Sharon Billingsley has a sickness she can’t seem to shake…an addiction to golf.
“Ten years ago, I became hooked. I think it’s a sickness. I really do,” she says with a laugh. “It can consume you but that’s a good thing.”
Billingsley grew up in Rickman, Tenn., 15 minutes from Tennessee Tech on the Cumberland Plateau. “I’ve been in Blount County since 1993. I took a job, and my sister was here and had a little boy. I wanted to be around him,” she says. “I worked for another optometrist for a while and started Billingsley Eyecare in 1994.”
She first learned about Blount County in college. “I had real good friends from college who were from Maryville and one from Alcoa. In college, I would occasionally travel with them and sort of knew the area.”
Billingsley’s free time of late has been dealing with a business move into a new location just off Foothills Mall Drive. When she’s not at work, Billingsley says she enjoys spending time with friends. “I enjoy music, play the guitar, and I have friends who sing and play guitar, so we get together and enjoy one another’s company.”
Billingsley says she considered several different professions while going through college. “I was pre-something for years in college and couldn’t decide between pre-med and pre-dental. My sister was in med school and was saying it was a 60-80 hour a week job,” Billingsley says. “I feel so lucky I chose optometry because I enjoy giving sight and helping people see. What’s not fun about that?”
Billingsley said that while friendships in the community have sustained and given her support, it’s the patients who are the driving force in what she does. “Get them into something they can see with and fits their lifestyle,” she says. “They influence me as much as anyone else has.”
Here is Sharon Billingsley:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“I would say equal parts of both parents.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” - Godfather.
What are you guilty of?
“I have been accused of repeatedly quoting movie and television lines.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My Scotty Cameron Putter. It is probably a mental issue, but I believe I roll the ball much better with this putter. And, it’s pretty.”
What are you reading currently?
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson.
Who has been the most influential person in the 20th Century?
“Winston Churchill for how he delivered through World War II. I find his insight incredible and admire how he was able to make decisions that turned our world, at that point, around.”
What is your passion?
“My latest obsession is always my current passion. It is always changing. I become consumed by whatever and do it to the nth degree and move onto the next thing. A consistent one has been golf. In the winter time I stop playing and then the bug comes back. Reading becomes an obsession at times to where I don’t do anything but read for days. ”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“Getting caught driving the school bus by the principal when I was in high school. You really can do donuts in a gravel parking lot in a Blue Bird. It was a small school, similar to Greenback with kindergarten through 12th grade.”
If you only had a week to live, what would you do and why?
“Obviously, say my goodbyes. I would also hope that I felt well enough in the last week of life so that I could enjoy one heck of a send-off.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“High energy. I know that’s two words, but can’t we use a hyphen?”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would really love to be taller.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Sandra Bullock. I like her in comedic roles. If a movie were made about me, please let it be a comedy.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Gilda Radner was one of the greatest comedians, a great character actress. I grew up in the 1970s watching ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and she was funny. I also respect her for her battle with breast cancer.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The summer of 1945 just after WWII ended. It had to be an exciting time.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“I received 6 boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls all wrapped together with a big bow.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Be strong and independent. Oh, and shoot the ball, you need to score more. That was regarding basketball.”
In the workplace, would you rather be powerful or popular?
“Why can’t you have both? Just kidding, I prefer productivity to popularity or power.”
Who is your hero?
“Soldiers and their families.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I like all animals. Well, mosquitoes bug me.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“I worked 3rd shift in a yarn mill one summer - picture ‘Norma Rae’ working conditions.”
What is your theme song that best describes you?
Billingsley had seven songs she would use as theme songs, all related to eyes. ‘”Tears of a Clown,’ ‘Tracks of my Tears,’ ‘My Eyes Adored You,’ ‘Private Eyes,’ ‘For Your Eyes Only,’ ‘Eye in the Sky,’ ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes.”’