Samuel J.V. Abernathy passed away on Friday, January 13, 2023, surrounded by family.
He was born and educated in Bedford County and attended Bedford County Training School (BCTS) from kindergarten through 12th grade. As a member of the BCTS class of 1950, Samuel served as co-captain of one of the historic football teams that combined for an 82-game unbeaten streak. The record consists of an impressive 78-0-4 unbeaten run from 1943-50, during which no opponent even scored against BCTS for nearly five years. Samuel was also the first basketball player in the school’s history to make All-Tournament and All Mid-State in 1947.
Samuel attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, where he also worked for nearly 40 years (1952-1991) as equipment manager, instructor, assistant professor and assistant coach for track and field under renowned Tigerbelles coach Ed Temple.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Gladys Inell Gipson Abernathy, also of Shelbyville. He is survived by his children, Brian Abernathy (Renita) of Atlanta, Eloise Abernathy Alexis (Autry) and Darlene Abernathy-Neely (Jesse II), both of Nashville, and six grandchildren. He is the brother-in-law of Marilyn Gipson Massengale of Shelbyville.
Visitation is Friday, January 20 from 4-6 p.m. at Lewis & Wright Funeral Home, 2500 Clarksville Hwy., Nashville. Funeral is Saturday, January 21 at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, 2334 Herman St., Nashville, TN, with visitation at 11 a.m., followed by the service at noon. Interment is Sunday, January 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Mount Ararat Annex Cemetery in Shelbyville.
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