The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association has announced the death of lifelong Food City associate Thomas R. Hembree, 69. He died Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Naples Community Hospital in Naples, Florida, surrounded by his family.
Mr. Hembree served as Food City SVP of marketing prior to his retirement in 2010. During his service, he held numerous positions, including assistant store manager, store manager, grocery supervisor, district manager, EVP of operations for the Tri-Cities Division and SVP of marketing.
He served the Tennessee Grocers Association and Education Foundation in various capacities as well, including chairman, convention chairman and board member of the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation. He was inducted into the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation’s Hall of Eagles, the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame and also received the National Grocers Association’s “Spirit of America” Award.
Mr. Hembree served on the board of directors for a number of organizations, including the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and Sequoyah Council Boy Scouts of America. He was also heavily involved with Bristol Motor Speedway and Food City’s sponsorship of its two annual NASCAR racing events.
He was the son of the late Wilma Carter Hembree and Robert “Bob” Hembree of Rockwood, Tennessee.
Mr. Hembree was known as a kind and easy-going man. Those who worked with him viewed him as fair and honest in his dealings. His family knew him as loving and steadfast. He was an avid world traveler, having the pleasure to visit six continents during his lifetime. He was a lover of VOLS football, golf and NASCAR racing. He enjoyed the tranquility of the outdoors and loved living near the water.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sharon Smith Hembree.
He is survived by his son, Drew Hembree and wife Ashley of Abingdon; daughter, Melanie Hembree Penner and husband Mitchell of Naples, Florida; grandchildren, Addison Renee Hembree and Jack Andrew Hembree; a nephew and several nieces.
A private funeral ceremony and entombment will be held at Forest Hills Memory Gardens in Abingdon, Virginia. Because of the pandemic, attendance is limited to direct family only.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made online at tgefonline.org/memorials or via mail to Tom Hembree Memorial Fund, c/o Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation, 1838 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 136, Nashville, TN 37210.
Those wishing to share memories, express sympathy and send “Hugs from Home” may do so by visiting farrisfuneralervice.com.
Mr. Hembree and his family are in the care of Farris Funeral Service and Crematory, Abingdon, Virginia.