Virginia Gwen (Murphree) Lane, 58, of Riceville passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, May 11, 2019, after a 10 year valiant and courageous battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She endured a staggering 515 weekly chemotherapy treatments with grace and dignity, strengthened by this promise from Isaiah 50:7 that was printed on the cover of her medical notebook she carried to each appointment: “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” Even in the midst of this daily struggle, she was always looking for opportunities to share her unwavering faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
She was born to Charles S. Sr. and the late Annie Ruth (Smith) Murphree on November 6, 1960 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. As the daughter of a farmer and an English teacher, she developed an early love for land and language arts that inspired her favorite hobbies of photography and writing. Gwen graduated from Community High School in 1978 as valedictorian. She received a B.S. in English with a Mass Communication minor from Middle Tennessee State University in 1982, graduating summa cum laude.
Her most important career as a stay-at-home-mom was followed by 19 years as an educator, investing in the lives of her community’s youth. She taught English at McMinn County High School for 14 years and then at Walker Valley High School for 5 years, where she initiated the Poetry Out Loud contest. She also co-directed the Eastanallee Baptist Church youth choir with her husband Larry for many years, planning yearly retreats and summer youth choir tours.
After her retirement in 2011, Gwen enjoyed pursuing many interests including beekeeping, reading, photography, fused glass jewelry, poetry, smocking, and fly fishing. She actively participated in many community organizations such as the Overhill Shutterbugs, past president of the Cherokee Beekeepers Association, Etowah Arts Commission board member, and past officer of the Trout Unlimited Hiwassee Chapter. She also supported her husband Larry in his role as Senior Adult Director at Eastanallee Baptist Church and their ministry to the Silver Stars.
In all things, whether from behind the lens of her camera as she captured the beauty of God’s creation, in the Scripture she included on her honey jar labels, in the positive attitude and trademark smile she always carried with her, even into cancer treatments, or in the peaceful words of her writing, her life’s passion was to point others to the love of Jesus Christ. She loved Jesus, her family, friends, and church family of Eastanallee Baptist fiercely!
In addition to her father, she is survived by her faithful husband of 36 years and fellow retired educator, Larry Lane, her daughter Lindsey (John) and precious granddaughters Melody and Madelyn Witten, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and her son Kevin Lane, of Riceville. She is also survived by her brother Steve (Kay) Murphree of Murfreesboro and their children Steven (Kelsey), Melissa, Daniel, and Anna, along with Larry’s sister Teresa (Bobby) Fulcher of Oak Ridge and their children Russell and Katherine.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 from 4-7 p.m. at Eastanallee Baptist Church in Riceville, with a Celebration of life service immediately following at 7 p.m. The graveside service will occur on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Eastanallee Baptist Church Cemetery. Active pallbearers will be Russell Fulcher, Steven Murphree, Daniel Murphree, Bill Matthews, Phil Odishio, Jeff Combs, Greg Hutsell, and Lee Parkison. Honorary pallbearers are Larry (Hoby) Toomey, Rick Hicks, Ronnie Creasman, Tanner Hutsell, Clinton Davis, Rusty Shultz, Lee Brown, Bill Curtis, Richard Burke, Curtis Womack, Dennis Shell, Mike Frazier, and Lewis Teague.
The family suggests memorials be made to Eastanallee Baptist Church Building Fund or Valley Christian Academy of Eastanallee Baptist Church, P.O. Box 3148, Riceville, TN 37370; Full Circle Medical Center for Women, P.O. Box 1721, Athens, TN 37371; or Coordinated Charities of Athens, 109 Rocky Mount Rd, Athens, TN 37303.
The family wishes to thank Brig Center For Cancer Care And Survivorship in Knoxville and Amedisys Hospice in Athens for their excellent, compassionate care during Gwen’s illness, along with their family, friends, and church family for the countless meals, prayers, visits, cards, and love.
Those unable to attend may send condolences to www.laycockhobbs.com/notices/Virginia-Lane
Laycock-Hobbs Funeral Home of Athens is honored to serve the family of Virginia Gwen Lane.