Don R. Salem: A legacy of excellence

Sandra ClarkObits

Donald Rockwood Salem, 94, of Seymour, died on Aug. 18. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he had a varied career including teaching school, managing a tire store, selling health insurance and banking. He pioneered charge account banking, designed to help small businesses compete with department stores.


According to his obituary, he became president of the Charge Account Bankers Association in the 1960s and sat on the board of directors of the Interbank Association. He was hired by Hamilton National Bank in Knoxville to develop its charge account banking program. But in April 1972, Don and his wife, Pam, began a business selling linens and contract furnishings to motels in Knox and Sevier counties. “Starting with a box truck full of towels and sheets, Don thrived on building sales relationships and customer service. … He sold $1.2 million of merchandise before the 1982 World’s Fair.”

After the Gatlinburg fires, at his age 91, Don and Pam rented a U-Haul and delivered 800 bed pillows to a customer on Christmas Eve so the property could re-open and not lose important revenue. His legacy is excellence. Survivors include wife Pam, three children and their families. Son Shaun is the conductor of the Oak Ridge Community Band.

The Rev. John French Burleson, 94, passed away Aug. 17. He devoted his life to serving the Lord through ministry and pastoral care. He graduated from Farragut High School, Carson-Newman College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and wife Thelma had seven children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He pastored churches in Evergreen, Alabama; and in Clinton, Kingsport and Lenoir City, Tenn. The family will receive friends at Click Funeral Home Farragut at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, with services at 7:30 p.m. Obituary information here.

Bettye Christian Haste, 85, of Oak Ridge, passed away Aug. 17. A Kentucky native, she taught math at Jefferson Middle School and Oak Ridge High School before retiring in 1963 to raise her family. She and husband Glenn Roy Haste Jr. had three sons. Additional obituary information is here.

Robert McCrary “Bob” Carter, 83, of Knoxville, passed away Aug. 18. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served more than 60 years in the Masonic Lodge 204 F&AM. He owned and operated Carter Lumber Company in Loudon for many years. Most recently, he served as vice president for TENGAS Co. He and wife Gail had two children. He was an active member of First Baptist Concord. Additional information here.

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