She was born Dec. 26, 1919, in Nashville, to the late John Owen and Jimmie Lee Smotherman Griffin. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Kenneth Lee Haile; and siblings: John Owen Griffin Jr., Lucy Griffin Polansky, Sara Griffin, and Orra Griffin.
She was orphaned at age 7, and lived with a 21-year-old uncle and then her siblings, each putting the other through school one at a time. Growing up at the height of the Depression, she utilized libraries and became a lifelong avid reader, developing a gift for storytelling. She attended MTSU and graduated from the Nashville School of Nursing as a Registered Nurse.
While working at Nashville General Hospital, she met and fell in love with a young resident doctor from Cookeville, Kenneth Haile, and her destiny was transformed. In the world of the greatest generation, everything changed again on Dec. 7, 1941, and they married Dec. 23 as he planned to enter service, eventually serving in the Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific. She worked at the Vultee Aircraft Plant as a nurse.
After the war, though he had a promising career set in Nashville, Dr. Haile felt a calling to bring the couple and their children home to Cookeville in 1947. He began a general practice and she enthusiastically balanced raising the family with a long career of volunteer positions.
She staffed the Red Cross Bloodmobile for many years, served the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association chapters, the Cookeville Study Club, numerous groups and positions within First Methodist Church, and many organizations involving her five children.
She received the Longrifle Award from the Boy Scouts of America, and a Lifetime Membership Award from the Capshaw PTA. She worked in numerous other activities associated with her children’s schools, clubs, and sports.
After Dr. Haile died in 1968, she worked at Tennessee Tech University’s Student Health Clinic. She also continued her active interests in her church, bridge and reading as long as her health allowed.
Like the classic plots of novels by authors such as Charles Dickens, her life had many dramatic turns. But she saw her life as that of a character where, despite the tragic moments, happiness genuinely prevails with the help of family, friends, and faith.
The funeral was held at 1 p.m. today, June 2, 2010, at Cookeville First United Methodist Church.
Interment was in Crest Lawn Cemetery with the Rev. Max Mayo and the Rev. Drew Shelly officiating.
Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Sara and John Deppen of Augusta, Ga.; four sons and three daughters-in-law: Henry and Bette Haile of Nashville, Dr. Kenneth and Jyotsna Haile of Marietta, Ga., John and Emma Jane Haile of Cleveland and Jim Haile of Washington, D.C.; 10 grandchildren: Ella Marie (Jeff) Dunn, Porter (Christie) Haile, Perry B Haile, Jayson Haile, Sally Haile, Morgan (Jennifer) Haile, Laura Haile, Lucy Deppen, Jennifer Deppen, and Mary Rebecca Deppen; four great-grandchildren: Karley Dunn, Eden Haile, Griffin Haile, and Elijah Haile; and a sister-in-law, Virginia Haile of Lenoir City.
Family and friends served as pallbearers.
Memorials may be directed to one of the organizations central to her life, including the Putnam County Library, Cookeville First United Methodist Church, the American Heart Association, or the American Cancer Society.
Hooper-Huddleston & Horner Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements (931) 526-6111.
You may share your thoughts and memories at www.hhhfunerals.com.
This announcement is made courtesy of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory.