American Veteran 04


Douglas Polk

August 31, 1944 ~ April 13, 2019 (age 74)

Mr. Douglas McLane Polk, Sr., LT COL USAF (Retired), 74, of Johnson City, Tennessee passed from this life to the heavenly on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Dominion Senior Living of Bristol, Tennessee after a brief battle with cancer and a long one with dementia.  He was born August 31, 1944 in Varnville, South Carolina to Edgar E. Polk and Susie McLane Polk.  Doug is survived by his wife of 20 years, Ellen Tutor Polk, and her two sons, Matthew Estes of Roanoke, Virginia and Scott Rhodes of Knoxville, Tennessee.  He is also survived by his children with his deceased wife, Lucy Schamber Polk – Douglas Polk, Jr. (Susan) of Collierville, Tennessee and Jennifer Polk Demetriou (Ande) of Bartlett, Tennessee.  He leaves a large and loving family including his grandchildren, Jakob Polk and David Polk of Collierville, Tennessee, Madeline Demetriou, Sophie Demetriou and Cole Demetriou of Bartlett, Tennessee, and Noah Estes and Vivi Estes of Roanoke, Virginia.  Along with his devoted siblings, Betty Marr (Raymond) of Chapin, South Carolina, Virginia “Dickie” McClure of Varnville, South Carolina, Gene Polk (Sissy) of Columbia, South Carolina, and William Polk (Ginny) of McDonough, Georgia.  He also leaves his wife’s sisters and husbands who count him more than a brother-in-law – Peggy Tutor (Bill Robertson) of San Marino, California, Phyllis Breiter (Jeff) of Palm Coast, Florida, Ann Spicer (Herman) of Gadsden, Alabama, and Kathryne Horner (John) of Nacogdoches, Texas; and a host of adoring nieces and nephews. 


Doug was a man of many talents and without conceit.  He worked hard and enjoyed life.  He graduated from Clemson University in 1966 and earned a master’s degree from George Washington University in 1977.  He devoted 21 years of honorable service to the Unites States Air Force serving in many U.S. locations, including The Pentagon, and overseas in Thailand and Germany.  He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and began working in the civilian sector managing teams of analysts at Federal Express in Memphis for 13 years before retiring there in 2001.  Doug, like many men, found it hard to stop working.  Upon retiring to Johnson City with Ellen, he enjoyed a part-time position with Sears Parts and Service.  And volunteering gave him great satisfaction.  He stepped in to help the Appalachian Service Project in Jonesville, Virginia; the Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk, North Carolina; TEMA doing tornado relief work in Middle Tennessee; and delivering Meals on Wheels to Kingsport area shut-ins.  He was an active member of Bethany Presbyterian Church EPC in Kingsport, Tennessee.  In his down time, he loved Clemson football, watching NASCAR of TV, traveling the U.S. and Europe, every opportunity to hear “Lightnin’ Charlie” Dolinger in Tennessee Tri-Cities venues, barbeques, watermelon, and boiled peanuts!


Doug was the type of man who only the coldest of hearts would not warm to.  Gracious, intelligent and adventurous, he blessed family, friends and neighbors with his good humor and generous spirit.  His greetings came with a genuine smile and strong handshake or warm hug.  And his faith shone quietly in the fruits of the spirit he had cultivated in his life in honor to his Lord – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith.  We grieve our loss but still are able to rejoice in his reward – he has come with indescribable happiness and healing into the presence of the Lord in whom he believed, we are comforted.


The family extends our thanks to the staff of Dominion senior Living in Bristol, Tennessee.  Also thanks for the special care received at the hands of the Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice, particularly RN Kelly Elkins-Fry.  Special thanks to Sentinel Home Health’s angel sent just at right time, Wallace Moura, who served Doug with care and respect and saw him through his last breath.,


We would like to suggest any memorials be sent to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc., 5801 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919, who has offered great help in this family’s walk with a dark disease.


Funeral services will be held 12 o’clock, Tuesday afternoon, April 16, 2019 at Varnville First Baptist Church, 165 Palmetto Avenue West, Varnville.  Interment with Full Military Honors will follow in Varnville Cemetery.  The family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 11 am at the church.


TETRICK FUNERAL SERVICES, Johnson City, Tennessee and THE BRICE W. HERNDON AND SONS FUNERAL HOMES AND CREMATORY, VARNVILLE-HAMPTON CHAPEL, 1074 Yemassee Highway, Varnville, 803.943.5016, are honored to serve the Polk family.  The obituary was lovingly written by Mr. Polk’s family. Visit the registry online at:

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