James Carter Kestner

James Carter Kestner, of Maryville, TN, passed away on July 11, after a short but brave battle with Cancer. He met death as he lived his life, surrounded by his loving wife Barbara, his children and grandchildren. Born in Saltville, VA on 9 September 1931, James grew up in an era of heroes, and was a part of America’s Greatest Generation. His father and mother raised 13 children and were beacons of inspiration in their lives and careers. His family, like so many others in America, was shaped by events that preserved our freedoms and way of life. His older brothers and sisters helped rebuild this Nation after the great Depression as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and fought for their Country in WWII. James carried their stories inside, and when his time came, enlisted in the Army on his 18th birthday. His served our Nation for 22 years in peace and war, as a soldier, NCO and Officer. During the Korean Conflict he was a Combat Medic, and returned to the United States as a decorated NCO. Posted to East Tennessee as an Army Recruiter, he met the love of his life, Barbara Rule at the Rockford Methodist Church, which was ministered by his brother-in-law, Marshall Lovelady, and his sister Mattie Faith Lovelady. James and Barbara were married in 1952 and had four sons and one daughter. After receiving a commission, James and his family were assigned to Germany during the Cold War era, and then to Japan, where he served as the Military Administrator of the 249th General Hospital. He deployed to and Vietnam in 1967 and subsequently served in MACV HQ, Vietnam, as the Field Grade Officer in charge of Theater Medical Evacuation. Major Kestner concluded his military service in 1972 and fulfilled a life-long dream to return with his family to Blount County. He helped to establish Peninsula Hospital in Lousville, TN and served as its first Hospital Administrator. He had a highly successful second career in Health Care Management, establishing and managing Medical facilities and Hospitals in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This career culminated as the CEO and Operations Director for HCA Medical Facilities and Hospitals east of the Mississippi. James retired in 1996 and continued his legacy of giving. He believed that what we give to the lives of others comes back into our own. He enjoyed daily trips to socialize with his friends at the Maryville-Alcoa Krogers, Wall-Mart and the Habitat for Humanity. Mostly, he enjoyed his family, which adored and respected him. A member of Smokey View Baptist Church, he shared with others, his abiding belief in God and his son Jesus Christ. Preceded in death by his father, John William Kestner, his mother, Margaret Surber Kestner, and 7 brothers and 3 sisters. James is survived by his wife, Barbara Rule Kestner of Marville, TN, sons, Steve Kestner and his wife Filiz Kestner of Knoxville, TN, Scott Kestner of Alcoa, TN, Michael Kestner of Alcoa, TN, Jeffrey Kestner and his wife Cathy Renee Kestner of Chattanooga, a daughter, Lisa Kestner Tart and her husband James Tart of Maryville, TN, Grandsons, James C. Kestner II and his wife Tara Kestner of Huntsville, AL, Christopher Kestner of Chattanooga, TN, Matthew Kestner of Chattanooga, TN, Erik Kestner of Knoxville, TN, Jonathan Taylor Kestner of Maryville, TN, and granddaughters Megan Kestner Borruff and her husband Shaun Borroff of Greenback, TN, Lindsey Kestner of Chattanooga, TN, Julia Kestner of Knoxville, TN and 2 great grandchildren; Carter Borruff and Meadow Kestner, his sister Marilyn Whitely of Chilhowee, VA, a brother R.D. Kestner of Saltville, VA. Masonic and funeral service will be at 7:30 PM, Friday, July 15, 2011 at Smith West Chapel with Rev. Michael Thompson and Dr. Mark Martin. Interment will be at 11:00 AM, Saturday, July 16, 2011 at Grandview Cemetery with full military honors. Family will receive friends from 5:30 until 7:30 PM, Friday, July 15, 2011 at Smith West Chapel. Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, www.smithmortuary.com.