Tommy Lee “Suds” Barrett | The Cleveland Daily Banner

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On the morning of Sunday, May 2, 2021, Tommy Lee “Suds” Barrett passed away peacefully at his home, comforted by the love of his family.

Born the youngest child of Anna B. Hague Barrett and Walter Alexander Barrett on October 21, 1939, in Cleveland, he graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1958 where he was a member of the winning district basketball team. , region, tri-state and full state honors and was a member of the baseball team.

After graduating, Suds served in the National Guard and worked in photo composition for the Chattanooga Times, he also worked to expand recreational opportunities in his community, helping Russ Melvin organize the Cleveland Midget Football League and a started a local baseball league.

Suds married the love of her life, Joan Gill, and they were married 58 years until she passed away earlier this spring on March 10.

In 1974, Cleveland Fire, Parks and Recreation Marshal Kenneth Tinsley offered Suds a position to manage the city’s golf course and parks. He held this position until he succeeded Lou Fitzgerald as director of parks and recreation in 1982.

Under his leadership, Tinsley Park was built, Johnston Park was developed, the Nina Craigmiles playgrounds were created in each of the city’s elementary schools, the ground was broken up at Fletcher Park, Mosby Park was renovated and the Northeast recreation center has been remodeled.

Suds has always thought twice ahead and changed a lot during his tenure as director, believing that the development of recreation has spurred economic development. Tinsley’s new facility, which offered four softball fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, play / picnic area, and walking trails, became the area’s premier facility and helped it attract numerous state and national softball tournaments in Cleveland. Suds was proud that the tournaments injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into our local economy.

Suds was appointed, and served four years, as Tennessee ASA District Commissioner for District 16, before serving as Tennessee State Commissioner for 18 years. During these years, more than 1000 referees, 1000 adult teams and 3000 youth teams have been registered. He has also served as the national vice president of the ASA three times, overseeing the organization’s operations in Tennessee, Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and North and South Carolina. Suds continued to serve USA Softball as Commissioner Emeritus and Voting Member of the National Council after his retirement in 2005, and he was inducted into the USA Softball of Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2008.

Suds has left an indelible mark on recreation in our community and our state as a whole during his 31 years serving Cleveland Parks and Recreation.

Suds was inducted into the Old Timers Hall of Fame in 2001 and was a member of the 1944 BPOE and was a proud Mason.

He is survived by his son, Gill (Melissa) and daughter, Anna Jill Barrett, all of Cleveland; brother, Walter Alexander “Dub” Barrett Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Bruce (Pat) Parton; Mr. and Mrs. Wendell (Jimmie) Neeley; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A life memorial service will be held today, May 5, 2021, at 3 p.m. at Hilcrest Memorial Gardens, with Rev. Jeannie Cissom and Rev. Timothy Gann officiating. Dax McGowan, Rob McGowan, Scott McGowan, Luke Benton, Parker Benton and Chase Markiewicz will serve as porters. Honorary bearers will be Donnie Sullivan, Keith Barrett, Mike Sullivan, Rick Sullivan, Buster Goins and Brandon Melton.

The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. today at Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services, North Ocoee Street Chapel.



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