Heaven will never be the same! Charles C. Ledbetter (Pops), born April 23, 1937, left us Tuesday, February 4, 2014 and has now begun his second journey, and is likely working on something that needs fixing. If you knew him, you knew he loved to tinker with anything that had a motor, and brought many things back to life with his own special ingenuity.
Charles was known to many, if not all, as Pop's. He wore that title with pride and always opened his home and heart to anyone he crossed paths with. He was known for his quick wit, telling one of his 800 stories over and over, and creating nick names for those he just met or had known for years. If he called you something other than your real name, you knew you were liked. He spent many years behind a paint gun and worked at the likes of Jim Reed, Beamon Automotive and his favorite, Bill Trickett Oldsmobile.
He is survived by his son, Stacey Ledbetter (Ginger); daughter, Melissa Kepley; six grandchildren, Brandi, Kayleigh, Shelby, Tayler, Charles Cody, and Blaise; one great-grandchild, Maggie; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by parents, Joseph and Ruby Ledbetter; spouse, Faye Ledbetter; son, Kenneth Ledbetter; son-in-law, Kenny Kepley and siblings, Jasper, John, Rosemarie, Little Joe, Lula and George.
The remainder of his story is written with the irreverent affection and mischievous zest he had for life. He loved to laugh and wasn't afraid to pepper a salty word to elicit a desired response. If you didn't share his appreciation for laughter at the expense of others, read no further. He made no apologies and neither will we. To say Pops was one of a kind doesn't even come close; there was never a mold to break. He wasn't afraid to have fun and frankly, didn't care what others thought. He has been known to skip with his grandkids, climb a tree, play in a doll house, be a sideline coach for a Little League baseball team, whether the real coach wanted it or not, play Santa Clause, and have his hair done by one of his granddaughters. He was wickedly funny with a penchant for storytelling. His vivid and imaginative tall tales were usually combined pieces of personal experience with outlandish redneck wisdom. He was a living contradiction; part truth and part fiction. Most stories both real and humorous began with "Did I tell you about the time...."
He loved his family and extended family unconditionally. His most famous saying rings true in all of us, "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet." He lived by those words every day. His final story... number "801" is his legacy and that is what he leaves us with. He will forever be in our hearts and our lives have been enriched just by knowing him. So, let's raise a glass, deliver our best jokes, tell some stories, stir it up and laugh in his honor because that is what he would want us to do.
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Family and friends will gather to remember Pops at a visitation Friday, February 7th from 4 until 8 p.m., and Saturday from 12 Noon until 2 p.m., with a celebration of life to follow in the funeral home chapel, with Pastor H.D. Jones officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens.
Published in The Tennessean on Feb. 8, 2014
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