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In Memoriam: Johnetta Whitmire

Johnetta WhitmireJohnetta Whitmire, a retired administrative assistant at the UT Police Department, passed away on March 6. She was 69.

Whitmire joined the department in March 1978. During her 36-year tenure, she worked for six police chiefs—Hugh Griffin, Ed Yovella, August Washington, Debbie Perry, Gloria Graham, and most recently Troy Lane.

“She was a trusted friend to many of us,” said UTPD Assistant Chief Keith Lambert, the longest-serving member of the department. “She always shared her insight and had a common-sense approach to how things were handled. She really worried and cared about everyone here.”

Whitmire had a hand in the day-to-day operations of the police department, from keeping the chiefs’ calendar and fielding calls to processing travel documents and payroll, said UTPD Lieutenant Jim Underwood.

She had worked with Underwood’s father, Harold Underwood, when he was a captain at UTPD, he added.

“Johnetta ran the police department when she was here,” Underwood said.

Whitmire retired from UT in June 2014.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Dora Lee Smith, and siblings, Pauletta and Samuel. She is survived by her husband, Conley Whitmire; daughters, Mia Conwell and Nichole Beasley; and a host of grandchildren, other relatives, and friends.
Whitmire’s family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 13, at Canaan Baptist Church. A celebration of life service will follow.

CONTACT:

Lola Alapo (865-974-1094, lalapo@utk.edu)