Bill Breuer brought a major movie premiere to Cleveland; Conrad Day shared his humor through comic strips; Terry McGuire, Roy Smith and Roy Ragsdale helped shape governmental and school policy; and business leaders Bobby Taylor, Dr. Cecil Stanbery, Dr. Ronald Free and Sam Fair will be missed.
The true hero was Cleveland’s Kenneth Simonson, 41, who used his body as a shield to protect his children from gunman David Hartline on Aug. 26.
Simonson was attending a birthday party for his daughter at the home of his ex-wife Mindy Bullard in Whitfield County, Ga., when her ex-boyfriend began shooting. While Simonson got the seven children attending the party to safety, his ex-father-in-law Edward Henry Manz III of Dalton, Ga., confronted Hartline. After wounding Manz, Hartline went after Bullard and the children. Simonson secured the children’s safety and took several bullets as he shielded them.
An ex-Marine, Simonson was the father of three and had served as a Little League coach in baseball and football.
n Author and military historian Bill Breuer brought world attention to Cleveland in 2005 when his bestseller, “The Great Raid,” was made into a movie by Miramax Films. He died Aug. 19 at age 87.
According to Operational Archives Branch of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C., “William B. Breuer was a 20-year-old platoon sergeant, who landed with the first assault waves on D-Day in Normandy, and saw action in five campaigns. Later he founded a daily newspaper on a shoestring and for 10 years served as a publisher, at one time the nation’s youngest. Among his many awards were 17 from the armed forces for his newspaper’s support of a strong national defense.”
After 10 years as a publisher, Breuer established a public relations agency and began his nonfiction book writing career. He published 41 books, many in multiple languages.
His writing focused on tales of secret missions, the moon landing, the Kennedy-Fidel Castro vendetta, women heroics, spies, suspense, sports, the CIA, political conspiracies, hoaxes, the FBI, and the global war on terrorism.
n Cleveland lost a businessman, civic leader and patriot on July 16, when Bobby Taylor, 88, died.
Youngsters remember Taylor for the trains he put in the window of the Bank of Cleveland at Christmas time. However, that was a small part of his contribution to the community .
He loved the community and was active in preserving historical downtown and renovating it to be pertinent to the future.
His governmental involvement including service on the County Quarterly Court in the 1950s. He was finance commissioner for the city of Cleveland into the mid-1960s.
His civic accolades include service with the Bradley County Chapter of the American Heart Association, treasurer of Easter Seals Society, chairman of the Community Chest Drive (presently known as United Way), director of MainStreet Cleveland, charter member of the Cleveland Elks Lodge No. 1944, Cleveland Rotary Club as well as various other clubs, committees and organizations over the years. He was also a co-founder of the Cleveland Empty Stocking Fund, ensuring foster children had what they needed for the holiday season.
During World War II, Taylor flew 35 missions over occupied Europe with the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was involved in getting a veterans home located in Cleveland.
He became engaged in banking after he left the military. Beginning as a bookkeeper, he eventually served as president and chief executive officer of Merchants Bank as well as on the board of its parent company, Third National Corp. After his retirement in 1986, he led a group in the founding of Bank of Cleveland in 1987. In 1997, he retired as chief executive officer, but remained as its chairman of the board.
n For more than 50 years, Dr. Cecil Stanbery practiced dentistry in Cleveland. He died Aug. 15 at the age of 81.
He was devoted to helping his community grow. He was a political and community activist, who was always ready to help improve his community.
He was active in the Cleveland Rotary Club, where he was “Member No. 1” at his death and a Paul Harris Fellow. He served for a time as commissioner of the Ocoee District of the Boy Scouts of America. He was active in Junior Achievement, United Way, Salvation Army and Council of the United Services.
An advocate of higher education, he served on the Cleveland State Community College Foundation and taught geography for 10 years at Cleveland State. He was a 50+ year member of the Tennessee Society Sons of the Revolution.
He served on various Republican campaigns and as a leader in the local Republican and district party. In 1980, he was a member of the Tennessee Electoral College.
n For more than 30 years, the comfortable wisdom and antics of “By Ned” have been found inside the Banner’s pages. Creator Conrad Day, 90, died Oct. 6.
A people watcher, Day took his ideas for his cartoons from the people and events around him. He once said “Life offers so many ideas.”
