Thomas Ellis (Tommy) Rector, 98, of Oak Ridge, died Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at his home.
Born in Knoxville on December 31, 1924, he was the son of John P. and Emma Osborne Rector. Mr. Rector served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1946.
During this time, he met Mary Nelle Henderson and they married in 1945. After serving his country during WWII, they relocated to Oak Ridge where they started their family. Tommy worked in Quality Assurance at Y-12 and retired from the Department of Energy after 37 years of service. One of his most memorable accomplishments was working on the team that manufactured the first ‘moon box’ for NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Tommy was a longtime member of Glenwood Baptist Church of Oak Ridge. He was also a Mason and was active in the Oak Ridge tennis league for many years.
Mr. Rector is survived by granddaughter Khari Spence (Anthony) of Clinton; grandson Mark Frizzell (Gale) of Cleveland; great-granddaughter Bailey Rogers (Tyler) of Chattanooga; and sons-in-law Byrl King and Steve Henegar. Tommy will also be missed by his four-legged companion, Marty.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Rector was predeceased by his first wife, Mary Nelle Henderson Rector; his second wife, Polly Prewitt Rector; daughters Connie King and Deborah Henegar; grandson Jason Frizzell; sisters Cleo Pickel, Lillian Lee, Dorothy Wiles, and Alma Hickman; and brothers John C. Rector and Taft Rector.
Mr. Rector experienced excellent health most of his life, which may explain how he outlived most of his family. Amazingly, he was able to live at home by himself until 7 months ago when his health declined. The family would like to thank Tommy’s caregivers, Cathy, Valerie, and Bryan, for their excellent care during this time; Amedisys Hospice Care; and special neighbors Wanda and Ralph.
A graveside service will be held at Oak Ridge Memorial Park in Oak Ridge, TN on Monday, February 20, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. with Full Military Honors provided by the Jellico Honor Guard. Pastors Miller and Triplett will be officiating the graveside service. Jones Mortuary, LLC. in Clinton, TN is taking care of the Rector Family.
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