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Obituaries – Feb. 22 Issue


Jasper Callaway “J.C.” Stephens, 90, of Benton, Tenn., passed away Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023.

J.C. was born to Clyde Franklin and Marchie Tallent Stephens on Feb. 5, 1933 in Benton, Tenn. He was a veteran of the United States Army serving 1953 until 1955. He was retired from Bowater Papermill in 1982 after 38 years of service. J.C. was a member of Old Ocoee Baptist Church and was saved and baptized in Benton Creek and a 50–plus year member of Ocoee Masonic Lodge #212 F&AM. He and his wife were avid Tennessee Volunteer fans, attending Lady Vols basketball and football games.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn Mauldin Stephens; parents Clyde and Marchie Stephens; great-grandson, Kyler Hood; siblings, Willie Moats, C.F. “Steve” Stephens, Jr., Dorothy Brown, Helen Davis, Alberta Williams, Elizabeth Carr, Donald Stephens, Jerry Stephens, and Margaret Stone.

Survivors include his children Dennis (Gail) Stephens of Ocoee, Tenn., Cindy (Lonnie) Rogers of Trenton, Anne (Greg) Stinnett of Dalton, and Greg Wilson of Benton, Tenn.; grandchildren, Kevin (Summer) Stephens; Kara Stephens, Justin Stephens, Lindsay (Steven) Ryan, Laura (Geoff) Oliver, Jessica (Moises) Cardenas, Jade Wilson, Sarah Stinnett and Sawyer Stinnett; great-grandchildren, Tori and Keely Stephens, Katelyn Wampler, Carter and Charlie Ryan, Brendan Oliver, Josue and Matias Cardenas; great-great-grandchildren, Julia Stephens and Kaden Wampler; sister, Charlotte Hall; nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life graveside service was Monday, Feb. 20, at Benton Memorial Gardens.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared at

Arrangements by Ryan Funeral Home, Trenton.



Ruth Elizabeth Gross, 90, of Trenton, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.

Ruth was born in Rising Fawn on Jan. 22, 1933, to the late Walter and Maggie Wilson. She worked at her family-owned business, Gross Furniture, for many years. Ruth loved cooking, gardening, and sewing, but her special love was for her family, especially the grandbabies. She was a graduate of Dade County High School.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Don Gross; siblings, Mary Nell Smith, Clara Coleman, Jean Talley, Jimmy Tom, Spencer, Jack, and George Wilson.

Survivors include her children, Gary (Suzan) Gross and Stan (Benita) Gross; grandchildren, Kyle (Courtney) Gross, Reed (Starla) Gross, Brandi (Tanner) Clark and Holly (Brandon) Whetzell; great-grandchildren, Kaylee Clark, Adilynn Gross, Trever Gross, Collins Clark, Chandler Gross and Tucker Gross; brother, Leslie Wilson; nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Funeral services were Friday, Feb. 17, in the Trenton chapel of Moore Funeral Home. Interment was at Lake Hills Memorial Gardens.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Mitzi Avery, Angie Smith, and Linda Palmer for their compassionate care.

Visit to share expressions of sympathy and view her memorial tribute.

Arrangements by Moore Funeral Home, Trenton.



Odus Jackson Nichols, Jr. (Jack), 80, of Trenton, passed away Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

A native of Alabama, Jack grew up in and around Russellville, where his parents instilled in him a genuine love for people and music. Jack was under contract with Tom Stafford of Sparta Music Company of Florence, Ala., in the early 1960s for songwriting and vocal recording. Sparta Music was originally part of the now-famous Muscle Shoals Sound.

Jack followed the Holy Spirit’s call to ministry as his faith in Christ deepened. He took a train to Chattanooga, Tenn., at age 23, where he attended Tennessee Temple College. Jack quickly made his mark on campus, becoming active in student life as president of the Music Club, president of his sophomore class, a member of the Weigle Singers and the Weigle Quartet, and served as Music Minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Chattanooga while in college. During his time at Temple, Jack and his brother, Dr. L.W. “Buddy” Nichols, together with classmate Jimmy DeYoung, was instrumental in founding, constructing, and operating WDYN FM, originally a student body project that became a 100,000-watt Christian radio outreach to the Tri-State area, and continues today as WDYN FM Rossville. As one of the original broadcasters, Jack logged off the station on the first day of broadcasting. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee Temple in 1970.

