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Roane County lawmakers, state Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, and state Rep. Julia Hurley, R-Lenoir City, said last week the bridge over Clinch River on Hwy. 70 has been named the Thomas W. Pickel Jr. Bridge in honor of one of Roane County's distinguished citizens.
The bridge was named in honor of Pickel through an amendment sponsored by Yager to the “Omnibus Transportation Bill” passed during the 2011 legislative session.
“Tom Pickel is an extraordinary individual who has been an asset to Roane County his entire lifetime,” said Yager. “From serving his country, coaching baseball, and other public and community service, Tom’s life is an example of the Tennessee volunteer spirit. The only thing that overshadows his achievements is his humility, which makes this designation all the more deserving.”
Pickel was a charter member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101, former coach of the Babe Ruth League baseball team, former chairman of the Roane County United Way board of directors and the Roane County Republican Party Executive Committee, and a former member and vice chairman of The Library Foundation of Kingston.
In addition, Pickel has been a leader in improving education as chairman of the Roane County Board of Education and the joint Harriman-Roane County Vocational School Board.
He is also a member of the Kingston Rotary Club, Kingston American Legion Post 110, Bethel Presbyterian Church, Roane County Forestry Association, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and is on the board of directors of Family Medicine Associates.
Pickel graduated from Roane County High School and served in the U.S. Army Air Force.
He received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and his doctorate from the University of Illinois.
“Education has always been priority for Tom,” added Hurley. “In following, he is an inspiration to many local students who aspire to greater heights in their educational pursuits.”
Both Yager and Hurley recognized Roane County Highway Supervisor Tom Hamby for his assistance to make the project possible, as well as Kingston Mayor Troy Beets and County Executive Ron Woody.
Pickel is married to Jane Dunlap Pickel and has three children, Laura Dailey, Thomas Pickel III and Margaret Murr.
The Pickels have eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.