Mr. Roy C. "Sonny" Hargrove, Jr., 74, of Woodbury, Tennessee passed away on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. He was born to the late Roy Cecil and Mary Sue Bailey Hargrove in Athens, Alabama on Monday, February 14, 1949. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Bettye Faye and Gilbert W. Holt, and brothers-in-law, Bob Richter and Glenn Keenon.
He is survived by his wife, Cathy Hargrove of Woodbury; children, Lane (Moy) Hargrove of Murfreesboro, Brent (Emily) Hargrove of Manchester, Natalie (Craig) Jacobs of Murfreesboro, and Chad Hargrove of Savannah, GA; grandchildren, Weston Hargrove, Daigon Jacobs, Ethan Hargrove, Jackson Jacobs, Claire Hargrove, and Cassidy Hargrove; sisters, Evelyn Donise Richter and Mary Cecile Keenon both of Athens, AL; close friends, Joseph Leid and family; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.
Being a junior just didn't seem to fit Roy, and he took on a name of his own when he earned the nickname "Sonny." Coming from a very religious family, Sonny knew exactly how to straighten up and fly right. The Hargroves attended the Ephesus Church of Christ in Athens, Alabama for many years with his dad setting the example for the family. Roy Sr. was an elder at Ephesus and would go out of his way to assist those in the congregation. He even went as far as to let families with nowhere else to go use his home for funerals, but Roy Sr. didn't stop there.
When there was a need in the community for a Christian school, Roy Sr. played an integral role in starting the Athens Bible School, and that meant Sonny was going to support it. For all 12 years of his primary schooling, Sonny attended Athens Bible School. Even when Roy Sr. passed away in 1962, Sonny remained faithful in his attendance, and at the tender age of 13 took up driving the school bus to pay the tuition. That grounding in work ethic and his positive outlook on life's challenges came from his walk by faith rather than by sight.
His firm foundation in the Lord and desire to serve and protect others led him to join the United States Air Force. Straighten up and fly right gained a whole new meaning for Sonny, and generally, it was him saying it to others. As an Air Traffic Controller during the Vietnam War, Sonny traveled all over including to places like Thailand and Germany. For 10 year, he committed his life to service of the Lord through serving his Country. Coming back to the States proved to be the right decision, especially when he met Cathy.
Cathy's brother-in-law was a preacher and made the connection between Sonny and Cathy with the help of his wife. You can't ask for much better than meeting through a family connection and church. They started their lives on a good foundation and bonded over the fact they were both born on holidays. If Sonny had a nickel for every time it was brought up that he was a Valentine's baby, he was convinced he would be a very wealthy man. Add on a nickel for hearing about Cathy being a Thanksgiving baby? They wouldn't of ever had to worry about a thing financially, but they didn't have to worry about anything regardless.
Why, you ask? Well, for some reason, it seemed being born on the holidays known for love and gratitude sunk in deep to the family. That same positive outlook on life Sonny had could also be found in Cathy, and so their kids had no choice but to get a double dose of it. Whatever challenges came their way, the family was ready to roll with the punches, especially with Sonny in the cockpit, and it made for interesting adventures and memories.
From helping out at a funeral home to doing long distance moving, Sonny had probably been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. Working for United Van Lines, he moved people across the country, and his military training and calm demeanor paid off with moves to places like New York City. With no GPS, many people nowadays would be lost, but Sonny had a great sense of direction. He would travel anywhere the road would take him and always seemed to be on the go. He even took up trucking with Cathy's brother for a while and enjoyed the trips and time spent on the road with family.
Now, when Sonny wasn't on the road, his family knew the places to look for him — his chair, the grill, or the garage. If he was in his chair, you could just about guarantee he had one of two things in his hand. A book or the remote. Sonny was an avid reader, and murder mysteries took the cake when it came to his favorites. James Patterson books didn't sit unopened for long if they were within Sonny's reach. When it came to the remote, he was more sparing in his involvement, but if he had it in hand, you knew there was a college basketball or football game on that was of interest to him.
Taking the boy out of Alabama changed him, and Sonny became a Tennessee convert. He was a big fan of UT and MTSU, and the only time he was watching something other than college sports was when his grandkids were taking the court or the field. "Papa Sonny" routed unconditionally for his grandkids teams whether it was from the stands or from his chair, and oh boy, did he know how to cook for a tailgate. You can take the boy out of Alabama, but you can't take the Alabama out of the boy. Even being a Tennessee convert, Sonny gave his grilling an Alabama flare. He was known for his pulled pork barbeque and especially for his chicken barbeque with homemade Alabama white sauce.
As if being a grill master wasn't enough of a talent, Sonny also had a knack for wood working. He primarily did antique restorations and built furniture, and if Sonny was doing it, it was going to be useful or for the benefit of others. While Sonny's life was not all rainbows and butterflies, it could be summarized by saying that he kept things on the "Sonny side." He used his gifts and talents wherever he was to serve others and glorify God. He aimed to make faith and family central in his life with love and thanksgiving in his heart. He maintained an uncanny excitement and zest for life in the highs and the lows. And as a member of West High Church of Christ, he kept things on the "Sonny side" to point others to the Son's side that mattered most.
Visitation will be held at Ephesus Church of Christ on Monday, December 4, 2023 from 11 am - 1 pm. Funeral services will follow on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 1 pm at Ephesus Church of Christ. Bro. Nicky Pressnell will officiate. Interment will be in Roselawn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
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