Doyle Thomas “Tommy“ Stevens, Jr., age 91, passed away peacefully after a long illness surrounded by his devoted wife, Virginia, and his loving family on Friday, September 8, 2023. Tom was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, on December 25, 1931, and attended Dobyns-Bennett high school where he met his childhood sweetheart and beloved wife, Virginia McKarem. After high school, they both attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Tommy received his bachelor's degree in Transportation Logistics. Tommy and Virginia were married in 1954 and he transitioned to heaven one day short of their 69th wedding anniversary.
Tommy was the owner and operator of several transportation and logistics companies throughout his career. Following his graduation from college, Tommy served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1962. After serving his country, he began his business career as a transportation manager for Burlington Industries in various locations throughout the eastern United States. Eventually, he and Virginia moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where their two children, Karen and Greg, were born and raised. During his time in Memphis, he founded and built Distribution and Transportation Services, Inc. into a large independent transportation and logistics family of companies throughout the southeastern U.S. After over 50 years in business, he and Virginia retired and moved to Franklin, Tennessee, to be near their children and grandchildren.
Outside of his family and business, Tommy was blessed with many lifelong friends and outside interests. During high school, he served as captain on several of the legendary Dobyns-Bennett state championship football teams (1946-50) and was a lifelong Tennessee Vols fan of all sporting events. During vacations and in his retirement years, Tommy loved spending time with Virginia and the rest of the family at their beach house in Destin, Florida. His favorite activity was deep sea fishing and a never-ending quest to finally “land” a sailfish. He also enjoyed hunting trips with his many dear friends, especially duck hunting (and doing whatever else!) at the “honey hole” located in eastern Arkansas. After his retirement and relocation to Franklin, Tommy and Virginia were able to attend many school activities and sporting events of their grandchildren and helped raise them.
After his health began to fail, Tommy was well cared for by the staff at Brighton Gardens in Brentwood, Tennessee, where he and Virginia resided. The family would like to especially thank Cassandra and her team of amazing caregivers in the Reflections Memory Care unit at Brighton Gardens. The family would also like to thank our private caregivers, Pam and Ardalia, for showering Tommy with such love and compassion over the past several years. Most recently, Tommy had an extended stay in the Palliative Care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The family is so appreciative of the compassion, attentiveness and flexibility shown to both of our parents by the entire Vanderbilt care team.
He was a devoted family man: husband, father, son, and grandfather. Although he was a man of few words, he had a strong conviction of faith. He was a faithful member of Whitehaven United Methodist Church and later Christ Methodist Church in Memphis, and Franklin First United Methodist in Franklin, Tennessee. Tommy was preceded in death by his father, Doyle Thomas Stevens, Sr.; mother, Wilma Elliott Stevens; sisters, Ella Jo Shell and Suzanne “Penny” Simonds. Tommy is survived by his wife of 69 years, Virginia McKarem Stevens; daughter, Karen (Bill) Kreager; son, Greg (Courtney) Stevens; grandchildren, Catherine (Gable) Adkins, Steven (Raquel) Kreager, Annie Stevens and Alex Stevens; and great grandchild, Calum Kreager; as well as several special in-laws, nieces and nephews of the Stevens and McKarem families.
A joint Celebration of Life service will be conducted for Virginia and Tom at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 12:00 pm. Visitation begins at 11:00 am.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Vanderbilt Palliative Care Program (vanderbilthealth.org). Please select the checkbox next to “Dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone.”
WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289, williamsonmemorial.com.