Farragut teacher, community leader has died

Mona B. SmithFarragut, Obits, Our Town Stories

Laura Anne McFee Shipley, better known to Farragut students as “Miss Anne,” passed away on June 13, 2020, at the age of 92. Mrs. Shipley taught school for 36 years at Farragut Primary School and was well loved by all who were privileged to have known her.


In her early years, she lived on her family farm on McFee Road in Concord with parents Fred T. McFee and Ellen Russell McFee along with brothers Tom, Robert, Alfred and Bill. Her father was a successful businessman serving as president of Concord Telephone Exchange and was very active in agricultural and conservation efforts for the farming community. As a product of her upbringing, Miss Anne grew up as no stranger to hard work helping to raise turkeys and sheep and cutting acres of hay. McFee Park in Farragut is now on the location of her family farm, but the farm itself was much larger, encompassing what is now McFee Manor, Bridgemore subdivision and other acres along McFee Road. The old farmhouse is still standing.

Anne McFee (from the Farragut High School annual 1946)

In addition, Mrs. Shipley’s mother was from the well-known Russell family in the Concord Farragut community with her roots tracing back through her grandparents Matthew Lee Russell Sr. and Julia A. Nelson. Her grandparents’ home is known locally as the Matthew Russell House that is located directly behind Taco Bell in Farragut. As a child, Matthew lived at the Avery Russell House that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places located at the corner of Campbell Station and Kingston Pike in Farragut. It was acquired by the town of Farragut and is being refurbished as Campbell Station Inn.

Her contributions to the community were many and she was active in Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 83 years where she worked tirelessly in whatever needed to be done. She served on the Session’s Elder Board, taught Sunday School, and headed up the church’s Camp Chilhowee board. In a word, her energy was amazing. One Virtue church member told of her coming to help lay tile for the church while she was in her eighties.

It wasn’t unusual to drive by her home to see her briskly walking to nearby stores, cutting the grass or cutting and raking hay when most octogenarians would be sitting in their rocking chairs.

McFee Homeplace: 218 McFee Road

She was always the first one to visit a sick friend and never came empty handed. Her visits to Farragut reunions always made the day a special occasion as she brought happiness to the room. A good friend relates that she was always good for a hug.

It is surmised that she and her husband William E. “Bill” Shipley were early sweethearts as they were both Farragut High School Alums in the class of 1946. Together, they have two fine sons, Edward and Robert Shipley, who were both Farragut High graduates.

The Concord Farragut Community mourns today with the loss of Laura Anne McFee Shipley. Friends will long remember her for her Christian values, loving personality and her spirit of kindness to all who knew her.

Arrangements for Mrs. Shipley can be found here.

A fascinating account of the history of Campbell Station Inn can be found here.

Mona Isbell Smith is a retired computer systems analyst who enjoys freelancing.

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