Miles “Hoyt” Sledge, Sr. – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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MilesMiles “Hoyt” Sledge, Sr., 81 years old, died December 14, 2012 after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his parents Nadine and Lonzo Gray, his sister Sonda Denton, and his son Joseph “Danny” Sledge, Sr. He was married for 60 years to Mary “Connie” Sledge after meeting her at a USO dance in Boston, MA. Their children are Darline (Bruce) Larson of Milton, FL; Mary Anne (Tim) Rippey of Killen, AL; Kathy (Tim) Caston of Iuka, MS; Betty (Clay) Taylor of Columbia, TN; Miles (Tina) Sledge of Iron City, TN; Fi (Roger) Keeton of Iron City, TN; and Tommy (Sabrina) Sledge of Iron City, TN. Survived by 15 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. Pall bearers will be grandsons. Hoyt was proud to have served 21 years in the United States Navy. Although he only had a sixth grade education, he worked hard to earn his GED and achieve the rank as Chief. As a Chief Boatswain’s mate, most of his 21 years from 1947 to 1968 were served at sea aboard aircraft carriers taking him to all parts of the world. He was aboard the USS Wasp CVS 18 off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis and helped to retrieve many returning Gemini capsules. After serving in the Navy, he returned with his family to “retire” in Florence, AL. He and Connie, with their children working as servers and cooks, opened Conny’s Bar-B-Que on College Street in 1969, expanding and relocating to Highway 72. Never one to miss an opportunity, he opened The Pad in Waynesboro, TN in 1974. Then in 1978, he built and opened Chief’s Bar-B-Que that remained open until recently. In 1980, he expanded his business by opening Sledge’s Auto, working long days there and then ending the day at Chiefs serving food to customers. He and son Miles built and opened an apartment complex in 1992 and later, storage units. The different businesses helped to instill in his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren hard work and persistence when achieving a goal, whether it was service in the military, emergency first responders, education/college degrees and operating small businesses. During his time owning and operating Chief’s, he once again sought service to the community with his son Danny, establishing the Southgate Volunteer Fire Department that still operates today. The two helped to bring the Southgate community together to buy land and build the fire house that also serves as a community center. Many weddings occurred at the Fire Department, with daughter Fi being the first. At the young age of 75, he finally opted to retire. The businesses were then owned and operated by his children. He did manage to sit a spell talking and sipping on coffee while checking on each of them as they traveled up and down Chisholm Highway. Otherwise, you would see him sitting on the front porch with Connie. Arrangements by Spry~Williams Funeral Home of Florence, AL, with visitation from 6:00-9:00 PM on Sunday, December, 16th and services to be held at 1:00 PM on Monday, December 17th. Interment to follow at Railroad Cemetery in Iron City, TN. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Southgate Volunteer Fire Department, or to a military service organization of your choice. The family wishes to thank the staff and doctors at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital that helped him to live nine lives or more, over and over again. He was stubborn like that.

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