Family, Friends gather to celebrate the life of Roane County NAACP President, Joe Eskridge

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ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Family, friends and public officials gathered at Harriman High School to celebrate the life of Joseph Eskridge.

Eskridge had many titles, but one the that most knew him by was dad.

“He was everybody’s father. So many people called us and said, I know it sounds selfish but he was our dad too. So it’s very personal for everybody.” said Tiara Eskridge, Eskridge’s daughter.

“He was father to the guys who didn’t have a father. He was a mentor to everybody. He didn’t meet a stranger.” said Joe Eskridge Jr.

At the time of death, Eskridge was the sitting president of the Roane County Branch of the NAACP. Under his leadership, the Roane County NAACP and Greenwood School Foundation completed the restoration of the Greenwood School in Kingston. The historic schoolhouse was used until segregation ended in the 1960s. It is now a community and learning center in Kingston.

Eskridge was also the State Vice President of the NAACP and served as a board member of the Roane County Chamber of Commerce.

Hundreds visited with family during the public viewing. Among them, the Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton, and State Senator Ken Yager.

“Joe was a bridge builder, he bridged the gap between the races and the economic levels in this county. Extraordinary communicator. He’ll be hard to replace, but we will and we’ll take what he did and move forward with it.” Yager said.

Eskridge leaves behind his wife and 3 children as well as grandchildren and siblings.

If you would like to help the Eskridge family continue Joe’s legacy, they are taking contributions to the Greenwood School Education Foundation at P.O. Box 1656, Harriman, Tennessee, 37748.

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