By Ralphine Major
She does not live in our community anymore, but I see her more often than some who do. Labor Day Weekend, I saw her at the neighborhood IGA grocery store. I know she recycles, because I saw her last summer at the solid waste center. Just last month, I saw her at the mall. Sheree Jo Hill is someone I have known since childhood. We were part of a class that spent all twelve years of school together under one roof. As remote as it now seems, Gibbs Elementary, Gibbs Junior High (today’s middle school), and Gibbs High School were all in the same building on campus.
Sheree was a popular cheerleader all through school. At the Gibbs High School 100th Anniversary last year, I learned that Sheree and her mother, Betty Hill, share a special bond. Sheree’s mother was a cheerleader at Gibbs, too. In fact, her family’s association with Gibbs even goes back another generation. Sheree’s maternal grandmother, Bonnie Sharp, graduated from Gibbs and played on the girls’ basketball team. Bonnie worked with our mother at the former East Tennessee Chest Disease Hospital on Tazewell Pike. She must have been so proud to see her four grandchildren all graduate from Gibbs.
Sheree’s older brother, Benjie, played on Ken Sparks’ first football team at Gibbs. Benjie and Sheree both graduated from Tennessee Tech University. Sheree’s brother, Stacey, was in my brother’s class at Gibbs. He graduated from Carson-Newman University where he ran track for Ken Sparks. During that time, Coach Sparks received Southern Collegiate Track Coach of the Year honors. Lynn, the youngest sibling, is a former principal of Gibbs High School. He started his college studies at Tennessee Tech but transferred and graduated from The University of Tennessee.
Today, Sheree lives in neighboring North Carolina with her husband, Tom Gordon. They have a daughter and son-in-law, a son and daughter-in-law, and a 15-month-old granddaughter! It will be no surprise if that granddaughter someday becomes a cheerleader or basketball player! Even with her own growing family, Sheree still finds her way “home” often. It is a special mother who keeps her coming back to Corryton, and we are glad she does.