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Retha Lois Duncan Sproles

retha-sprolesRetha Lois Duncan Sproles, age 82, of Erwin, passed away Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital’s Long Term Care Unit. Retha is a native of Erwin and a daughter of the late Robert Roy and Nelle Malone Duncan. She started taking music lessons from Mrs. Walter Love (Wayne Love’s mother) when she was five years old. Mrs. Love wanted to prove that you could teach music to a child before they started school and learned to read. Retha took music for several years and played at home and different places. Her husband, Sammy always liked to tease Wayne about coming home after work to hear her practice. He would just laugh and say he didn’t pay any attention. Retha started taking organ lessons while Sammy was in the army. She asked Helen Waddles if she would help her and Helen said she would give her the basics one summer and then it would be up to her to get the rest. She took lessons on the pipe organ at the Presbyterian Church in town during the summer of 1959, and at home the rest of the time. She was the organist for the church for a period of time and then moved to the Rock Creek Presbyterian church where she played the organ for several years. Later, Retha and Sammy moved to Love Chapel Christian Church, where she played until she retired. They officially became members of Love Chapel Christian Church on February 25, 1996, two years after they began attending. Retha played at the funeral homes in Erwin for several years and played at more weddings than she could count. She always said she wished she had kept a record of all the weddings she had played at just to see how many. She said that the greatest honor of her musical life was the Sunday that Wayne’s mother and father stopped by for a visit. After visiting for a while, Mrs. Love asked Retha if she would do her a favor and Retha said she would love to. Mrs. Love gave her some music and asked her to play it for her and Mr. Love. After she played it, Mrs. Love gave her approval and told her that was the music that they wanted played at their funeral and that they wanted to hear how it would sound before they passed away. Retha played for 70 years. She was an executive secretary at First Federal Savings and Loan for 42 years. In addition to her parents Retha was preceded in death by one sister Carolyn Miller.


Retha Duncan Sproles has left behind to cherish her memories:

Loving husband: Sammy Joe Sproles, of Erwin;

Nephew: Danny Miller and wife Mary Ellen, of Johnson City;

Great-nephew: Skylar Miller


The family respectfully requests the honor of your presence as we offer tribute and remember the life of Retha Duncan Sproles in a funeral service to be held at 7:00 PM, Friday, September 30, 2016 Calvary Baptist Church. Reverend David Crutchfield will officiate. Music will be under the direction of Gary Amos and Larry Pate. Pianist will be Phyllis Bennett. A visitation period to share memories and offer support to the family will begin at 5:00 PM and continue until service time on Friday, at Calvary Baptist Church. A graveside service will be at 10:00 AM on Monday, October 3, 2016 at Mountain Home National Cemetery. Those attending will meet at Mountain Home National Cemetery by 9:50 AM on Monday.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Life Care Center at Calvary Baptist Church, 540 Adams Street, Erwin, TN 37650.


Condolences and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at These arrangements were made especially for the family and friends of Retha Duncan Sproles through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave, Erwin, 423-743-9187.