Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees » 2022 Inductees

2022 Inductees

14th Annual Dobyns-Bennett High School Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: March 26, 2022

Jerry AdamsCLASS OF 1975

Jerry Adams
Jerry Adams was born January 31, 1957, the third child to the late Jack and Jessie Adams. His three siblings whom he shared many wonderful childhood memories with are Judy Douglas, Jack Adams, and Jilda Gilliam. Growing up in a family with a hard-working father and mother, but with limited income, he always had a heart for those less fortunate. He was blessed to see God work in his father’s life which eventually changed the dynamics of his family.
He attended Kingsport City Schools from elementary through high school. He set a goal in middle school to make the Dobyns-Bennett basketball team and with hard work, accomplished this goal. Coach Van Huss called him a ‘Gym Rat’ because of the many hours he would spend practicing free throws and jump shots. Jerry continued to work hard and was chosen to play on an All-State basketball team. He had the privilege to travel to Nashville with this team and play against a Russian team. After graduating in 1975, Jerry continued his education on a sports scholarship to Tennessee Temple University. While in college, he married his high school sweetheart, Tamara Clark, the love of his life. His senior year at Tennessee Temple University, the basketball team won the championship for the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

Upon completion of his degree in Education, he began his coaching and teaching career at Forest Park Christian School in Georgia, then two years at Indian Hills Christian School in Ohio, and five years at Volunteer High School in Hawkins County, Tennessee. As Head Coach at Volunteer High School, one of the highlights of his coaching career was defeating his legendary high school coach, Buck Van Huss. He had many fond memories of this time in his life and coached many fine young women and men. It was during these years that Jerry and Tamara had two very delightful and energetic sons, Jeremiah and Jared. The boys saw their Jerry Adams Class of 1975 dad as a hero and loved going to the gym with him for basketball practice. They definitely kept the coaches and the players on their toes with their ebullient personalities.

In 1987, he was given the opportunity to return to his alma mater, Dobyns-Bennett High School, to coach and teach, where he did so until his death in 2009. While at Dobyns-Bennett, he had the privilege to coach many fine young men alongside the late Coach Buck Van Huss and Steve Shipley. One of the highlights of his teaching career at Dobyns-Bennett was the student travel abroad program. He was able to take many trips to Europe with his students as a teacher sponsor. As a history teacher, he felt like the trips not only enlightened the lives of the students but enhanced his teaching.
Through the years many students have recalled his ‘quotes of the day’, his Paul Harvey stories that he shared weekly, and his open door for them to receive an encouraging word or a piece of his hidden chocolate. Even though Jerry loved teaching and coaching, his greatest accomplishments were not his education or his occupation, but his walk with the Lord. Jerry began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in 1973 and allowed that relationship to guide his life, leading him to serve as Youth Leader at First Baptist Church in New Philadelphia, Ohio and Bible Baptist Church in Kingsport, Tennessee. He also served the local Salvation Army during Christmas and on Sundays from time to time as a liaison for the Captain. His greatest accomplishments were not ‘earthly treasures’, but ‘heavenly treasures’. One year before his death, a precious bundle of joy was born into the Adams family, his first grandchild, a little girl named Jaylie. Jerry enjoyed spending time with her and taking her to school on special occasions. He was overly excited when her first word at our house was ‘Pop’, short for Poppy. Poppy has been introduced to his only grandson, Jarren, born after his passing, by his older sister Jaylie, and memories shared by other family members. Jerry Adams touched the hearts of so many people during his short time on this earth. His Christian influence on the lives of his family, students, players, and friends will continue to keep his legacy alive. Jerry’s college coach, Ron Bishop, started a sports ministry in the Dominican Republic called SCORE International. This ministry allowed student athletes to travel to the Dominican Republic to play basketball. After hearing of this ministry, Jerry’s family organized several golf tournaments in his memory for the purpose of sending ten Dobyns Bennett athletes to the Dominican Republic.
His life verse was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

James "Jeff" F. ChetwoodCLASS OF 1967

James "Jeff" F. Chetwood
Jeff Chetwood was born and raised in Kingsport. He was blessed to grow up in a loving home, where he and his two sisters were raised by parents who modeled unconditional love and discipline. Jeff loved to spend time with aunts, uncles and cousins who lived close by...riding ponies, swimming in the pond and exploring the woods on the Carter farm! He loved to play all sports when he was a young boy and he still does today!
Jeff graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1967. His senior year, he and David Lily won the State Doubles Tennis Championship in Nashville. Jeff entered Davidson College that fall and went on to receive a B.A. in Economics in 1971. During his time at Davidson, Jeff served as President of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and Captain of the tennis team. This team won the Southern Conference Championship 3 of Jeff’s 4 years! He met Jodie Emerson in the fall of his senior year and they were married the day before graduation. They have been married for 51 years and have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.

