Tommye Frank O’Neal was born in Hardin County, on March 10, 1937, the son of the late Mary White Sanford and Thomas Edward Sanford. His mother died on the day of his birth and he was adopted by his aunt and uncle Margaret Edna Sanford O’Neal and James Frank O’Neal. He became the son of Mr. and Mrs. O’Neal at the age of 1 day old, and a brother to their daughter Jean Vernell O’Neal.
Mr. O’Neal was a graduate of Saltillo High School and a valuable member of the basketball team. He graduated from Lambuth College in Jackson, Tenn., in 1960 with a business degree in business administration, receiving the R.E. Womack Award for having the highest grades in his major. He served his country as a member of the National Guard.
Mr. O’Neal taught school and coached basketball in the Hardin County School System before beginning his career with the Hardin County General Hospital where he served in the position of office manager, assistant administrator and administrator prior to his retirement. In December of 1962, he was married to Sharon Ruth Hudspeth, who preceded him in death in October 2010.
Mr. O’Neal departed this life on July 29, at his home at the age of 74 years, 4 months, and 19 days.
He is survived by two daughters, Connie Copeland and husband, Keith of Bartlett, Tenn. and Susan Buse and husband Raymond of Savannah; three grandchildren, Cody Copeland, Brianna Copeland and Naomi Buse; his mother-in-law, Gladys Hudspeth of Savannah; his brother-in-law, Sam Hudspeth and wife Carolyn of Leanon, Tenn.; his sister, Jean Vernell O’Neal Smith and husband Leonard of Jackson, Tenn.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by brothers, James, Robert, and John Sanford. Other survivors are sisters, Eva Hancock and husband Jack of Bristow, Okla., Patty Shamas and husband Ray of Tulsa, Okla.; brothers, Doug Sanford of Victoria, Texas and Paul Sanford and wife Patsy of Salado, Texas.
Tommye loved God, loved his family and friends. He was a member of Saltillo Methodist Church and also attended Northside Baptist Church in Savannah. He was a devoted sports fan, enjoying basketball, baseball, football and golf. Tommy was a loving, caring, sharing person, a doer of good deeds. In the end he donated the gift of life by being an organ donor.
Services were held on Monday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m., at Shackelford Chapel in Savannah, with Billy Allegood officiating. Burial followed in the Shady Grove Cemetery at Saltillo. Memorial donations can be made to St. Jude or to the Shady Grove Cemetery Fund, c/o The People’s Bank, 34910 Hwy 104 S, Sardis, TN 38371.