He was also a businessman and owner of the Minit Check on North Lee Highway for many years. In later years, he worked for Cooke’s Food Store.
n For 16 years, Roy Ragsdale served as a Bradley County commissioner. Ragsdale, 82, died Feb. 6 in a Knoxville veterans home.
He had served with the 278th Regimental Combat Team during World War II and the Korean Conflict.
He was a member of the American Legion Post No. 81 and the Cleveland Elks Lodge. He was elected to the Cleveland Bradley County Sports Hall of Fame for his dedicated service to youth sports programs.
n On May 13, former president of the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Sam Fair died. He had also been active in both the Cleveland Sertoma Club and Cleveland Rotary Club. Among his other civic involvements were Junior Achievement, the Regional Speech and Hearing Center, American Cancer Society, the Bicentennial Commission, the Boys and Girls Club and Cleveland Golf and Country Club.
A World War II veteran, he served with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy. He had earned two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and two battle stars. He was with Southern Bell for many years.
n For 33 years, Dr. Ronald Free helped local residents with their spinal problems at the Free Chiropractic Center. He died March 4 at the age of 72.
Before becoming a chiropractor, Dr. Free was a senior aerospace engineer who helped test rockets and other elements that led to the first man taking a gigantic moon step for mankind. He was an inventor of diagnostic machines and products to reduce spinal pain. He was also an author.
n Education lost an advocate on Aug. 1, when Terry McGuire, 63, died. He was elected to the Bradley County Board of Education in 2004, but resigned in 2006. When a board member died in 2007, McGuire graciously stepped back on the board. He was serving as vice chair at the time of his death. He also served on the school system’s Architect, Construction Search, Negotia-tions, Family Engagement, Continuous Improvement and Ethics committees.
His dedication to the community was not just in the field of education. He also was a American Red Cross volunteer and former board member. He served as chairman of the Bradley County Fire Board and to the Bradley County Board of Zoning Appeals.
n A voice for the community was the legacy of Roy Smith, who died Sept. 1 at the age of 81. For 27 years, Smith served as the 6th District’s County Commissioner. He was a man who listened to his constituents and acted on their proposals. He was respected by those who agreed with him and those who did not.
Smith was a former cattle farmer and a school bus driver. He was also involved with the Flint Springs Ruritan Club.
n Loyd “Jack” Wilson, 88, who died March 26. He established Jack’s Kleen-Rite Laundry and Cleaners in December of 1953 and was actively engaged in the operation of the business until mid-2009.
He was active for many years in various civic and community organizations including the Jaycees, The Cleveland Evening and Noon Days Lions Clubs, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post 81 and 40/8, and was a founding member of the local chapter of the American Kidney Foundation.
As a 50-year+ member of the Lions Club, he was recognized with a number of awards including the 1989 “Melvin Jones Fellow for Dedicated Humanitarian Service” and in 1984 the “Lion of the Decade.”
n The first loss of the year was local minister and businessman Franklin Hyberger, 81. Hyberger died in a tragic accident near Lenoir City on Jan. 1. A well-known church of Christ minister, he was owner of Star Printing Co. for many years.
There were many others who left a lasting mark on the people of Bradley County. Among them were Betty Baldree, who worked for 46 years as a switchboard operator at Lee University and died Sept. 17; Richard Burger, father of the late Anthony Burger, who died April 28; former senior vice president of Merchants/SunTrust Bank Phyllis Whitehead, 79, who died Jan. 18; the Rev. Floyd Gill, 89, who pastored various area Baptist churches for 58 years and died Jan. 21; Gary Coppinger, founder and president of General Photographic Resources, who died May 1; and Shipley Rose Buckner, 18, who died tragically in an accident May 9.
n Two individuals of local notoriety also died this year.
In 1976, Ronald Maddux was convicted of abusing and killing his 4-year-old stepdaughter Melisha Gibson. Maddux, 64, died at the Roane Medical Center on Feb. 7.
From Melisha’s death, many changes were made in the state’s law on recognizing and reporting child abuse. It is now law that “all persons must report any signs of child abuse.”
In 1978, Joe Shepherd of Monroe County escaped from the Bradley County jail, where he was being held in the death of two teen girls. He was on the run for 10 years before being recaptured in Canada in the late 1980s. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the slayings. Shepherd, 57, died in prison on Aug. 27.