Gary Keith Ledbetter
Gary Keith Ledbetter of Monterey. Tenn. passed away unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, June 16, from what was believed to be a heart attack. Gary had celebrated his 72nd birthday in January of this year.
Gary was predeceased by his father Williard Coy Ledbetter, his mother Latta Marie Copeland, his stepfather Herman Copeland, and his son, Barry Kevin Ledbetter.
He is survived by his loving wife, Roberta Kay Ledbetter, son, Brian Keith Ledbetter, daughter-in-laws, Jennifer Ledbetter and Jamie Pierce, and three grandchildren, Brian Keith Ledbetter, Jr., Vivian Alice Ledbetter, and Emma Kaye Ledbetter. He is also survived by his two sisters, Veachel Cantrell and Velma Brown.
Gary loved his family well including his wife’s parents, multiple brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. He was the first to lend and helping hand, a word of encouragement, and a cheerful smile. He will be greatly missed by them all.
Gary graduated from Livingston Academy in Livingston, Tenn., in 1965. After a whirlwind romance, he married Roberta Kay Ledbetter of Monterey. Tenn., in 1968, and remained faithfully devoted to her for the rest of his life. Gary and Kay celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in May. One way Gary demonstrated his love for Kay was by indulging her desire to decorate their yard with Christmas lights. Each year he would buy one more thing until their grandkids jokingly began to refer to their light display as “Pigeon Forge South.” Family and friends looked forward to enjoying their lights year after year and many a game of hide and seek was played in their warm glow.
Gary and Kay’s marriage was blessed by the addition of two sons, Brian Keith Ledbetter (age 48), of Cookeville, Tennessee, and Barry Kevin Ledbetter who preceded Gary in death on June 7, 2005, at the age of 33. Gary was a loving and present father for his sons, filling their childhoods with encouragement, unconditional love, and support. He coached many a basketball team and sacrificed much for their education. But far more importantly, he modeled a godly, Christ-centered life and his authentic love for the Lord inspired both sons to follow in his steps and commit their lives to Christ as well.
Gary loved his daughter-in-laws, Jennifer and Jamie, and always looked for ways to lend a helping hand and do something thoughtful for them. They always felt cherished as daughters, never needing the distinction of “in-law.” Gary was his grandchildren’s biggest fan and never missed an opportunity to patiently teach them something new, faithfully attend almost every event in their lives (whether small or great), and confidently speak and pray God’s truth over their lives.
Gary was a hard worker and faithful employee. Early places of employment included driving a truck for a candy company, and working for Douglas Aircraft in Monterey, Tennessee. Gary’s main source of employment was Textron Aero structures in Nashville, Tennessee, where he retired after working for thirty plus years. When laid-off from Textron Aero structures, he worked for the Pepsi-Cola Company, 7 Up, and in the coal mines. After retirement, he worked up until his death at Hall Funeral Home in Livingston, Tennessee.
Gary chose to follow Christ when he was attending Fallen Springs Baptist Church in Allred, Tenn., at the age of 14, and served as their song leader at age 17. He later moved his membership and served as both song leader and deacon at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. For the last 38 years he has attended Grace Baptist Church in Alpine, Tennessee, where he served as a song leader for around 35 years. Throughout the years, he also served Grace Baptist Church as a deacon, as a Sunday School teacher, and in prison ministry. He faithfully supported missions. His church family was as dear to him as his own. He loved, laughed, cried, and served alongside them in kingdom work with great joy.
Gary enjoyed traveling throughout the United States. With his family, he visited the contiguous 48 states marveling in the beauty of God’s creation. His first journey out west was made with his wife and two sons in 1986. During this trip they visited Yellowstone National Park, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and saw the Pacific Ocean. For his fortieth wedding anniversary, he traveled up the east coast with his wife, his son, Brian, and Brian’s family where they visited 15 states in 13 days. Highlights of this trip included visiting multiple lighthouses and historic landmarks as well as driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. For his fiftieth wedding anniversary, he traveled out west with them once again visiting Washington and Oregon, crossing off the last two of the 48 states. He and Kay enjoyed many a road trip on the back roads of Tennessee and celebrated multiple birthdays and anniversaries in the Great Smoky Mountains. Playing miniature golf also became a family tradition and was highly competitive!
Nothing would mean more to Gary than to know that each person reading this obituary knew Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. If you don’t know Him, the family encourages you to read the book of John in the Bible or to talk to someone who does know Him. Jeremiah 29:13 KJV assures, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Visitation was held at Hall Funeral Home on Monday, June 17, from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. and on Tuesday, June 18, from 9 a.m. until the funeral service at 2 p.m. The funeral was immediately followed by a graveside service at Qualls Family Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the missions programs at Grace Baptist Church, Alpine.