Hannah Tom Schoolfield, age 92, of Pikeville, TN died, Sunday, February 11, 2018 surrounded by her family at home. She was a member of Pikeville United Methodist Church, American Legion Auxiliary Post 66 and the Bledsoe County Republican Women's Club.
Preceded in death by her husband of over 70 years, James Robert Schoolfield Sr (1923–2018), parents James Fortunatus Robnett (1881–1970), and Addie Emmaline Swafford Robnett (1888–1991) sister Sara Emmaline Robnett Poulson (1922–2007), brothers James Fortunatus Robnett Jr. (1923–1993), and John Sam Robnett (1927–2012).
She is survived by sons James Robert Schoolfield Jr., Thomas Lurton Schoolfield, William Robnett Schoolfield, John David Schoolfield, and daughter Frances Suzanne Schoolfield Sapp, sisters Elizabeth Parham Robnett and Frances Sue Robnett, seven grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren.
Hannah Tom, Tommye, or "Hanny" to her friends and family, attended Patten Grammar School and graduated from Bledsoe County High School in 1946. Her senior annotation on her senior portrait reads:
Tommye Robnett "Broadie"
"A friendly lass, pretty too — a smile that’s big enough for two."
"Basketball 4 yrs; Pin up Girl ‘44; Captain of the Basketball team 2 years; Press Club 1 yr.; Exchange Editor of the "Echo" [High school newspaper] ‘46; Assistant Snapshot Editor of the "Beacon" [yearbook] ‘46; [Future Farmers of America] or F.F.A. Play 2 years; Secretary of the "B" Club [Beta Club] ‘46; Reporter for the Senior Class ‘46; Cheer Leader 2 years; All Tournament Team 3 years."
She was also voted "Best Girl Athlete" by her peers as noted in the 1946 yearbook. The women’s basketball team record for 1946 shows only 2 losses in a season of 23 games.
As class secretary, Tommye kept up with members of the class of 1946 and gladly participated in class reunions.
After high school, Tommye married Jimmy Schoolfield on May 19, 1947. She delayed college while raising her children but returned to school and graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education in 1978. After earning her degree, she served in Bledsoe County School System and Adult Special Education from 1980-1994. She completed some graduate-level work at that time as well. Later, she taught at Taft Youth Center, a state school for juvenile delinquents, for some years until her retirement.
Individuals with special needs were near to her heart. She volunteered for and supported the Special Olympics. Seeing a need, she started a Sunday School class for special-needs children at her church. She would go in to the community and meet with disabled adults to ensure that their needs were met. She formed friendships with these special people that lasted her whole life.
Tommye’s teaching career was more than a job to her. Having a servant’s heart, she was seldom happier than when she was serving others. Besides helping the mentally disabled at various institutions, she found several local individuals who were not being served anywhere else and undertook to visit and see to their well-being. This included among others a family of disabled children who lived in the Nine Mile community and even a former high school classmate of one of her children. When she discovered that this man, disabled and wheel-chair bound, lived within walking distance of her home, she paid him regular visits, sometimes bringing him pie or a cake.
For Tommye, her work was its own reward. Seeing others helped in some way was satisfying to her, but occasionally like all teachers, she saw signs that their work was life-changing. She often spoke of the time she and Dad were shopping in Chattanooga, when she heard a familiar voice say, "Hello, Miss Schoolfield!" and were delightfully surprised to learn the voice was from one of her former students/inmates from Taft Youth Center. He thanked her for being his teacher and wanted her to know he was living a new life away from crime. What could be more encouraging than to learn that your efforts had changed the life of a student, especially of one who had overcome so much? The desire to do something worthwhile to help others is no doubt why Tommye, her sisters, children, and grandchildren followed the calling of their maternal grandmother, Addie Emmaline Robnett, who was a teacher.
She and her husband Jimmy were a part of the Greatest Generation, living through the Great Depression and World War II. They were active in the American Legion, both serving in leadership positions. Jimmy served as Post Commander, and Tommye served multiple terms as President of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary Post 66. She also served as 3rd District President. Many may recall her dedication to passing out poppies on Memorial Day in front of the courthouse. In addition to her service in the American Legion, Tommye served on the executive board of Green Valley, an organization that serves mentally disabled adults.
Tommye loved music. She encouraged her children’s music studies and attended their band concerts. Her children remember waking on Saturday mornings to the sound of her voice singing sometimes with the radio, sometimes just singing. She loved all kinds of music, including classical, popular, and country. "In the Pines" and "Tom Dooley" were two songs she knew and sang often in her home. She loved other genres of music as well, and she greatly mourned the passing of Elvis.
Tommye appreciated God’s creation. Her yard was always teeming with daffodils, roses, irises, daylilies, peonies, hostas, and other plants. She could make anything grow and thrive. Most mornings were spent watching the birds and other small animals from her kitchen window. An animal lover, she cared for each stray dog or cat that wandered into her garage. The mountains and hills, rivers and streams of the Sequatchie Valley were dear to her, and she spoke of her valley with love and admiration.
More than anything, Tommye loved her family. She was proud of all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Their achievements and education gave her great enjoyment. She took pride in her family name and instilled that in her descendants. Heritage and remembrance pervaded every aspect of her life.
All will remember Tommye’s beautiful soul, effervescent personality, dynamic storytelling, witty humor, candid opinions, strength of character, and servant heart. She was a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for the less fortunate, a lover of God, country, and family. Hannah Tom Schoolfield exemplified the excellent woman of Proverbs 31:
"Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates."
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. CST in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Greg Smart and Pastor Luther Hollingsworth officiating. Burial will be in Pikeville Cemetery. Online condolences can be made at reedfamilyfh.com. Arrangements are by Putnam-Reed Funeral Home, 1171 Main Street, Pikeville, TN. Visitation will be Friday from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. CST and Saturday from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. CST.