After graduation from college, Jeff trained as a pilot in the United States Air Force and earned an MBA at the University of Tennessee while flying for the Tennessee Air National Guard at McGee-Tyson Air Base in Knoxville. Jeff accepted a job with a Big 8 Accounting Firm in 1975 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He worked successfully in finance in the business world for 20 years with different companies. During that time, he came to realize that all the money, material possessions, and positions of power in this world cannot fill the emptiness found in every heart. This emptiness is God-sized and can only be filled with Jesus. At the age of 38, Jeff prayed to receive Jesus into his heart as his Savior and Lord of his life. Jeff was afraid to speak in public as a young man, but God changed that, for He had plans for his life that required his voice! He took Jeff’s weakness and made it His strength. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.” God gave Jeff Chetwood His strength as He called him to preach the Gospel...the good news of Jesus all over the world. In 1993, at the age of 44, after a mission trip with a friend to Angola, Africa, Jeff surrendered his life to serve Christ full time. The “call’ on his life by God was to “Tell the World About Jesus.” Jeff resigned his position as chief financial officer and began working for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, teaching the Christian Life and Witness course. This was a huge step of faith financially with a family of five and two of his three children in college. But The Lord proved Himself faithful again and again and Jeff’s faith and trust grew by leaps and bounds as God’s provision was always enough.

In 1995, Jeff entered Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He received a Masters of Divinity with languages in three years. Upon graduation, Jeff was ordained and served as a pastor in Evangelism and Church Planting at a large Baptist church in Winston Salem. In 2002, Jeff and Jodie went on a short-term mission trip to India with International Commission, an evangelistic mission organization, located in Lewisville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. They were able to share the Gospel through a Christian interpreter with people who had never heard the name of Jesus! Jeff and Jodie saw the miracle of people responding to the Gospel message and were amazed! They witnessed people of all ages opening their hearts to the love of Christ through His Gospel message...their eyes literally turning from darkness to light. This radically changed Jeff’s direction from church planting to Gospel sharing around the world! In 2004, Jeff joined the staff of International Commission to oversee the carrying of the Gospel in Southeast and East Asia through church to church partnership evangelism in the following 19 countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries represent one-third of the world’s population. During these 18 years, International Commission has been able to carry the Gospel into each of these countries, with the exception of North Korea.

In its 50 year history, International Commission has shared the Gospel in 183 of the 209 countries of the world. Hundreds of thousands of new churches have been planted. International Commission has partnered with millions of believers worldwide in sharing the Gospel and tens of millions have indicated a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. HE is the only way through which our sins can be forgiven and our destiny changed to heaven. In John 14:6 Jesus said... “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jeff and Jodie have played a small role in God’s kingdom work in Asia. There are no words to describe the joy and privilege of serving Jesus in this way, to God be the glory!

Kenneth L. Roberts, Sr.CLASS OF 1950

Kenneth L. Roberts, Sr.
While Ken Roberts has indelibly changed the landscape of Nashville over the course of his six decades in the city, he credits his years in Kingsport at Dobyns-Bennett High School with providing the foundation on which his professional careers have been built. He was born in Dungannon, Virginia in 1932.
In 1933, his father, C.E. Roberts, obtained a job with Tennessee Eastman Corporation, and the family moved to Kingsport settling in Highland Park. Roberts attended public schools in the neighborhood until 1946 when the family moved to the city, and Ken was able to attend high school at Dobyns-Bennett High School. His high school years were active and filled with extracurricular activities including playing the Sousaphone in the band and playing center his junior year on the basketball team. He was also a member of the track team and became the state champion discus thrower. Also, in his eventful junior year, Miss Elmore’s Latin class staged a Roman banquet (covered by LOOK magazine) at which Ken portrayed Julius Caesar. Between his junior and senior years, he attended Boys State and was elected Governor. At the start of his senior year, Coach Howie Bowers was rebuilding his 1948 state championship football team and asked Roberts to play. He started at right tackle and was a member of the 1949 state championship team. He experienced a lineman’s greatest thrill—twice—as he scored two touchdowns. One was an intercepted pass, and the second touchdown resulted from a blocked punt.

