Earl Eugene "Happy" Ledford

January 30, 1930June 24, 2018
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Earl Eugene “Happy” Ledford, age 88 of Knoxville, went to be with his Lord June 24, 2018 at Tennova East. Happy entered this world on January 30, 1930 in Knoxville, TN. Bringing happiness and joy to all who knew him. He graduated from Stair Tech High School in 1948. Served in the U.S. Army and National Guard during the Korean Conflict from 1950 thru 1953. Happy married the love of his life, Jeanie in 1954. He worked at Ameri Gas Propane for 43 years. He worked for Jesus at various churches leading singing, driving a church bus or serving Kool-Aid to kids, anything to help others. He was always a joy to be around, the grace and love of Jesus always on his face. Preceded in death by his one true love, Betty Jean (Jeanie) Ledford; parents, Finley and Delsie; sister, Cleo; brother, Billy; grandson, Aaron. Survived by his sons, Duane (Kathy) and Brian (Reba); grandchildren, Joe, Brandon, Mark and Kelly; 6 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. A special thanks to the staff at Oakwood Senior Living and Tennova East (St. Mary’s). The family will receive friends 5-7 pm Thursday at Weaver’s chapel with the service to follow at 7 pm. Rev. Fred Wade officiating. Family and friends will meet at 11:15 am Friday at Berry Highland Memorial Cemetery for an 11:30 am interment. Condolences may be left at


  • Betty Jean "Jeanie" Ledford, Wife
  • Finley Ledford, Father
  • Delsie Ledford, Mother
  • Sister Cleo and Brother Billy, Siblings
  • Aaron Ledford, Grandson
  • Duane Ledford, Son
  • Kathy Ledford, Daughter-in-law
  • Brian Ledford, Son
  • Reba Ledford, Daughter-in-law
  • Joe Ledford, Grandchild
  • Brandon Ledford, Grandchild
  • Mark Ledford, Grandchild
  • Kelly Ledford, Grandchild
  • Six Great Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren
  • Several Nieces and Nephews, Other

  • Brandon Ledford
  • Mark Ledford
  • Jack Dixon
  • Rick Dixon
  • Rodney Barnes
  • Mike Waggoner


  • Visitation Thursday, June 28, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, June 28, 2018
  • Committal Service Friday, June 29, 2018

Earl Eugene "Happy" Ledford

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Randy North

June 28, 2018

Fond memories of seeing Earl at CVS Pharmacy Western Avenue, where I was a pharmacist. He would make the employees smile and feel good. He was a kind and pleasant man.



      To Earl Eugene "Happy" Ledford, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy, and he willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Earl, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Earl really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.

      Earl was born on January 30, 1930 at home in Knoxville, Tennessee. His parents were Finley and Delsie Ledford. Earl was raised in Knoxville. Even as a child, Earl had the ability to lift the spirits of all those around him. He was raised to be warm, caring and friendly. He couldn’t help but capture everyone’s attention. He was definitely a little bit of a show off, but in doing so, he succeeded in entertaining his entire family.

      Always a good playmate, Earl was easygoing and fun loving. He managed to lighten the mood wherever he was, even during family squabbles. He seemed to have a knack for bringing compromise and erasing tense situations around the house. Due to a generous dose of common sense, Earl managed to find a satisfying solution to basic problems. Earl was raised with two siblings. He had and older brother, Billy and a sister, Cleo.

      All of Earl's playful good humor carried over into his childhood. He was possessed with an outgoing personality, a lively imagination and a mellowed enthusiasm for life that allowed him to be constantly on the go. As a result, Earl experienced a rather active childhood, and this suited him very well. In his spare time he loved to see how things were put together and what made them worked.

      Ask anyone who knew him from school and they would tell you that Earl was a class “cut-up.” He didn’t do it to be unkind or to garner all the attention. Rather, Earl simply enjoyed others’ laughter and the sounds of his friends and acquaintances having a good time. It could be said that for Earl, grades may not have been the most important thing to him, but he really did enjoy his school experience. Since experience was Earl's best teacher. He enjoyed hands-on learning and applying the “practical” approach to knowledge, rather than getting caught up in “theory.” Earl graduated from Stair Technical High School in 1948. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was shop class, he loved to work on and repair things.

