Engineer and enthusiastic volunteer James Ira “Jim” Ison, 87, of Knoxville, has died. He was the quieter half of the Jim and Margie Ison team. They were married in 1957 and relocated to Knoxville in 1965. He met Margie in Cookeville, Tennessee, and Jim states that, “She was singing on the stage with the pep band. She had a ponytail and sparkles in her hair. She stole my heart and never let it go.”
Jim Ison was born in Jenkins, Kentucky, and his dad died in a coal mining accident when Jim was just 6. He and his mom moved to Chattanooga where Jim finished high school and then Tennessee Technological University. He was employed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and assisted in building the first interstate highway system in the Chattanooga area.
He next worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority for 32 years in the Division of Transmission Construction. He held several management roles, retiring as manager of Substation and Communication Construction in Knoxville.
He was active at Church Street United Methodist Church, and with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. He was active in the Claxton Optimist Club, rising to governor for the Optimist Tennessee district, and he was a founding member of the Claxton Volunteer Fire Department.
Margie, of course, was the first and best weather reporter in the early days – before we had meteorologists and doppler radar, Margie had a guy in Crossville. Figuring that most weather blew in over the mountain, Margie would phone her guy for updates. She credited him on live TV and usually ended her broadcast with a wink. The guy in Crossville wasn’t the only one who thought the wink was for him. Margie stole the hearts of a generation of East Tennesseans.
Jim’s family will receive friends Friday, November 3, from 4-6 p.m. at Berry Lynnhurst Funeral Home with the funeral service at 6 p.m. His full obituary is here.