His gridiron performance earned him a football scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he earned his undergraduate degree. He was President of Sigma Chi fraternity and also was a member of the track team. Upon graduation in 1954, he served two years in the United States Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Upon his honorable discharge in January 1957, he entered Vanderbilt Law School where he edited the Law Review. He graduated in June 1959 as Founder’s Medalist, first in his class. Following his graduation, he was asked to teach in the Vanderbilt Law School and did so for two years before joining the respected Nashville law firm, Waller, Lansden and Dortch and became active in Republican politics. He was named Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party and elected as a delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. In 1966, at the urging of many in the Tennessee GOP, he was urged to run for statewide office in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate but lost to Howard Baker who went on to become one of America’s greatest statesmen and a close friend.

Following his career in politics, Ken joined Commerce Union Bank in Nashville where he served until 1971 when he was named Chief Executive Officer of Central National Bank in Richmond, Virginia. In 1976, he returned to Nashville where he led First American National Bank and its holding company, First American Corporation from 1976 to 1990. During his tenure, he guided the company to renewed success and national prominence. In 1982, The First National Bank of Kingsport faced a hostile takeover. At the request of that bank’s board, Roberts led an effort that resulted in the bank becoming an independent subsidiary of First American. It remained so until First American Corporation was sold to Regions BankShares after Roberts left banking. During his years in the banking business, Ken Roberts received many honors, chief among them serving as Chairman of the National Association of Bank Holding Companies and Chairman of the International Financial Conference.

Upon his retirement from banking in 1990, he was named President of Nashville’s largest charitable organization, The Frist Foundation. One of his major accomplishments was assuming the leadership role in the creation of the Frist Art Museum which has become one of the region’s most respected visual arts institutions and a national public-private partnership model. He remains President Emeritus of the museum. He was named to the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust in 1976 and has served on several Nashville educational, civic and social service organizations, including: Chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way and board member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum which recently elected him to the exclusive Circle Guard of the organization honoring his service and contributions of time and talents to the organization. Ken Roberts has been an active musician all his life beginning with playing piano in a jazz band at the age of 14. In recent years, he has written and staged musical programs exploring the lives and music of significant composers, often with the acclaimed pianist, the late Beegie Adair. Several of these programs were produced in conjunction with the Nashville Jazz Workshop, one of the country’s most highly regarded jazz schools and performance venues.

He was married to the late Anne Foster Cook for 44 years and had three sons, Stephen, Kenneth Jr., and Patrick. After her death in 1999, he married Delphine Oman Sloan Roberts in 2002. Ken Roberts says his high school experiences were the most formative of his life and laid the groundwork for his future achievements. He considers himself blessed to have lived in Kingsport and attended Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Donald RollerCLASS OF 1955

Donald Roller
Donald E. Roller was born in 1937 in Kingsport and graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1955. He received a B.S. Degree in industrial management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1960 and has attended advanced management programs at Dartmouth, Penn State and the summer program at the Kellog Graduate School of business at Northwestern University. Roller joined United States Gypsum Company in 1960 and has held a variety of management positions, including Marketing Manager, Eastern Construction Products Division, United States Gypsum Company; General Manager, Kinkead Division, USG Industries, Inc.; and Vice President and General Manager, Central Construction Products Division, United States Gypsum Company. Most recently he was President and Chief Executive Officer, USG Interiors, Inc. Roller served as a Director for USG Interiors, Inc., United States Gypsum Company. USG Interiors, Inc., United States Gypsum Company and USG International, Ltd. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of USG Corporation.

