Lucille Roberts Buttram, age 90, died peacefully at NHC Place Farragut, Cavette Hill, in Knoxville on Monday, August 7, 2023. A native of Harriman, Tennessee, Lucille was born on Walnut Hill on September 11, 1932.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Claude E. Buttram Jr., parents H.J. and Grace Roberts; brothers Hobart, Jack, Jessie B., Joe, and Reuben Roberts; and sister Gladys Bell.
Survivors include her son Claude E. Buttram, III and his wife Ann of Lenoir City; granddaughter Heather Buttram of Lenoir City; sister-in-law Jo Roberts of Harriman; niece Shelia Bell of Oak Ridge; plus, many other nieces and nephews.
Lucille took wonderful care of her family. Whenever her family or friends were ill or enduring hardship, she was there with love and support. She attended as many school events in Harriman as she could, and she was also a loyal Vols fan, both football and basketball. She really enjoyed traveling and took many interesting trips in the United States and abroad.
Lucille graduated from Harriman High School as valedictorian in 1950. She earned a B.S. from Berea College, Kentucky, then an M.S. and an E.D.S. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Her 33-year-long career in education began in 1954 as a 2nd-grade teacher at Walnut Hill Elementary School in Harriman. (Lucille was born in a house that used to stand where the school was built.) Next, she became a supervisor of instruction beginning in 1974. Becoming superintendent of schools in 1985, she was the first woman appointed superintendent in Tennessee.
She retired in 1988. At that time, she received a key to the city of Harriman, and a special “Lucille Buttram Day” was held in her honor. Her parting remarks were “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 33 years in education, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. . .. I cannot recall a day I have dreaded coming to work.”
At Roane County’s first Founders Day celebration in 2007, Lucille was honored as a living “Treasure” in the first class of Roane Treasures. This honor is reserved for citizens of Roane County who have significantly contributed to the county through their dedicated service to public, private, and charitable organizations. Lucille was recognized for “a vital role in the betterment of the community.”
Among many community activities, Lucille played an important role in the Kiwanis Club. She served on many levels, from member to various committee chairs to president, the last for three years. She was recognized by Kiwanis International “as an individual showing the dedication, commitment, and talent necessary to serve the children of the world and improve the quality of life worldwide.”
A true pillar of her church, Lucille was considered a “spiritual mother” by her church friends. Always an active member, she taught Sunday school to both children and adults and sang in the choir. She supported many other special activities such as the WMU, Vacation Bible School, and various missions. She was a member of Riverside Baptist Church and a former member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 12, 2023, at the Kyker Funeral Home in Harriman. The funeral will follow at 2:00 p.m. with Reverend Mason Goodman officiating.
The family requests in lieu of flowers donations may be made for missions or the youth department of Riverside Baptist Church, 629 Clinch St, Harriman, Tennessee 37748. Kyker Funeral Home of Harriman is serving the Buttram Family.