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Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell / John Franklin Sr., former vice mayor and the first elected black official in Chattanooga, talks to guests during held by the Chattanooga History Museum about M.L. King Boulevard on Tuesday.

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In memory 2018

Like most years, 2018 was marked by the loss of a number of noteworthy members of the community, people who changed the lives of those they served.

A former Chattanooga mayor. The first woman elected to Congress from Tennessee for a full term. Activists. An eccentric radio DJ. They are just some of those who made an indelible mark here in Chattanooga and across the region.

We take a look at some of those people who left us in 2018:

Lewis Randolph Donelson III, 100, died Jan. 4 at his home in Parkview, Tennessee. The Memphis native helped shape the modern Republican Party in Tennessee and co-founded Memphis law firm Baker Donelson.

Thomas Chamberlain, 75, died Jan. 15. In the mid-1980s, he served on the board of directors at Erlanger and was its chairman, overseeing the addition of the area's first air ambulance, Life Force. He also was involved with T.C. Thompson's Children's Hospital Foundation.

John Collins, 85, died Jan. 26. The longtime doctor from Signal Mountain founded the Gastroenterology Lab at Erlanger.

Fred Wright, no age available, died Jan. 31. The local psychologist was an activist, helping implement the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was instrumental in working with Martin Luther King Jr. to organize the Selma-Montgomery March. He also founded the Children's International Summer Villages.

Jim Brewer II, 56, died Feb. 1. The media executive from Chattanooga founded Brewer Media Group, which owns five radio stations in town, as well at the Chattanooga Traffic Network and The Pulse newspaper.

Shirley Alderman, 91, died Feb. 4. She led the Volunteer Services Department at Erlanger and served as president of the American Society for Directors of Volunteer Services. She also became the first corporate director of volunteer development for Life Care Centers of America.

Betty Severyn, 93, died Feb. 15. In 1976, she became senior vice president at Erlanger, where she worked until 1986. She was an outspoken advocate for America's aging population, serving in various roles with AARP, including state director, member of the board of directors and as vice president of the governance board.

Vann Owens, 86, died March 13. He was an attorney who was elected to Hamilton County Chancery Court in 1984.

Zell Miller, 86, died March 23. The former U.S. senator, a Democrat, led the charge for Georgia's lottery-funded HOPE scholarships during his two terms as the state's governor from 1991-1999.

Harold Shavin, 90, died April 2. He was instrumental in starting 911 services in Hamilton County and served on several municipal boards.

Tommy Jett, 77, died April 25. The longtime radio DJ began his career in 1961 and spent 57 years on the air, being inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame in 2013. He was also active in charity work, particularly the annual Stocking Full of Love fundraiser, spinning records for the sock hop that was part of the event.

Don Oliver, 63, died May 18. He served as a Georgia state representative for two terms, city judge of Chickamauga and attorney for Walker County.

Jerry Adams, 74, died June 7. A native of Chattanooga, he was one of the founders of the city's largest accounting firm, Decosimo CPA, which started in 1971.

Robert Summitt, 94, died June 16. He served as judge for the 11th Judicial District for Tennessee from 1968-1998. He also was the attorney for Hamilton County for 11 years, the attorney for the Hamilton County School Board, served as Hamilton County coroner for almost 10 years, and briefly as Hamilton County sheriff.

Claude Ramsey, 75, died June 18. In more than 40 years of public service for Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee, the former deputy governor was elected five times as mayor, four times as assessor of property, twice to the Tennessee General Assembly and once as county commissioner. His career spanned 1972-2013.

John Franklin, 96, died June 21. The longtime educator, principal and city school board member made history in 1971 by becoming the only African-American to be elected in a citywide vote to the old Chattanooga City Commission.

Tony Carroll, 51, died July 11. He was the city manager of Summerville, Georgia.

Gen. Ron Griffith, 82, died July 18. A native of LaFayette, Georgia, he rose from the rank of private to become a four-star U.S. Army general and command the 1st Armored Division in Operation Desert Storm.

Bobby Stone, 57, died Aug. 4. He was partner and co-founder of Atomic Films.

Caroline Brown, 91, died Aug. 9. She was a civic leader in Dalton, Georgia, and founded the Chattanooga Boys Choir in 1954. It was the first boys choir founded in the Southeast, acceding to her obituary.

Spencer Wayne, 33, died Sept. 17 in Jasper, Tennessee. The local civic leader was a manager at Western Sizzlin' in Jasper and a former chamber president.

Marilyn Lloyd, 89, died Sept. 19. Lloyd was a Chattanooga Democrat who was the first woman elected to Congress from Tennessee for a full term. During her tenure in Congress, 1975-1995, she served on the House Science Committee, Committee on Public Works, the Armed Services Committee and the House Select Committee on Aging.

* David Eubanks, no age available, died Sept. 20. He served as police chief for the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department.

Jeff B. Johnson, 46, died Oct. 8. He was elected vice mayor of Dunlap in 2012 and served on the board of the Dunlap Chamber of Commerce and was a city commissioner for 11 years.

John Meadows, 74, died Nov. 13. The Republican and former mayor of Calhoun, Georgia, was elected to the state House in 2004, representing Murray and Gordon counties, and served as chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Billy Ellis, 82, died on Nov. 18. He was a longtime member of the Chickamauga City Schools Board of Education, serving for 37 years.

Everett Fairchild, 89, died Dec. 10. Born and raised in Hixson, he served the community for more than 60 years as an educator, administrator, coach and chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Education.

Thomas Caldwell, 94, died Dec. 12. The longtime Chattanooga attorney from Signal Mountain served on the board at Orange Grove for decades, including as its president from 1955-1957 and 1971-1973.

Bill Bennett, 82, died Dec. 14. The longtime Hamilton County property assessor and former county commissioner was instrumental in developing a countywide ambulance service, improving fire protection services, developing industrial parks and in bringing improved sewer services to communities in his district.

This story is based on information from obituaries and stories written about the people.

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