      Earl never actually encountered a stranger in his dealings with people. He was drawn to individuals and crowds, using his gregarious, adaptable and outgoing personality to captivate his audience. This quality allowed Earl to continually develop new relationships, ever widening his circle of friends. Earl delighted in his role among all his acquaintances, because he viewed them all as potential spectators for his performance. Whether it was a story, a joke, a song or just plain fooling around, Earl was always right at home putting on a show among his friends. Earl utilized his interest in others as a great way to connect with them. Some of Earl's best friends were Oscar and Marie Dixon, Lawson and Margaret Valentine and Mo and Pat Walker. Earl loved sharing life and having his home filled with people he knew.

      The gift of being emotionally expressive and outwardly affectionate made Earl very easy to approach. On October 2, 1954 Earl exchanged wedding vows with Betty Jean (Jeanie) Lowe at his mother-in-law's home in Knoxville, Tennessee. He tried hard not to impose on his spouse. He was always sensitive to other people’s feelings, and that was especially true in marriage.

      Perhaps the reason Earl related so well to children was the fact that he never really completely grew up himself. The ability to be just a “kid at heart” helped him in raising his own children. Earl was blessed with two children, sons, Duane and Brian. They were also blessed with five grandchildren, Aaron Keith who preceded his grandfather in death, Joe Keith, Mark, Brandon, and Kelly Ledford. Earl had the ability to focus his attention on the present moment. If he was spending time with the kids, that’s where all of his attention was directed. Earl's compassionate side prevented him from being a strict disciplinarian, and he could turn just about any situation into a playful, learning experience. He could spend hours entertaining them with fun and creative play. In fact, Earl had a knack for turning some of those nasty old chores into games.

      At work, as in life, Earl was a real “people person.” He had a very successful way of dealing effectively with others, and his enthusiasm and energy was often contagious. Earl liked to see himself as something of a virtuoso. When dealing with various projects and problems, Earl was an adaptable realist, using his common sense and trusting his experiences and impulses to uncover the correct answer. Earl's talent for being a down to earth thinker, allowed many around him to see Earl as an excellent problem solver. His primary occupation was propane delivery technician. He was employed for 43 years with Ameri Gas.

      Earl was an Army veteran. He was in the Battery B 114 AAA Gun Bn 90mm and served in France and stateside. Earl saw action for Active Army and National Guard during the Korean War from 1950-1953. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of Corporal.

      Earl enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. Earl liked creating and making things. His favorite pursuits were camping, pitching horseshoes and working on small engines. Earl was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

      Earl felt excited and challenged by sports. Even if he wasn’t the best, Earl loved to participate and thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the pleasure of being around other people. Earl relished the opportunities where he could make an impact, and he would often push himself to play above his abilities. A quick thinker who understood the basics, Earl never seemed to get caught off guard, even when confronted with unexpected conflict. Earl was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were football, baseball and boxing.

      Vested with a deep concern for spiritual development, Earl recognized that his faith was important to him throughout his life. He was a member of Olivet Baptist Church for 35 years and Norwood Baptist Church for 12 years. During that time, he was a Deacon and Assistant Choir Director.

      Living life in the fast lane suited Earl just fine. It is no surprise that he loved to travel and to visit new and different places. He was naturally curious about other parts of the world and loved the real life adventure that came from visiting them. He was impulsive and willing to try anything once. Favorite vacations included bus tours to anywhere!!!

      Earl believed that you had to experience life, and his life in retirement was no different. When that day finally arrived in 1995, Earl took it in stride as one more way to have fun. His new life involved staying in Knoxville where he was born and raised. With his boundless energy and a desire to get the most out of life, Earl remained busy with people and projects. In retirement, he found new pleasure in having more time for church activities and traveling. Even in retirement, Earl continued to stay in touch with his old friends and, since he'd never met a stranger, he made plenty of new acquaintances as well.

      Earl passed away on June 24, 2018 at Tennova East. Earl had dementia and fell and broke his leg. He is survived by sons, Duane and Brian; grandchildren, Joe Keith, Brandon, Mark and Kelly Ledford. Services were held at Weaver Funeral Home in Knoxville. Earl was laid to rest in Highland Memorial Cemetery in Knoxville.

      Earl brought joy to all of those around him. He never had a mean bone in his body. He loved to have a good time and was an eternal optimist, always looking on the bright side of things. He loved to share his energy, wit, and his zest for all of his activities with his friends and family. Earl Eugene "Happy" Ledford lived life to its fullest and made everyone around him happier just for knowing him. He will be remembered with a smile.