Ivan Rozelle Criner, Jr.

by Lynn McMillen
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Ivan Criner Ivan Rozelle Criner, Jr., age 74, passed away at his Ripley home on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Ivan, the eldest son of Peggy Barnes Criner and Ivan Rozelle Criner, Sr., was born March 3, 1950, in Brownsville, Tennessee.

A 1968 graduate of Ripley High School, he excelled in baseball and basketball and quarterbacked for the Tigers his senior year. His excellence in sports earned him the nickname “Big O” after legendary Milwaukee Bucks player, Oscar Robertson. Ivan was voted Most Athletic and was named to the All District and All Regional teams. He also played American Legion baseball for Millington Telephone and Telegraph.

As a 1972 accounting graduate at then Lambuth College, he was a pitcher on scholarship for the Lambuth Eagles baseball team and played on the school basketball team. He was honored with the school Sportsmanship trophy and with membership in Outstanding College Athletes of America.

Ivan was married to the former Jean Reid at Ripley First United Methodist Church on July 1, 1972. Together they are the parents of John Clayton Criner and the late Laura Elizabeth Criner.

Upon graduation, Ivan was an accountant for Whitehorn Accounting Agency in Memphis before returning to his beloved hometown to work in the family owned Criner Furniture Store.

He has served as treasurer of both the Ripley Jaycees and Exchange Clubs. Additionally, he continued his enthusiasm for sports and support for local youth by coaching T-Ball and American Legion baseball.

A Gideon and a member of Lightfoot United Methodist Church until its close, he served in a number of capacities. Until his death he remained church treasurer to ensure preservation of the church site and held the positions of Church School Superintendent, Conference Delegate, youth Sunday School teacher, and treasurer of the Ripley Circuit Methodist Men. Additionally, he was a supporter of Ripley First United Methodist Church, particularly its Martha’s Cupboard Mission.

Ivan was preceded in death by daughter Elizabeth Criner and brothers Woodson Carter Criner and Robert Clinton Criner; grandparents Robert and Carah New Criner, Woodson Barnes and Katherine Barnes Walpole, and step grandfather, Benjamin Walpole.

In addition to his wife of 51 years, Ivan is survived by son Clay Criner (Julie) of Knoxville, Tennessee; grandsons William Reid (Will) Criner and Benjamin Phillip (Ben) Criner; and nephews Woodson and John Criner of Knoxville and Andrew Criner of Halls, Tennessee.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at Ripley First United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m.  with services to follow. Officiants will be Reverend Donna Parramore of Ripley FUMC and Reverend Jim Peyton, longtime friend and minister of Ripley Circuit Methodist Churches. Interment will follow at Ripley Memorial Gardens.

The family requests that memorials in Ivan’s name be made to Ripley First United Methodist Church Martha’s Cupboard Ministry (145 South Main Street; Ripley, TN 38063); Lightfoot Church Cemetery Fund (Mrs. Shirley Becker, 2773 Lightfoot Luckett Road; Ripley, TN 38063), Gideons International, or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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