Skip to content

William Terry Rickman (7-13-22)

William Terry Rickman, 87, of Maryville, Tennessee passed away on Wednesday, July 13, at Brookdale, Sandy Springs Senior Living from complications of dementia. Terry was born on Jan. 21, 1935 in Shiloh, to Joe and Evelyn Glover Rickman.
Terry was a West Tennessee farm boy, spending his summers picking cotton for a penny a pound, routinely picking 200 pounds a day. While growing up, he used the mules he loved and respected to plow the fields even though one almost killed him by trying to kick him in the head at the age of two. Fortunately, Terry survived this encounter with a homicidal mule continuing on to school at the Shiloh National Military Park, graduating from high school at the age of 16 after starting early and skipping a grade. After high school, he worked in Miami as a roofer, the hottest job in the world, installing solar panels on houses including Al Capone’s mansion.
Terry served honorably in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1957. He met his wife, Pat, when they were both stationed with the Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 1950s. His service included being stationed in France at a NATO base and attending jump school to be a paratrooper, completing many jumps while on active duty. Terry retired from the Air National Guard at McGhee Tyson Airbase as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1983 after 21 years of service with the 119th National Guard Unit as a weapons controller.
Terry received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin using the GI Bill and received his master’s degree from Peabody College for Teachers, now part of Vanderbilt University. He taught chemistry and physics for approximately 30 years, first at Alcoa High School, then as a Science Educator at the Oak Ridge Science Center during the 1970s, retiring from his teaching career at Doyle High School in Knox County in 1992. Terry was a beloved teacher, adored by his students and admired by his colleagues, managing to make science fun with his sense of humor and engaging personality.
Terry loved to farm his property on Six Mile Road, raising cattle, horses (including his tobacco chewing horse Opie) and large gardens to feed his family and farming tobacco to sell, and he loved to hunt, especially raccoons. He was compassionate and kind, always asking family, friends and neighbors “Is there anything I can do for you?” We miss him already.
Terry is survived by Patricia Marshall Rickman, his wife of almost 66 years, his five children and their families; Joe, Jack (wife Marlene and children Sydney & Kylee), Jill, Jimmy (wife Kathy and children Will & Andrew) and Jennifer (children Juliana & Jameson White); his two sisters, Mary Ruth Driskell and Jeannie Sloan; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents; his sister JoAnn Ross; his brother CD Rickman; his son-in-law Jay White; and most recently his little dog of 15 years, Odie.
Terry will be interred at the family cemetery, Shady Grove, in Shiloh, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Shady Grove Perpetual Fund, c/o Mary Ruth Driskell, 955 Hwy 142, Shiloh, Tennessee, 38376.