At 1:30 a.m. on All Saints Day, November 1, 2019, the roster of saints got a bit longer with the death of Kenneth Eldridge Honeycutt in Brentwood, TN. He died gently of complications from several prior falls and a quick decline at Somerfield Health Care Center, a part of The Heritage at Brentwood. He enjoyed seven years of active living at this retirement complex.
Kenneth was born at home 91 years ago near Corsicana, TX, in the east Texas oil patch to Mary Catherine Cushman Honeycutt and Dave Eldrige Honeycutt. He was the first of seven children.
The primary Honeycutt homeplace was New London, TX. As a child Kenneth witnessed the infamous London High School explosion in 1937 and recalled it in depth on a segment on National Public Radio’s “Story Corps” in 2017. He attended Texas A & M University in chemical engineering and became a commander in the Corps of Cadets. He won his Aggie boots, his Aggie Ring, and was a football bench “12th man” when he graduated in 1950!
Upon graduation, Kenneth married his college girlfriend and was hired by Dow Chemical Company, where he worked for the next 29 years. During that time, David Earl and Mary Evelyn, eight years apart were born. The family moved several times with Dow – finally, in 1975, to Knoxville, TN where he headed up the opening of Hydroscience, which specialized in pollution control.
He married a second time to Betty Gaye (Grooms) at the Unitarian Church on December 4, 1987. They enjoyed backpacking in Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and volunteering with the Service Corps of Retired Engineers to Romania. Other adventure trips included staying in a refurbished ancient castle in Umbria and a private safari in greater Kenya with the Honeycutt family.
Kenneth relished life, enjoyed a vibrant social life and discussing important issues of the day, reading and learning, and on fall days watching both college and professional football. He was honest and principled. His close friends, when faced with an ethical issue, teased that they would say to themselves, “What Would Kenneth Do?”
Kenneth is survived by his wife: Gaye; son: David (Henley Sims); daughter: Mary Evelyn (Tim McNamara); two brothers: Billy Jack (Jeanne) and David “Mickey” (DAnn); two sisters: Marie Fulton and Ann Golden; a host of stepchildren: Jan Pipkin (Tony), Leslie Knox (John); in-laws: David Altmeyer; and grandchildren: Madeline, Thomas, Daniel, Jessisca, Brandon, Tyler, Loren, Patrick, Kerrie, Mark, Rachel, Lillian, Pippa, Roland, Avery and Landon. Kenneth was preceded in death by a brother: Baxter Honeycutt; sister: Becky Altmeyer; and stepdaughter: Lisa Prater.
Nashville Funeral & Cremation is assisting the family. A private Memorial Service will be held on December 7th at 3:00pm at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Memorial contributions are welcome to TVUUC Endowment Fund, 2931 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, or TheDevilsRiverConservancy.org (Austin).