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James Michael “Mike” McElyea

James Michael “Mike” McElyea, age 65, entered into his eternal home with his Lord and Savior, free of any illness and pain, on Monday, July 19, 2021 at the Johnson City Medical Center with his family by his side.  

Mike was born in Greene County on July 28, 1955 and lovingly adopted by his father, James “Abe” McElyea and mother, Frances Good McElyea.  He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Karen “Penny” Forbes.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Amanda Rose Laws McElyea; son, Adam McElyea and wife Amber; daughter, Heather Mullins and husband Erik; five grandchildren: Neelynn McElyea, Shyanne Tuelle, Jadence McElyea, Nolan Mullins and Abigail Rose Mullins; sister, Margaret Jordan; devoted furr buddy, Anakin and special family members, Danny and Sandra Laughren, Jeff and Tabitha Bruce, Matthew and Lisal Roberts, Melinda Laughren, and Mick and Angela Jackson.

Mike graduated from Daniel Boone High School where he further developed his love for baseball and music.  It was while in high school that he was told by a teacher that he would “grow up to be either a professional baseball player or a comedian”.  He graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in 1979 and enjoyed a career in law enforcement with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department for several years.  He later went on to graduate with his Licensed Practical Nurse degree from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.  He was able to care for many throughout his nursing career at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital and other local long-term care facilities.  He was a faithful volunteer with the American Red Cross to which he was awarded the “Golden Rule Recognition” due to his work in training others on disaster relief and shelter fundamentals. 

Mike had many interests and hobbies including fishing, watching baseball, collecting golf balls, all things Elvis, spotlighting deer, traveling to Gatlinburg, decorating for Christmas (and sometimes dressing up as Santa), playing the drums, singing gospel music and was known to always have a quick joke or wise crack.  Mike received his first set of drums when he was 16 years old.  He played in the Daniel Boone Marching Band, had his own band with his friends while in high school, taught drumming lessons and had his first exposure to Gospel music when he was invited to play drums for the Glori-Aires Gospel Quartet.  Later in life, Mike was able to impress many with his incredible drumming talent and deep bass voice.  He was blessed to be able to play and sing gospel music with several gospel quartets including Harvest Time, Potter’s Clay, the Eastern Gate Quartet, the Southlanders, and the Believers.  As he was able, he attended Calvary Church in Johnson City, TN.    As illness prevented him from participating in many of these activities; he was blessed with five grandchildren that allowed him the opportunity to watch them excel in football, weightlifting, baseball, softball and basketball. Not to mention the frequent Facetime calls to see what princess dress, bathing suit or jewelry Abigail Rose was wearing that day.  

The family would like to express a wealth of gratitude to the staff in the ICU of the Johnson City Medical Center, Princeton Transitional Care, Lakebridge Skilled Nursing Center, Ballad Hospice Services and the staff on 4300 for all the tremendous care and compassion that you provided to Mike and the family over the last several months, weeks and days.  

The family will receive friends Thursday, July 22, 2021 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Monte Vista Funeral Home. The funeral service will follow at 7:00 PM with Rev. Roger Laws officiating. Anyone unable to attend the service is invited to view the livestream of the service by visiting 

Committal Service and Interment will be held Friday, July 23, 2021 at 10:00 AM in Section T at Monte Vista Memorial Park.  Active pallbearers will be Erik Mullins, Danny Laughren, Matthew Roberts, Neelynn McElyea, Shyanne Tuelle and Jadence McElyea.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the McElyea family by visiting

Arrangements especially for Mr. James Michael “Mike” McElyea and his family have been made through Monte Vista Funeral Home & Memorial Park, 1900 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, TN; 423-282-2631.