Ernest Keith Atchley, 71, of Como, Mississippi, formerly of Northport, Alabama, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2014 at home. Keith was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend. He was a graduate of Sevier County High School and Middle Tennessee State University where he received various athletic honors. These include The Associated Press First-Team All- American Guard-1965; Ohio Valley Conference Football Defensive Player of the Year-1965; MTSU Most Oustanding Lineman by Murfreesboro Optimist Club-1965; Inducted into MTSU Blue Raider Hall of Fame-
1986 and Sevier County High School Athletic Hall of Fame-2005.
After college, he was a coach and recreational leader at Oconaluftee Job Corp with the U.S. Park Service in Cherokee, NC. He then changed careers and entered into the insurance field. He became Vice-President of SIMA in Tuscaloosa, AL before opening Atchley and Associates in Como, MS.
He was a member of the Como United Methodist Church where he served as chairperson of the Administrative Council. His favorite pastimes were tending to his Paso Fino horses and playing farmer.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest Buzz and Nell Sutton Atchley.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann Powell Atchley; children Dawn Atchley, Britt Atchley (Kelly), Heather Averett (Buddy), Ty Atchley; Grandchildren, Hunter Schultz, Cody Schultz, Reagan Albright, Dawson Albright, Anna Grace Atchley, Logan Averett and Brennan Averett; Great Grandchild, Hymsleigh Schultz; brothers, Tony Atchley (Phyllis), Steve Atchley (Kathy) and Gary Atchley (Josie); several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Pallbearers will be Cody Schultz, Steven Atchley, Derick Atchley, Kyle Atchley, Buddy Averett, David Powell, Al Schmutzer and Eric Dawson.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Mike Atchley, Bob Bostick, Eric Dawson, Duane Dodgen, Gus Floodquist, Mike Kelly, Drew Kyker, Randy Kyker, John Lemley, Evans Maples, Arthur Martin, Teddy Morris, Tommy Powell, Gary Presson, Mary Helen Stafford, Sledge Taylor, Gary Whaley, and James Boots Donnelly.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations made to Grace Hospice, 316 North Davis, Suite C, Cleveland, MS 38732 or St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
The family will receive friends 11AM-12PM Monday with a funeral service to follow at 12 PM at Alder Branch Baptist Church with Rev. Curtis Wells officiating. Interment will follow in Alder Branch Cemetery. Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. (www.atchleyfuneralhome.com)