William Ewell Blankenship

Born: June 13, 1930     Died: November 23, 2020

William (Bill) Blankenship 90, of Farragut, died peacefully November 23, 2020 due to complications related to COVID. Nine weeks after his death, Bill’s loving wife Peggy 88, joined him in Heaven after also enduring COVID complications. Bill and Peggy were married May 24, 1953 and were blessed with 67 years together. Knowing this couple now share eternal life has eased the loss for their family and friends. Bill was born in LaFollette Tennessee. He attended military prep school, at Kentucky Military Institute. Later he graduated with an accounting degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Peggy was born in New Tazewell Tennessee. She graduated from Sweetwater High School and also attend attended East Tennessee State University. The Blankenships were married in Johnson City and then moved to Indianapolis Indiana where Bill was an instructor at the United States Army Finance School. Bill was a United States Army veteran. Bill and Peggy eventually returned to Tennessee and were residents of West Knoxville for 58 years. They were active in their community and their church and were also successful business entrepreneurs. Bill was owner of Dixie Lee Disposal sanitation company serving West Knoxville. He later owned and operated West Knoxville Fire Department that later evolved into Tennessee Rural/Metro Fire Department. Bill was President and Chief of Rural/Metro until his retirement. The Blankenships were also owners of Peggy’s and Bill’s Boots and Shoes. They operated for 25 years at several locations in the Knoxville area. Bill was an active member and past President of the Optimist Club. He was also involved in the PTA for his children’s elementary schools and was a board member of the Belmont West Homeowners Association. Peggy was involved in historical preservation and beautification activities in the Knoxville area. She was a founding member and first President of the Belmont West Garden Club. Later she joined the Dixie Highway Garden Club and participated in their promotion and enjoyment of gardening. Peggy regularly volunteered for fund raising at Historic Ramsey House and she was also a docent for the Knoxville Museum of Art. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution for the State of Tennessee.Bill and Peggy attended church at West Hills Baptist Church and later became members of First Baptist Church of Concord. They were active in their couple’s Sunday School class and volunteered for church-sponsored Mission of Hope. Bill also devoted time to food collection for FISH of Knox County.


The Blankenships were preceded in death by their parents William H. and Jessie Ely Blankenship of LaFollette and Harry L. and Gretna Childress Ausmus of Johnson City. Bill also had an infant brother Joe and six half-brothers to precede him. He is survived by his sister, Ina Cobb of Morristown. Peggy was also preceded in death by her sister Bennie Quinn. Her surviving brother is Harry Ausmus of Cheshire Connecticut. The Blankenships leave their immediate family members who loved them dearly and truly admired their special devotion as husband and wife. The children and spouses are Becky (Neil) Durrance, Margie (Larry) Miller and Wendell Blankenship. They also leave seven grandchildren and their spouses Trevor (Rachel) Miller, Callie (Ty) McKinzie, Dane Miller, Trent (Esther) Miller, Jessie Grazziotin, Will Blankenship and Pearce Durrance. Nine great-grandchildren continue on the spreading branches of the Blankenship family tree. Bill and Peggy will be missed by many cousins, nieces and nephews. They are now enjoying a Heavenly reunion with many relatives and friends.

A private burial was held for Bill and Peggy at Pleasant Forest Cemetery in Farragut. There will be a memorial celebration for this wonderful couple in late summer.

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