Old Timers induct Benton and Buckner
by Staff reports
Mar 31, 2013 | 607 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Old Timers
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Holly Benton and Ralph B. Buckner Jr. have been selected for inclusion in the Old Timers Hall of Fame.

They will join the already announced inductees.

The inductees include Doyle Parmer, Old Timer of the Year; Chester Wooten, weightlifting; and David Cawood, coach; Steve Bradford, football; Gloria Scott Deathridge, basketball; Alvin Scott, basketball; William Senters, football; and Wadie Davis Jr., baseball. Benton is being inducted for basketball and Buckner for tennis.

The Old Timers Banquet will be held Saturday, 6 p.m., at the Museum Center at Five Points.

The recognition is sponsored by the Cleveland Recreation Department. Tickets for the banquet are available by calling 479-4129. Ticket must be purchased by Monday.

Holly Benton

Benton is the daughter of Bobbie June Benton and the late Cletus H. Benton.

Born and raised in Cleveland, she presently resides in Knoxville.

Benton attended Cleveland High School from 1968 to 1972, where she was an active member of the Beta Club, C Club, French Club, Drama Club, Pep Club and Tri-Hi-Y. During her senior year, she was elected Miss Raider, Most Popular in her class and was a Junior Miss contestant.

As a freshman, Benton was a member of the varsity basketball team. She played all four years under the direction of head basketball coach Jack Kidwell and assistant coach Sylvia Coates. One of the notable games at Cleveland was her senior year, when the Raiderettes defeated archrival the Bradley Bearettes for the first time in the school’s history 50-45. They went to state tournament in Jackson that year, but did not progress further then the first round.

She was selected All City, All County, All District and All Regional during her junior and senior years at CHS. She was selected to the All-State second team her senior year and was voted Most Valuable Player.

She pursued a major in secondary education at Middle Tennessee State University, where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and a little sister and sweetheart to Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

In 1980, she deiced to pursue a degree in nursing. She graduated from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Knoxville as a registered nurse. Since her graduation, she has been employed at St. Mary’s, now known as Tennova, as a surgical nurse with a specialty in lasers.

Her medical career has allowed her to fulfill her dreams of travel and helping those with medical needs and no access to proper health care. She has been able to use her surgical skills in Honduras, El Salvador, China, India, Ukraine and the Philippines.

Ralph B. Buckner Jr.

Buckner, who is owner and operator of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Buckner Management Services, attended Mayfield Elementary, Arnold Middle School and Cleveland High School. He attended Cleveland State Community College, Tennessee Wesleyan College, Louisiana State University and Emory University.

At age 15, Buckner began playing tennis at Deer Park after watching the game on television. His mother Stella, or his older sisters, Linda or Judy, would drive him to the courts, where he would play with the older boys and learn the game.

At Cleveland High School, he joined the tennis team his junior and senior years. He played No. 1 singles and was the captain under coach Condo.

As tennis became more popular in the U.S., Buckner began playing in local tournaments in the Chattanooga, Cleveland and North Georgia area.

In 1974, Buckner was a walk-on tennis player. Buckner said the coach challenged him to “beat all 12 players ahead of him on the roster, and then he could play.” Buckner was inspired to beat his future teammates and locked in a spot on the team as a singles and doubles player. His record was 13-2.

After Cleveland State, he received several scholarship offers to continue his collegiate tennis eligibility, but he declined them and completed his accounting degree at TWC in Athens. After graduation, Buckner continued to play in local tournaments and at the Cleveland Country Club, where he captured seven singles, seven doubles and seven mixed doubles titles in the CCC Championships.

He competed in the State Open twice, winning twice in doubles and making it to the quarterfinals in singles.

Over the last 10 years, Buckner’s family and the funeral businesses have taken most of his time. Golf is now his sport of choice.

Buckner is married to Chari and they have four children, Brandon, Stella, Paris and the late Shipley Buckner.