Jean Anderson King McAmis, 98, died peacefully on June 13, 2020. She is remembered by many as a guidance counselor at Greeneville High School, Greeneville Junior High, and South Greene High School.
Jean was born in the small historic town of LaGrange, in Fayette County in West Tennessee near Memphis. Despite living in Greeneville for nearly 75 years, she never lost her West Tennessee accent, and said that she never felt completely at home until she was surrounded by hot, flat fields of cotton.
She attended Sullins College and the University of Tennessee. She received her bachelor’s degree from Tusculum College and her master’s degree from East Tennessee State University.
As long as she was able, she was an active and engaged member of First Presbyterian Church, where she served as ordained ruling elder and was an active circle member. She belonged to the Andrew Johnson Club, Heritage Trust, and served on the board of directors of Comcare.
She loved to follow politics and served as a poll worker for many years. In the 1960s, she was instrumental in establishing Greeneville’s first child day care center for disadvantaged parents.
Jean prized independence and preached the value of being able to take care of oneself.
Throughout her years in Greeneville, Jean was blessed to be surrounded by wonderful girlfriends who got together, talked, and laughed, played cards, picked blackberries, and went on trips. They cheered each other’s high points, and supported each other during low times. She would be disappointed if her obituary did not mention The Bridge Club (of which she was a founding member in 1950), Friday Five, her book club Semper Liber, and The Prayer Meeting Group.
She played a great barrelhouse piano, delighting her children with the music which filled the house, and by the fact that she knew all the verses to Frankie and Johnny, Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane and Down Yonder.
Jean believed in fun, church, friends, adventure, independence, the Democratic Party, and in keeping busy. She was a person of conscience who, through her tutoring and mentorship, worked hard to help young people live up to their potential. She persevered through periods of adversity, and would agree with her children’s assessment that she lived a happy, productive, and successful life.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Willie Lugenia Cowan and Logan Ernest Anderson; her brothers, Logan and William “Cap” Anderson and their wives, Rosa and Dorothy; and by her beloved husband, Herbert C. McAmis.
She is survived by her children, K. Kidwell King (Laraine) and Imogene Anderson King (Richard Roberts), who were the children of her first husband, Kyle K. King; and by her step-daughter, Betsy McAmis. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kyle King III (Sara Prushan) and Amanda Deaton Kaylor (Drew), and by nieces and nephews.
The family expresses its deep appreciation to the special caregivers she had over the years.
Interment will be at Oak Grove Cemetery with a family graveside service. A memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.
Those who wish to remember Jean may do so with a memorial to First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville.
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