Remembering Greene County Commissioner-elect, Earl Fletcher, Jr.

Remembering Greene County Commissioner-elect, Earl Fletcher, Jr.

Posted: Updated: Aug 28, 2014 08:21 PM
Earl Fletcher, Jr Earl Fletcher, Jr
GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - The Greene County community continues to mourn the passing of an influential leader. Thursday, News Channel 11 spoke with those who wished to remember Commissioner-elect Early Fletcher, Jr. and honor the impact he left behind.

The Nathanael Greene Museum re-opened Thursday, after two days of closure out of respect for Fletcher. Fletcher served as the museum's executive director for 8 years. The 56-year-old was found dead in the museum Friday morning.

"The community lost such a good person. I'm always too busy to help someone or do whatever, and Earl was never too busy to help," former principal and superintendent for Greene County Schools Richard Morrison said. "He took time when he didn't have it - to help his family his children, and I'm talking about his school children."

Fletcher taught and coached with the Greene County School system for 30 years.

"Teachers are a dime a dozen that can say 'I love children.' That's easy to say. But following it up with your interactions on a daily basis, week after week, month after month, and that's what Earl did," Morrison said. "Earl Fletcher made the community a better place. He made Greeneville and Greene County a better place just by being himself .Earl served Greeneville and Greene County with dignity and loyalty and we're better off in Greeneville and Greene County because of Earl. And I'm happy to say he's my friend and always has been. I'm a better person for knowing Earl."

Fletcher was a former President of Washington College Academy, Alderman for the Town of Mosheim, commissioner-elect, veteran, historian, and museum director with a passion for the past.

" I think Earl was probably a guy who lived in a number of ages. He was equally at home dressing up as a Civil War re-enactor for the Battle of Blue Springs in Mosheim, and he was equally at home dressed as General Nathanael Greene for a museum convention here in our building. You never knew which Earl was going to show up, but it was always one with tremendous historical perspective," Dan Spice, with Nathanael Greene Museum said.

"The two words that Earl always used in reference to the museum was 'preserving heritage,' so people don't forget. There's been a lot of history, not only from revolutionary times... but also the things like Magnavox and the imprint of it on this community, thousands of employees. That's memorialized at the gallery here at the museum. So Earl had this view of history as being a living teaching tool, and so all of the things he looked at in the past really were harbingers of things for us to watch this future," Spice said.

In an interview with News Channel 11 in 2011, Fletcher said, "This is our heritage. If we aren't here to tell the story, our heritage may be forgotten."

While Fletcher's story may have reached its final page Friday morning, the story he spent much of his life telling, of Greene County's history, will now be left to his inner circle, who won't let the heritage - or Fletcher, be forgotten.

Statement from Greene County Mayor Alan Broyles:

"Earl and I have been friends for many years. We taught school together, we coached together, and our families went places together. When their son, David, came along, he became my godson. Earl and his wife, Betty, worked hard in later years to see that the Nathaniel Greene Museum was top notch. Whatever Earl did, he did it well. He was truly a dedicated public servant. Greene County has lost a great friend. Our heartfelt sympathy from the Mayor's Office goes out to the family in this time of sorrow."



Previous story from August 22, 2014

News Channel 11 has learned that commissioner-elect Earl Fletcher, Jr. has died. Friday morning, he was found dead in the hallway of the Nathanael Greene Museum, where he served as executive director since 2006.

Fletcher was recently elected to serve in the 6th district of the Greene County Commission. It's not yet known how he died. His body has been sent to Quillen for an autopsy. Investigators don't suspect anything other than natural causes, but they want to make sure to “rule out everything,” since he was alone at the time of his death.

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