Former state Rep. Gene Caldwell dies, age 84

Former state Rep. Gene Caldwell, a pediatrician and U.S Navy veteran, died Saturday of heart failure at Oak Ridge. He would have turned 85 on March 14.

Caldwell, a Democrat, was elected to the House in 1996 and served three terms. He was active, before and afterwards, in multiple Anderson County community affairs.

Excerpt from the funeral home obituary:

Born Marvin Gene Caldwell to Georgie B. and Evelyn Brown Pruett Caldwell on March 14, 1932, he grew up on his parents’ farm in Woodland Mills in Tennessee’s Obion County… Gene graduated from the University of Tennessee’s College of Agriculture in 1953 with a bachelor of science degree in agronomy.

He joined the U.S. Navy while still at UT. After graduation in 1953 he married Bobbie McCoy, also from West Tennessee and a UT graduate. He and his young family were stationed in Portsmouth, Va., in 1954, and the following year they moved to Nashville, where he worked as a recruiter for the Navy. While there he did postgraduate work at Vanderbilt University, with an eye toward attending medical school. He always enjoyed teasing his Vanderbilt friends about going to Vanderbilt to get his grades up so he would be admitted to UT medical school.

… Gene and Bobbie always shared an active interest in politics and the Democratic Party in particular. In 1996 he successfully ran for office to represent the 33rd District in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He served three terms in the House, retiring in 2002. His wife, Bobbie, died in 2004.

.. The family request that any memorials be in the form of gifts to the Emory Valley Center Capital Campaign, for which he worked so passionately the last years of his life. Contributions should specify the Capital Campaign of the Emory Valley Center, P.O. Box 5328, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.

The body was to be cremated. The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton.

Note: Comment from House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh:

“Gene Caldwell was a  good and kind man who used his intellect and professional experience in the legislature to improve the health of many Tennesseans, especially children. I was honored to serve with him and call him my friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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