Sammy Joe Sproles , 81, of 139 Kerns Street, Erwin passed away Sunday, November 13 at the Long Term Care Unit of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital where he received expert and loving medical care. Sam was born on October 31, 1935 in Dante, Virginia to Harrison and Susie Sproles. He was the youngest of five children. In addition to his parents, he was recently preceded in death by his beloved wife of 61 years, Retha Duncan Sproles. Sam and Retha met while roller skating, which was the start of their lifelong love story. The two were inseparable and in later years, Sam was Retha’s constant caregiver.
Sam was preceded in death by his brothers Howard Sproles, Harry Sproles and Donald Sproles. Sam had a special place in his heart for his late sister Nancy Sproles Holbrook and her husband Robert Holbrook who helped raise him.
Sam was like a father to nephew Dan Miller (Mary Ellen) of Johnson City, Tenn. and like a grandfather to his great nephew Skyler Miller. He and Retha never missed one of Skyler’s grandparents’ days at school, ball games or band concerts.
Sam is also survived by nieces, Sue Holbrook Moore of Hickory, NC, Charlotte Sproles Mizelle of Boone, NC, Dottie Sproles Ison of Columbia, SC and Karen Sproles Joslyn, of Greenville, SC and nephews Butch Sproles of Loganville, GA, Joe Sproles of Charleston, SC, and Mike Sproles of Columbia, SC.
Sam leaves behind his beloved physician Dr. Cedric Fernando. They were former neighbors and friends for 30 years and Dr. Fernando lovingly looked after both Retha and Sam in their later years.
A graduate of Washington College Academy, Sam managed the warehouse and wholesale operations of the former Erwin Specialty & Saving Center.
Sam loved his country and received numerous medals for his distinguished service in the Armed Forces. He was a Staff sergeant in the United States Army. A former member of the Knoxville National Guard Unit, Sam, at the age of 50, received special approval from Washington, passed a rigorous physical examination and joined the Erwin National Guard unit. At the age of 61 he attained the rank of “Top Gun” with an M16A2 Rifle for his outstanding marksmanship. All told he gave 40 years of dedicated service to the United States Armed Forces.
A lifelong Christian, Sam was an active member of Calvary Baptist Church in Erwin. In lieu of flowers, please give contributions to Calvary Baptist Church Christian Life Center.
The family respectfully requests the honor of your presence as we offer tribute and remember the life of Sammy Joe Sproles in a funeral service to be held at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Calvary Baptist Church, 540 Adams Street, Erwin. Reverend David Crutchfield will officiate. A visitation period to share memories and offer support to the family will begin at 5:00 PM and will continue until service time on Wednesday at Calvary Baptist Church. A committal service will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 10:00AM at Mountain Home National Cemetery with military honors provided by the TN Army National Guard. Those who will attend will meet at Mountain Home National Cemetery by 9:50 AM on Thursday. Pallbearers will be: Ray White, John Tipton, Tommy Bennett, Tom Harris, Paul Dempke, and Gary Amos.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.valleyfuneralhome.net. These arrangements are made especially for the family and friends of Sammy Joe Sproles through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave., Erwin, 423-743-9187.