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Remembering the people we've lost to the coronavirus

Across Tennessee, 188 people have died after contracting COVID-19. Here are some of their stories.

TENNESSEE, USA — As of April 28, the Tennessee Department of Health has reported 188 deaths related to COVID-19.

We are working to learn more about them from loved ones. This article will be updated as more stories and images are shared.

Sandy Blankenship (McMinn County)

Sandy Blankenship, 71, was a loving mother and wife. Her daughter Crystal McCullough described her as an amazing woman who was loved and "touched every person she met.”

Credit: Submitted

Clarence Jackson Ballew (Knox County)

Clarence Jackson Ballew, 84, served in the Korean War for three years as a paratrooper. His granddaughters described him as a family man who never missed church. 

"He made this family come together," his granddaughter Annalisa Norries said. "He always had a smile on his face." 

Ballew enjoyed woodworking and spending time with his family. 

Credit: Submitted

Chaplain Don Crider (Hamblen County)

Don Crider, whose call sign was Chaplain 5, served the city of Morristown for nearly two decades as a chaplain.

“Don was a comforting presence within our ranks and was always ready to give encouragement to everyone,” said Chief Roger Overholt. “He truly had the heart of a servant.”

Crider rode alongside officers, participated in devotion services and even performed wedding ceremonies during his time with MPD. Friends said he had touched a lot of people’s lives in a very positive way.

Credit: Submitted

Oliver Clyde Roberts Jr. (Blount County)

Family members described Oliver Clyde Roberts Jr., 73, as strongly devoted to praising God and His Son through song. Clyde Jr. was a direct descendant of the Oliver family of Cades Cove and loved spending time with his family.

He was a loyal Tennessee Volunteer who had season tickets for decades.

He retired from the Aluminum Company of America after 42 years of working as a master electrician. Family members said he was a tinkerer, a craftsman and an avid outdoorsman who had a natural ability to troubleshoot. He was a member of the 25-year Alcoa Club and loved to play golf. 

Credit: Submitted

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