Benjamin Fielding Rolston of Kingsport TN went to be with his heavenly father on September 29, 2019 from a heart attack while vacationing in Kiawah, SC. Fielding was a devoted husband who is survived by his wife Joyce of 56 years. He was a loving father and grandfather survived by his son Clay and wife Luanna of Johnson City, TN; daughter Tina Karst and husband Darin of Kingsport, TN; and six grandchildren Ben Rolston, Eddie Karst, Marley Rolston, Elizabeth Karst, Lily Rolston, and William Karst.
He is also survived by his brother Reuel and wife Donna Rolston; sister in-law Leona Raines, and sister in-law Debbie and husband EG Souder and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father Benjamin Fulk and mother Lelia Yancey Rolston and brother in-law Jack Raines.
Fielding was a faithful member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport TN, was part of the Teammates Sunday School Class, and served in many leadership roles.
Fielding was born in 1941 in Harrisonburg, VA. He attended and graduated from Montevideo HS in 1959. In 1964 he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech. After graduation, he joined Tennessee Eastman as an industrial engineer. Not long after starting at Eastman, he also had to fulfill his military obligation, which he did as an ROTC commissioned officer at the Pentagon. During this time, he also earned his master’s degree in public administration from American University. After returning to Eastman Chemical in Kingsport, TN, he held a series of positions with increasing amounts of responsibility and exposure to many aspects of Eastman’s business operations. Rolston was instrumental in Eastman’s efforts to recruit and hire significant numbers of industrial engineers to help improve business processes, quality, and customer service. As a result of these efforts, Eastman Chemical was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1993, a highly prestigious and coveted performance excellence award.
Fielding went on to serve as Vice President of Supply and Distribution and Vice President for Human Resources, Health, Safety, and Environment. He retired from Eastman Chemical Company in 2003 with more than 38 years of service.
His professional achievements have been recognized by Virginia Tech including induction into the ISE Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1993, 2018 and induction into the College of Engineering Academy of Excellence in 2008. His achievements have also received national recognition; he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Management Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers in 2001. Rolston has provided significant service to his community as well. Since 1998, he has chaired the board of the Eastman Credit Union. He has also chaired the Tennessee State Board of Education, the Emory and Henry College Board of Trustees, Wellmont Health System, and Barter Theatre. He has also served on the National Assessment Governing Board.
A memorial service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2019 at First Broad Street United Methodist Church with Dr. Wm. Randall Frye and Rev. Jack Weikel officiating. The family will receive friends at the church following the service. A private inurnment will take place at the church columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts be made in his memory to one of the following, First Broad Street United Methodist Church, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660, Emory & Henry College, ehc.edu/giving, Barter Theatre, bartertheatre.com/support, Ballad Health Foundation, ballahealth.org/foundation, or Virginia Tech IE Rolston scholarship program, ise.vt.edu/about/giving.html.
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