John Crittenden Umberger Jr. passed away at the age of 94 on Saturday, April 3, 2021 in Kingsport, Tennessee. John was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina on October 25, 1926, the son of John C. Umberger Sr, a Methodist pastor and farmer, and Beulah Dwyer Umberger. Following his brother Dwyer, John graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from North Carolina State University and came to work at Tennessee Eastman Company (TEC) in Kingsport in 1951. It was here he won the lottery, meeting Mildred (Midge) Still, whom he married in 1954 and with whom he raised his family. He retired from TEC, with long service in the Cellulose Ester Division, in 1986.
An active member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church (FBSUMC) for over 70 years, he served as a Trustee and Sunday School leader. He and Midge were instrumental in starting the Ministry ‘Our Father’s Place’, which for many years centered on providing a worship experience for people with special needs. Additionally, John served in leadership roles for the local ARC (Association of Retarded Citizens). John was active in The Super Cats, a bowling league at Warpath Bowling Lanes for individuals with special needs. He took great joy in seeing their passion for competition.
John became something of a fitness buff upon the birth of his daughter in the late 1960s, getting in shape by jogging and swimming; he also enjoyed a round of golf or a trip to the ski slopes. This transformation inspired his sons and no doubt contributed to his longevity. John was also a bridge player, participating in several bridge clubs, one of which lasted more than 50 years.
John is predeceased by his wife Midge, brother Dwyer Umberger, and sister Margaret Holton.
He is survived by sons John Umberger III and wife, Judith, of Dallas, Texas, Frank Umberger and wife Elizabeth, of Grayson, Georgia, daughter Sarah of Kingsport, grandchildren Erin, Ruthie, Amy, Christian, Schyler and Max, and 4 great-grandchildren.
Given the circumstances of the pandemic, the family anticipates gathering when it is safer to travel. Any memorials may be made to FBSUMC, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660, or the charity of your choice.