Rockwood, Jeremy Carriger, Iga Ueno, Japan, Emily Thomas, Oak Ridge, Sara Nall, Buford, Ga., Addison and Kelsey Reagan, Knoxville, Tyler and Corey Burnett, Flowery Branch, and Justin and Shelby Reagan, Boone; and numerous great-grandchildren.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, in Kyker Funeral Home, Kingston, with funeral services immediately following in the chapel. A private burial will follow on Saturday, April 27. The Rev. Tim Shelton will officiate. He will receive Masonic honors at the funeral, as he was a Mason of more than 50 years. He will also receive military honors at his burial, including a 21-gun salute. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to
. An online guestbook is available at www.kykerfuneralhomes.com