Alf Rhea O'Rear

Born February 25, 1923

ALF RHEA (TONY) O’REAR, Age 95 Went to join his Savior Jesus Christ on May 4, 2018. Tony was born in the shadows of Missionary Ridge on February 25,1923. He was born one of thirteen children to John Hubbard O’Rear and Bessie Jane Wallace O’Rear who preceded him in death. He was recently preceded by his wife of 69 years Mary Jo Love O’Rear. He was also preceded in death by 11 of his 12 siblings: Katherine O’Rear, John H. O’Rear Jr., Ruby Pollard,Fred O’Rear, Marguerite Alton,Jewell Cone,Mack Wallace O’Rear,Ima Jean O’Rear, Peggy Joyce O’Rear,James Henry O’Rear,And Sally Ann O’Rear. Also preceding him in death was his beloved grandson, William Anthony “Tony” O’Rear Surviving are his son Michael A. (Carolyn) O’Rear , his cherished granddaughter Kelly O’Rear (Bubba) Sells (her Da), his only surviving sibling, his brother, Joe Thomas (Nece) O’Rear, as well as, many nieces and nephews. Having lived this long, it is amazing that he has so many other friends and admirers. After losing his father at the age of 15, he and another sister stopped attending Central High School so to help support their rather large family. Tony was an Union meat cutter (Buehler Brothers) as well as an Union boilermaker (Combustion Engineering). When World War II had broken out, Tony could have gotten a deferment, but he chose to fight for his country. He was deployed from New Jersey to England on the “Queen Mary”. From England, he was involved in the 1st day of fighting in the Normandy Invasion on Omaha Beach as a forward observer. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge and then endured ground combat to within 10 miles of Berlin. They were stopped there because politics dictated that The Russian Army would be the first to enter. After the German surrender, he chose to go on his own to the recently liberated Nazi Concentration Camp of Buchenwald. He stated he “wanted to see first hand for himself the horrors committed so that he could be an eyewitness to an event so atrocious and horrific no one could ever deny its’ happening”. He said that he could not imagine ever seeing anything more horrible. Tony was Honorably Discharged from The United States Army after having fought in the Battle of Normandy, Northern France, The Rhineland, and in Central Europe in ground combat. He was an AAA Crewman operating Quad 50’s (four fifty caliber machine guns mounted to a 360 degree turret.) He was honored for his service by receiving The Victory medal, The EAME Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, The American Theater Ribbon, as well as, 5 Bronze Stars. He was also honored by the French People for his part in the Normandy Invasion. He was a Charter member of the World War II Memorial. After returning from the war, he obtained his GED from Central High School. afterwards, he worked full time as an Union Brickmason and attended the University of Chattanooga receiving a Pre- Law Degree at night. Following this regime of laying bricks full time in the days,he then received his Law Degree from McKenzie College of Law. It was there he met each others love of their lives,Mary Jo Love, who was also attending McKenzie Law School. After being notified on the job he was working that he had passed the Bar Exam, he threw his trowel off of the mountain at the University of The South and said “see ya boys”. He was married to Mary Jo on April Fools Day ,1949. In 1952, Tony was admitted to the Bar by The Supreme Court of Tennessee and started his long career as an attorney. He was an admirable and proficient attorney. In 1960, he was admitted to practice law in The Supreme Court of the United States. Through the years , he was mostly partnered with Mary Jo’s Aunt, Marguerite Lanham (the first woman to try a criminal case in Hamilton County Criminal Court). However he had other partners who he worked and learned with over his law career that lasted 60 years. In 1952, Tony was also accepted as a Royal Arch Mason. He was a member of Lookout Commandry Knights Templar, Cherokee York Rite College No. 152, East Tennessee Past Masters Association F&AM,Alhambra Shrine,and an Honorary member of Highland Park Lodge No. 734 F&AM. He was a 50 year member of Fidelity Lodge No. 558 Free and Accepted Masons. He was a life member of the following: John Bailey Nicklin Royal Arch Masons’ Of Tennessee, High Council Order Of High Priesthood of Tennessee, Mount Moriah Council No. 95 Coptic Masons,Order of the Silver Crowl, Knights of York Cross of Honor,Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons’ in Virginia, Keystone Chapter No. 208 Royal Arch Masons, Hiram Council #116 Royal and Select Master. Tony also was a life and charter member of Knight Crusaders Of The Cross. He was a member of The Tennessee State Assembly. While there, He was most proud to help pass a bill that brought The University of Chattanooga (formerly a private college) into The University of Tennessee system allowing greater access to local students to be able to afford a college degree. Tony was a member of The Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He served as Leader of the Men’s Sunday School Class. Visitation will be at the Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 115 Morrison Springs Road, Red Bank, TN 37415 from 4-7 pm Thursday, May 10 and from 11 am to 12 pm on Friday, May 11. Services will follow visitation on Friday, May 11 at 12 pm with Rev. James Buttram, Jr. officiating and Masonic Rites will also be held. Burial will follow at National Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions can be made to Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are held by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, TN 37343.


  • Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian Church


  • Visitation Thursday, May 10, 2018
  • Visitation Friday, May 11, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, May 11, 2018
  • Intermentt Friday, May 11, 2018

Alf Rhea O'Rear

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Mike Carter

May 10, 2018

Michael, sorry I was unable to visit funeral home. I always liked your dad and he was always kind to me. The last time I saw him was in the waiting room at Parkridge about 10 years ago. We talked for several minutes. He was a great man in my opinion. Your friend, Mike Carter ( Beer Salesman mid 70s)

Billy Green

May 10, 2018

Members of The Chattanooga Half Century Club sends you our condolences for your loss. May God bless your family.