TULLAHOMA – Gene A Rayfield, 86, died November 6, 2020 following a non-COVID extended illness at Tennova Hospital in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
He was born the next to youngest on July 23, 1934 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee to T.D. Rayfield, a farmer and high school principal, and Estoile Freemon Rayfield, a telephone operator supervisor. He graduated from Lawrence County High School in 1952 and was voted ‘Most Popular’. He attended Florence State (AL) College for one year. In the fall of 1953, he eloped with his high school sweetheart, Joann Hyde, and moved to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee, where he received a BS in electrical engineering. Following graduation, he started his career in 1956 at Arnold Engineering Development Center at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee and retired in 1994.
Gene had a passion for the outdoors – hunting, fishing, and gardening. He enjoyed big game hunting in his younger years, but bird hunting was his favorite. The annual hunts in Lawrenceburg over the Labor Day weekend with his brothers gave Gene the most joy. He enjoyed wood-working and built numerous pieces of furniture and household décor for family and friends. He also loved reading westerns and was deeply knowledgeable about American history and geography. Gene’s most recent passion was working 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, the harder the better. Many residents in assisted living had some of his completed puzzles framed.
Gene was gifted with the passion to serve others, the ability to fix just about anything, and the skills to do electrical/plumbing/mechanical/construction/tree removal. He loved figuring out why something was not working and always found a way to repair it. With this combination of skills, he kept the household running as well as most of the Westwood neighbors’ households. If you needed help, he would be the first to offer a hand.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Richard Earl, Bruce, Donald, and Rex Rayfield; daughter Vickie Jo Rayfield; and son-in-law, Lennon Lott. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Joann Hyde Rayfield; children Lynn Robinson Lott, Terry (Dian) Rayfield, and Molly Rayfield; grandchildren Jessica (Ben) Roberts, Ryan (Candice) Lott, Alex (Chelsea) Lott, Natalie Rayfield, Jill Rayfield, Katie (Matt) Edwards and Hunter Peek; nine great grandchildren; and a granddog, Teddy.
A graveside services will be held Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at 12:00, at Mimosa Cemetery, Lawrenceburg, TN. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation in Gene’s name to your favorite local/national charity, your church’s outreach programs, or your local civic club/sport team/band/library. This way his last act of service on earth will help groups near and far.