Former Commissioner Wanda Moody was honored by the city of Knoxville July 19 as the bridge on Winston Road was named the Wanda Moody Overpass. Friends and public officials filled the parking lots of TIS and Trader Joe’s for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Iced water was plentiful as the temperature surged to 93 degrees.
Mayor Madeline Rogero said it was all U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett’s idea. Moody was a friend and political ally of Burchett’s parents, Charlie and Joyce Burchett. She knew Tim all of his life and supported him in every political race.
Burchett recalled his first election. He worked the polls at Bearden Elementary and lost it by 12 votes. He phoned Moody to report, and she told him to go home and take a shower. “You have won.”
Burchett said, “She knew where the votes were and how to count them.”
Rogero served for eight years alongside Moody on Knox County Commission. “I learned a lot from Wanda Moody. She was tough and fair. She was not afraid to keep us doing things the right way.”
Moody was a teacher who specialized in special education. She held leadership positions in the old city school system, served on the Metropolitan Planning Commission and was an assistant commissioner of education in the administration of Gov. Lamar Alexander. She was the third woman elected to Knox County Commission, joining Mary Lou Horner and Bee DeSelm in 1986. Rogero came along a couple of years later and then Pat Medley and Diane Jordan were elected. “We (women) had six of 19 commissioners,” said Rogero. Now women hold just two of 11 seats on the commission, but four of nine seats on city council.
Moody thanked everyone for coming and acknowledged the importance of the Winston Road bridge, which connects West Hills and points beyond with Kingston Pike by extending over Interstate 40/75.
Burchett joked that Moody had lived on Broome Road longer than the interstate had existed. City council unanimously approved the honorary naming in March 2019.
Moody is the aunt of Joan Ashe, wife of former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe. Also attending were: former Mayor Randy Tyree, former County Mayor Tommy Schumpert, state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt, Trustee Ed Shouse.
County commissioners present were Michele Carringer, Evelyn Gill, John Schoonmaker, Hugh Nystrom, Randy Smith, Carson Dailey and Justin Biggs; former commissioner John Griess, who served with Moody; city council members Andrew Roberto and Lauren Rider; former council member Larry Cox; mayoral candidates Indya Kincannon and Eddie Mannis.