OBITUARY: Thomas Alexander Yates


Thomas Alexander Yates, 90, beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, son, and brother, passed away at his son’s home in Brentwood, TN on May 13, 2024, surrounded by his family.

Tom was born in Winchester, TN. As a young child, he moved to Bakersfield, CA and graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 1953.

As a young man, he was baptized for the remission of sins and became a faithful Christian until his death. Tom loved Jesus and told everyone he met about God, the Bible, the church, and the way to salvation. He attended Central Christian College, Abilene Christian College, and Harding College. After college, Tom served in the Air Force from 1956-1960.

Tom fell in love and was married to Jo Ann Watson on May 19, 1957, until her death on November 24, 2009. He and Jo Ann lived, loved, and laughed together for over 52 years of marriage. They were a dedicated and loving team who raised three children and ministered to countless others in their life-long service to the Lord.

Tom retired from General Motors in 1994 after working 25 years in Kansas City, MO and another 6½ years in Indianapolis, IN. After retiring, Tom and Jo Ann moved to Malden, MO, then to Corinth, MS and finally to Columbia, TN. He was a long-time member and deacon at Oak Grove church of Christ in Oak Grove, MO, and a member at Graymere church of Christ in Columbia, TN for the past 20 years.

While living in Columbia, Tom met and eventually married Shelby Lunn on August 9, 2014. They were married and cared for one another for nearly a decade. Tom loved Shelby and her children: Teresa (Mickey), Ken (Lynda), Phillip (Meribeth), and Michelle (Matt) and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much.

Tom loved attending gospel meetings, area wide singings, Bible classes, and lectureships. He was a devoted student of the Bible and enjoyed reading it daily. Early in life, he loved track and running hurdles; later in life, he loved watching his grandchildren play sports. Throughout life, he loved playing card games, fishing, telling jokes, and meeting people. Tom never met a stranger.

He was preceded in death by his father, Floyd Yates, Sr., and his mother Amelia May Yates. He was preceded in death by his siblings Phyllis Hardy, Margaret Herring, Joan Darby, Floyd Yates, Jr., Elaine Nalley, and Jack Yates.

He is survived by his second wife, Shelby Lunn Yates, of Columbia, TN.

He is also survived by his children: Wan (Brenda) Yates of Madison, AL; Kendle (Carmen) Yates of Brentwood, TN; and Cary (Michael) Haggard of Success, AR.

Lastly, he is survived by his grandchildren: Luke Yates, Alec (Selby) Yates, Heath (Abbey) Yates, Lily Yates, Seth Haggard, Sydney Haggard, Titus Haggard, Sable Haggard, several nieces, nephews, and many friends.

Funeral Services will be conducted Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home with John Vaughn officiating. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends from noon until service time at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Pallbearers will be, Seth Haggard, Titus Haggard, Luke Yates, Heath Yates, Alec Yates. Honorary Pallbearers will be Ken Lunn and Phillip Lunn.

Tom loved Freed Hardeman University, especially the lectureships. Tom and Jo Ann adopted their two sons through Holt International. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his memory to: Freed Hardeman University, 158 E Main St, Henderson, TN 38340, Or Holt International, PO Box 2880, Eugene, OR 97402.


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