Charles W. “Buddy” Pope, Sr., age 93, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, after a long, well-lived life. Known by many as “Coach Pope” or “Dadaw”, Buddy was a devoted husband and father, as well as a proud veteran of the US Air Force, serving during the Korean Conflict, and retired teacher and coach for Oak Ridge Schools.
Buddy married the love of his life, Jean Cook Pope, whom he thought hung the moon and stars, and they shared over 56 wonderful years of marriage together. Theirs is a love story that all aspire to have, as they continued to laugh together even as his health failed.
“Dadaw” was a gift to his kids and grandchildren. They never doubted his love for them, as he quickly responded when they told him they loved him, “not as much as I love you.” He was always quick to remind his family that he would be “right there if you need me” and told them he prayed for each of them by name daily. His laugh was infectious and his encouragement unsurpassed. He told them to always “go in there with a lot of confidence”, “to do the right thing,” and “to let others complement you rather than complement yourself.” He made every get-together fun and never cut the kids slack when it came to family pool, volleyball, or ping pong competitions. He famously beat all his grandchildren in races while he ran backwards, even up into his seventies. Buddy had a love for bird dogs and upland game hunting with a special place in his heart for his faithful dog, Phoebe.
Buddy was a hard worker and always ready to help a stranger. He was a humble man who cared more about the success of others than himself. He truly loved his students and was so proud of their successes. He was loved and respected by countless former student-athletes and students who enthusiastically share their memories of his impact on their lives. Buddy was known as the “Daddy of Oak Ridge Baseball” where he both played and coached for 40 years. He holds the all-time coaching record at Oak Ridge High School and was inducted into the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame and East Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Buddy played football at the University of Florida and baseball at East Tennessee State University but was a lifelong Tennessee Vols fan.
Buddy’s faith was central to his character. He was heard to say to his
children and grandchildren that he didn’t just desire for them to attend
church, but rather he hoped that they would want to attend church. While Buddy will be sorely missed by his family and loved ones, they find
encouragement in the assurance that Buddy knew and walked with his Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, not unexpectedly, Buddy has won the race and awaits his loving family in Heaven who understand the unconditional love of God better because of the love of Buddy Pope.
Buddy was preceded in death by family he loved so much including parents, Reese & Bessie Pope; sister, Faye Henderson; and brothers, Bill, and Jackie Pope. Survivors include beloved wife, Jean Cook Pope; daughter, Kim Jaggers & husband, Deron; son, Chuck Pope & wife Shauna; grandchildren, Bryce Adams & wife, Ariel, Bradleigh Thomassian & husband, Ty, Will Jaggers, Ben Jaggers & fiancé, Katie King, Charles Pope III & wife, Michaela, Abi McCollough & husband, Forest, and Allyson Pope; great grandchildren, Hadley, Elle, Forrest, and Reese, with another great granddaughter on the way. Dear to him also were multiple nieces and nephews from the Pope, Henderson, and Cook families.
The family requests donations be made in Buddy’s memory to Samaritan’s Purse at http://www.samaritanspurse.org, The Billy Graham Evangelical Association at http://www.billygraham.org or to Operation Blessing at http://www.ob.org.
The family will receive friends 5-7 Saturday, January 13, 2024, at Weatherford Mortuary. Funeral services will follow at 7 pm with Rev. Bill Gowder officiating. Family & friends will meet at 12:30 pm on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at Oak Ridge Memorial Park for interment. Online condolences may be left at weatherfordmortuary.com.