Alex Anderson remembered for dedication to Kingsport history, Eastman, church

Rick Wagner • Mar 22, 2018 at 6:54 AM

KINGSPORT — When it came to Kingsport history, Alex Anderson knew all about it but was instrumental in making sure that everyone will have the chance to know about it for generations to come.

If you don’t believe it, just go to Centennial Park. A committee he headed vetted and chose the events embedded in the history walk at the park, which was dedicated last year for the city’s 100th anniversary. Anderson also was president of the Kingsport Historical Society, active in First Broad Street United Methodist Church, a supporter of the Barter Theatre and a longtime Eastman employee with almost four decades of service there.

“Alex was the personification of the Kingsport Spirit,” City Manager Jeff Fleming said. “He loved his community and his community loved him.”

Anderson, 81, died Monday at Indian Path Medical Center, according to his obituary. He was a 1954 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School and the University of Tennessee. After serving in the U.S. Army, he joined what became Eastman Chemical Co. and worked there for 39 years in the sales organization, including two assignments in the New York City office in the 1960s. CeeGee McCord said he was liked and respected by Eastman employees and customers alike.

At First Broad Street, he most recently served as a member of the Church Leadership Council. He was also active for many years with the Barter Theatre board of trustees and served as president. The self-described “news junkie,” his obituary said, read three newspapers daily and watched local and national television news.

Heather Cook, marketing director for the city, described Anderson as “wonderful” in heading the History Committee, which chose the historical facts and their dates laid out under your feet as you walk around the park. Since 2013, Anderson also had headed the Kingsport Historical Society. That group was formerly known as the Survivors’ Club when founded in 1988 but changed names in mid-2013. 

“I’ve known Alex for years,” said Jeff McCord, vice president of economic and workforce development for Northeast State Community College and, along with his wife, CeeGee, a co-chairman of the Kingsport Centennial Commission. “His committee was in charge of the inclusion of all the history, including the park,”McCord said, adding that Alexander was a “true gentleman” and “kind and strong.”

“He was beloved and respected at Eastman by those that worked and had the chance to know him,” Eastman employee CeeGee McCord said via email.

A memorial service for Anderson will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. A reception will be held immediately afterwards in the social hall. Memorial contributions may be made to First Broad Street United Methodist Church, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660 or Barter Theatre, 127 W. Main St., Abingdon, VA 24210.  

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