Berry Highland South

9010 Simpson Rd, Knoxville, TN


Sylvia Willis Jones

July 11, 1930November 16, 2019

Sylvia was and only child born on July 11, 1930 to Ethel Robinson and John Lee Willis. At age 7, she moved to Cumberland, Kentucky with her Aunt Mamie and Uncle Oliver Holloway. There she was part of a large family consisting of 6 siblings. She would be the 7th. She attended school in the segregated Harlan County Schools where she excelled academically.

While still in high school, Sylvia met her first husband, Lovelle Tatom. They married in 1946 while she was a junior in high school. The marriage produced one child, Michael. Lovelle died suddenly in March 1948, leaving her to raise an infant son alone. She moved back home, finished school, and enrolled in college. She completed two years as an English major before leaving school to provide for her son. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Harlan County School System. In the mid 1950's, she became very ill and was hospitalized for a while in a sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky. Way from her family and her beloved Michael, she was determined to fully recover and return home. She recovered and Michelle was born in 1959. In 1965, Sylvia married William F. (Bill) Jones. They were married for 34 years until he passed away on May 12, 2002. IN 1969, the family moved to Knoxville, TN. There she worked as a kindergarten bus driver, substitute teacher, and an assistant to the Federal Prosecutor's Office. her favorite job was with the Knox County office on Aging, where she paired elderly citizens who needed help with daily activities with caregivers. She loved her clients and worked tirelessly to make sure they were well cared for. A loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she will be missed tremendously. She joins in heaven her mother, Ethel; husband, Bill; siblings, Charlie Mae and John Robert.

She leaves to celebrate her life, son, Michael (Georgia) Tatom of Denver, CO; daughter, Michelle Tatom of St. Cloud, FL with whom she lived; grandchildren, Michael George (Brittany) Tatom, Tiffany (Jeremy) Whaley of Nashville, TN, Martin Garret (Aleece) Tatom of Denver, CO, and Rodney Scott Sims, who lovingly cared for her in her last year; great-grandchildren, Jaiden Shane Sims of Knoxville, TN, Sebastian Garrett Tatom, Xavier Richard Whaley, and Christian Martin Tatom; cousins, John R. Holloway, Jr., Kara Holloway Sanchez, Oliver Holloway, Sr., and Oliver Jr.



  • Funeral Service Tuesday, November 26, 2019


  • Graveside Service


Sylvia Willis Jones

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