Berry Highland South


Sammy Lee McGill

June 22, 1934June 12, 2021

Sammy Lee McGill (Papaw), 86, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and long-time resident of Knoxville, TN, passed away June 12, 2021. Sammy was born in Clinton, graduated from Harriman High School in 1952, served in the Army during the Korean War, from 1954-1956, and had a prolific career in the television and media industry. Sammy helped shape local television from its infancy in his career at WBIR, where he started as a switchboard operator in 1957; he was involved in every stage of the production process, working as a cameraman, a director, and finally as a production manager from 1965 to 1985. A pioneer of the early world of television in East Tennessee, Sammy also worked at the Jim Early and Associates production company. Over the course of his long and storied career, he facilitated the production of many local television favorites, including The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour and Jim Clayton’s Startime Variety Show. Toward the end of his career, Sammy helped establish the University of the Cumberlands’ Communication Department’s television station and media program, retiring after 10 years of service helping to train the next generation of television and media professionals. Preceded in death by parents Samuel McGill, Ruby Brashears Sircy, and George Sircy he is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Shirley Honeycutt McGill, as well as his devoted son Timothy Alan McGill (Pamela Courtney McGill), grandchildren Tabetha McGill Colangione (Jonathan Colangione), Courtney Irvine, Torie Ciroula (Ellen Rideout), Anna McGill, and Camryn-John Ciroula, great-grandson Greyson Ballard, step-mother Maggie McGill Bingham, siblings Alan McGill (Angela), Jeff McGill, Lacy McGill, and Cindy McGill Oliver (Alan), as well as dear friend of the family, Elmer Grimes. He is also survived by children Terry McGill, Katie McGill Justice, and Karen McGill Rose and many more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In his later years, Sammy was supported and cared for by his loving wife, his son Tim, Tim’s family, and the congregation at Alice Bell Baptist Church, where he has been a long-standing member. “Papaw” will be lovingly remembered with a camera in his hand and an encouraging word from off-screen in the many home-videos he created. Friends and family will meet Thursday at 12:45pm for a 1pm graveside service at Berry Highland South Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Alice Bell Baptist Church building fund by calling 865-522-0137. Condolences are welcome at


  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, June 17, 2021


Sammy Lee McGill

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tim McGill

June 20, 2021

Missing you today on Father’s Day. I know you are in a better place . I love you dad

Randy Tindell

June 16, 2021


You and your family are in our prayers. Your old shoe store cohort!!


Carl Williams

June 16, 2021

Remembering a dear friend.

Sandy Poling

June 16, 2021

My condolences