Barbara Louise Wilkerson Luther passed away on Aug. 4, 2019, with her family at her side.
Barbara was born on Aug. 2, 1923, in Asheville, North Carolina, to the late Mary Watts Wilkerson and Floyd Woodrow Wilkerson. Barbara was one of 11 children born to Mary and Floyd, and spent part of her childhood traveling the southeast with her family, as her father worked with a crew constructing highways.
Barbara was one of the “Girls of Atomic City,” and met her future husband, William “Bill” Luther, while working for the war effort in Oak Ridge. Barbara and Bill were married on April 1, 1946, and lived in Lenoir City, where they welcomed two daughters, Billie and Bobbie, to their family. The Luthers then moved to Sweetwater in 1960, where 15 years and 19 years after the birth of their first child they welcomed two sons, Reggie and Chris. Reggie and Chris kept Barbara young and energetic.
Barbara was an active member of First Baptist Church of Sweetwater, the Eastern Star, and Springbrook Country Club. She enjoyed tennis, golf, bible study fellowship, and continuing education classes. Among the many classes she took, Barbara loved painting and several of her works hang in her home. She was an avid reader and had a flair for style and design. In the 1960s and 1970s her shop, Babs’ Boutique, offered unique fashion to the ladies of Sweetwater.
Barbara was always ready for an adventure, and she traveled extensively following the passing of her husband, Bill, in 1992. She visited five continents, making pilgrimages to the Holy Land, China, Japan, India, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Peru, and Russia, among many other destinations.
Barbara collected numerous treasures throughout her travels, and her home displayed her eclectic findings. Her grandchildren adored roaming the rooms of her home searching for exotic objects. Barbara’s home was always full of love, joy, and especially laughter. Her large family regularly gathered in Sweetwater to celebrate the holidays and family events. Because of Barbara’s fun-loving spirit, Luther family holidays were truly raucous and joyful occasions. Barbara moved to Knoxville in 2004, where her family continued to congregate for family gatherings and the occasional University of Tennessee football game.
Barbara’s family celebrated her 96th birthday with her in Knoxville on Aug. 2, 2019. She lived an extraordinary life and her family will miss her dearly.
Barbara was preceded in death by: her husband; parents; six sisters, Helen McCabe, Wayne Burnett, Grace Everett, Nina Ruth Summit, Annis Hudson, Midge Newberry; two brothers, Woody Wilkerson, M.L. Wilkerson.
Survivors include: her sisters, Esther Hatmaker, Bunny Thomas;
Sister-in-law, Ella Wilkerson;
Daughters, Billie Luther Mayhew, Bobbie Luther Corden (David);
Sons, Reggie Luther (Carolee), Chris Luther (Cynthia);
Eight grandchildren, Neely Fix, Josh Mayhew (Tammy), Elizabeth Parman (John), Greer Vestal, Tiffany Luther, Ashley Davison (Nathan), Billy Luther, Jonny Luther;
Four great-grandchildren, Danielle Matney (Winston), Trey Fix, Sydney Mayhew, Hazel Jane Davison.
The family received friends at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at Click Funeral Home in Farragut. A celebration of Barbara’s life followed at 11 a.m. A burial service was held at the Loudon County Memorial Gardens in Lenoir City, following the celebration of life.