Marion E. “Bud” Nolan, 88, of Sevierville, Tenn., passed away at home Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, and his parents, Elizabeth Rush and David Nolan.
He is survived by daughters, Cindy (Ron) Dickson of Glendale, Ariz., and Debi Stovall of Seymour, Tenn.; a son, Doug Nolan of Raleigh, N.C.; grandsons, Michael (Lee) Melton of Seymour, Tenn., and Jordan Dickson of Anaheim, Calif.; granddaughter, Laci DeLozier of Niota, Tenn.; great-granddaughters, Paige Melton and Taylor Thomas; and great-grandson, Dylan DeLozier.
Born in DeGraff on April 14, 1929, he attended school in Belle Center and graduated in 1947 from Huntsville High School, where he played several sports and attended Buckeye Boys State. These experiences helped him realize the two areas that would become his lifelong passions: baseball and politics.
While playing baseball at Huntsville, Bud’s skills were noticed by a scout — the now-famous late Walter Alston — who arranged a tryout for him with the Cincinnati Reds. This resulted in Bud receiving a contract to play third base with the Reds’ minor league team in St. Louis. At the time, there were many events taking place in the world in the aftermath of World War II, so, after one season with the Reds, Bud chose to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. After completing boot camp, Bud was sent to Erding, Germany, where, once again, he was able to continue to pursue his passion of playing baseball, this time for the U.S. Air Force. After fulfilling his military commitment, Bud returned to Ohio and moved to Bellefontaine, where he began his 45-year engineering career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
It is also where he met Nancy Hecathorn, the beautiful young high school girl who eventually became his wife. Nancy and Bud were married June 3, 1951, a partnership that spanned 65 years. In Bellefontaine, Bud also was able to continue pursuing his earlier passion for politics, resulting in him being elected as a City Councilman in 1954. His love of politics also prompted him to work on the campaign of another young politician, John F. Kennedy, as he ran for President of the United States. Bud’s work on the campaign was so valued by the newly elected president and his staff that he and Nancy were invited to attend the Presidential Inauguration events in Washington, D.C.
Bud and Nancy’s wishes to start a family began with the birth of their daughter, Cindy, in 1953. A few years later, two more children, Debi and Doug, were added to the family, and Bud was thrilled to have his own little baseball stars. Bud volunteered to coach the Little League baseball team in Bellefontaine, and in typical “Bud” fashion, he led his underdog team to win the city championship, stunning the current champions. In addition to coaching, Bud began expanding his playing experience to include men’s softball, and the family loved to tag along and jump up and down, cheering on their dad as he hit one ball after another over the fence that they could then chase down.
Throughout his life, Bud pursued many interests. He was a licensed pilot and a musician, serving as a member of the award-winning Satan’s Angels Drum and Bugle Corps. Pursuing a love for the fraternal organizations that his father introduced him to, Bud became a Mason and a Shriner, where he loved being in the clown unit.
Bud and Nancy were very active in the Methodist Church. This was such an important part of Bud’s life that after retirement from Westinghouse, he became a local pastor for the United Methodist Church. He had his own parish in rural areas of Knoxville, Tenn., and, until recently, was still active as he performed several marriages, including his own grandson’s.
Bud and Nancy eventually retired full time and moved to Sun City Center, Fla., residing there for several years. Bud’s passion for the game of baseball led him to establish a senior recreational softball league for the Tampa, Fla., area. He also became an usher at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ballpark where he and Nancy loved chatting with the late New York Yankee legend, Don Zimmer. Bud and Nancy eventually returned to Tennessee and established a home in Sevierville, where Bud regularly played softball up to five times a week and traveled throughout Tennessee, winning state championships. He also worked closely with the Mayor of Knoxville, the now-Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, to establish the non-profit Knoxville Senior Co-Ed Recreational Softball League, which gives more than 100 seniors the opportunity to play softball each year during the spring and summer seasons.
As a result of everything Bud did to benefit others, he was named an Honorary Kentucky Colonel in 2012. During their 65 years of marriage, Bud and Nancy were very fortunate to have family and so many friends who adored them and who, while sad to see them go, are happy to know that they are reunited in Heaven.
Interment is at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. Dan Moore, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Gatlinburg, will officiate. Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers to Knox Senior Co-Ed Recreational Softball League.
Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com