During his sophomore year, Jack met the love of his life, Marilyn Spears of St. Clair Shores, Mich. On Aug. 17, 1968, Jack and Marilyn were married and shared their passion for Christ and music ministry for over 54 years. He was a gifted choir director, congregational song leader, and vocalist. The couple accepted the call to minister at First Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., where he served as Minister of Music. During their seven-year tenure, Jack became an ordained minister and founded a radio station for First Baptist Church.

Over the next two decades, Jack served as Minister of Music at Temple Baptist Church, now North Florida Baptist, in Tallahassee, Fla., where he and Marilyn raised their daughters. Jack’s teen choir and Marilyn’s piano students were comprised of many youths who attended North Florida Christian School, the academic ministry of Temple Baptist. Jack furthered the church’s television outreach vision by partnering with a major broadcasting company local affiliate. Desiring to provide quality Christian television programming to the greater Tallahassee viewership, Jack oversaw the design, construction, and general management of TV 65, a low-power television station broadcasting from the church’s property. He also started a smaller low-power television station in Perry.

Jack moved his family to Trenton in 1995 when he and his brother Buddy created Nichols-Netronics, a Smart Home installation company, and Bose audio residential/commercial franchise. He later resumed his ministerial gifts by working as a hospice chaplain for Adoration Home Health and Hospice. He felt blessed to encourage, comfort, and provide compassion and hope to his hospice clients and their families for the past 15 years.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Odus Jackson Nichols, Sr. (Nick) and Mattie Nichols.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; daughters, Heather (Mark) Kleiner and April (Brian) Wooten; grandchildren, Alyviah Wooten, Marko Kleiner, and Maria Kleiner; brother, Buddy; sister, Shirley; nieces, Caroline Rowell, and Bethany Moore; and nephews, Rob Nichols and Bryan Nichols.

Memorial services will be Sunday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. at City Church of Chattanooga, 7122 Lee Highway, Chattanooga, Tenn. The family will receive friends from 2–4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to Adoration Foundation. 7625 Hamilton Park Drive Suite 18, Chattanooga, Tenn. 37421, (423) 650-4071.

Memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at

Arrangements by Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist East Chapel, East Ridge, Tenn.



Shirley Ann Stevens, of Trenton, passed away Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

Shirley was born in Fort Payne, Ala., on March 9, 1936, to the late Curtis and Myrtle Miller Hardeman.  Shirley’s favorite place to visit was the Bama Side and Country Road Café restaurant where she had many friends. She was a member of East Brow Baptist Church in Flat Rock, Ala.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by husbands, Bobby Ray Gray, Talmadge Morgan, and Lewis Stevens; sister, Patricia Worley.

Survivors include her children, Johnny (Diana) Gray and Ricky (Jodi) Gray; loving partner, Tommy Gilbert; special daughter, Pat Cloud; grandchildren, Mike (Prissy) Gray, Emily (Jeff) Simmons, Cody Gray, Tara Gray, Todd Gann, Lauren (Seth) Anderton and Leanna (Andrew) Marshall; several great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be today, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m., ET in the Trenton chapel of Moore Funeral Home. Interment will be at New Home Baptist Cemetery.

Visitation will be today from 11 a.m., until the service hour.

Visit to share expressions of sympathy and view her memorial tribute.

Arrangements by Moore Funeral Home, Trenton.



Holly Elizabeth Whiddon, 40, of Bryant, Ala., passed away Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.

Holly was born on July 28, 1982, to the late Larry and Patricia Talley. She authored a book “Down This Road” and was an accomplished photographer. Holly loved her family and her dog Sadena. She was a member of Union Baptist Church in Flat Rock, Ala.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her grandfather, Charles W. Dalton and nephew, Zachary Nicholas Talley.

Suvivors include her husband, Gerry Whiddon; children, Bryson Young, Tristen Young, Brittany Stevens and Brandon Stevens; step-children, Crystal Smith, April Sawyer, Jenny Marks and Joshua Whiddon; brothers, Jeff, Chris and Greg Talley; grandmother, Carrine “Sis” Dalton; brother in-law, John (Dena) Whiddon; several grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Funeral servicse were Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Bryant chapel of Moore Funeral Home.

Visit to share expressions of sympathy and view her memorial tribute.

Arrangements by Moore Funeral Home, Bryant, Ala.

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