Mr. Roller was responsible for the largest business unit, United States Gypsum Company, which is the worldwide leader in the manufacture of gypsum building products. In 1995, USG consolidated all North American gypsum businesses under Mr. Roller’s direction, including CGC Inc. and Yeso Panamericano. Mr. Roller directed efforts to integrate USG’s North American businesses to create a borderless organization where sales, marketing and manufacturing strategies, technological information and distribution capabilities are shared across the board. Mr. Roller joined United States Gypsum Company as a sales trainee in Miami, Florida. After spending several years in line sales, he took a position as a commercial systems representative in 1968 and was promoted to division marketing policy manager for the Southern Construction Products Division located in Atlanta, Georgia in 1969. From 1970 through 1976, he worked as field sales manager In Jacksonville, Florida. Roller was promoted to area marketing manager in 1977. He was manager of marketing for the Eastern Construction Products Division from 1979 to 1983 in Tarrytown, New York. Mr. Roller was promoted to General Manager of Kinkead Industries, Chicago in 1983. He became Vice President and General Manager of the Central Construction Products Division, also in Chicago, in 1985. Mr. Roller was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for USG Interiors, Inc. in 1987. He managed the initial integration of USG Interiors’ businesses, a combination of seven related units, together under one cohesive $400 million enterprise. These units were comprised of both traditional USG and externally acquired businesses, foreign and domestic. He was then promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer for USG Interiors in 1989, and then became President and Chief Executive Officer for United States Gypsum Company in 1993. In 1994, he accepted a position with USG Corporation.

Mr. Roller had been active in civic, corporate and community affairs for many years. His civic and community involvement included positions on the boards of the AWCI Foundation, NBMDA Advisory Board, Industrial Committee of Chicago Executive Club, Chicago Youth Centers and Lake Forest Graduate School of Business. Roller also was chairman of the capital, planning and finance committees of The Knollwood Club Board of Governors. He served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Tennessee Business College. He helped as the Events Chairman of the Kiwanis Club and on Special Events for the March of Dimes Board, both in Sarasota, Florida. Mr. Roller was Chairman of the Boys Club Board in Sarasota, Florida. He was a member of the Arlington Rotary Club in Jacksonville, the Pullman Restoration Board in Pullman Illinois, near Chicago and Chairman of the Board for Glenmoor Continuing Care Retirement Community in St. Augustine, Florida. He also served as Chairman of the Board for the Life Care Pastoral Services in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and as President of the Board for Ponte Vedra Episcopal Church Charitable Foundation.

He enjoyed playing golf, chess and tennis. Reading and listening to music were favorities activities too. Donald lived with his wife, Betty, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

George Wirt TaylorCLASS OF 1961

George Wirt Taylor
George “Wirt” Taylor graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1961. He enrolled at Emory and Henry College and graduated in 1965. In 1990, he was recognized by Emory and Henry as a distinguished graduate.

In 1978, he was named the president of Dobyns-Taylor Incorporated. Dobyns-Taylor was founded in 1922 by J. W. Dobyns, S. Flem Dobyns and G.W. Taylor. In 1952, Dobyns-Taylor was recognized as the largest independent hardware in America with sales volume of 5 million dollars. (Worth 50 million in 2022 dollars) George has been in commercial real estate ever since.

At the age of 32, George contracted virus infections in both eyes. He became legally blind at age 45 with only peripheral vision in both eyes. He has been able to continue to work and maintain a normal lifestyle by walking and using various devices to aid his vision.

With the adversity life has dealt, George has still accomplished many things and continues to serve the community of Kingsport. He has served at the Chamber of Commerce, was Santa Train Chairman and on the very first Fun Fest Committee. He has also served on the Holston Valley Hospital Board, was a Founder of Junior Achievement of Kingsport and Co-Founder with Norman Sobel of Downtown Kingsport Association in 1970. He served as the Downtown Kingsport Association Treasurer for 10 years and as a United Way Board Member and on the Citizens’
Advisory Committee to Board of Mayor and Aldermen. George is active in the Kingsport Rotary club with 55 years of perfect attendance and has been Rotarian of the Year twice! He was awarded the Rotary Paul Harris Award which is the highest award Rotary gives and received the Rotary Lifetime Achievement Award. The Rotary Club picnic shelter at Borden Park is named after him.
George is also a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners. He has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer since 2005 and received Mountain States Tom Chase Award for community service. George has also been a faithful servant to First Broad Street Methodist Church. He has taught a Sunday School class called “Pairs and Spares” and served as treasurer for that class. He delivered firewood in the Firewood Ministry for the church. George has also been an active supporter of Holston Conference Home for children in Greeneville, TN.

In addition to serving his community, George also made time to enjoy various hobbies. One of his primary hobbies included supporting Dobyns-Bennett football. George has not missed a home Dobyns-Bennett football game since 1966. He was honored by the Dobyns-Bennett Quarterback Club as Fan of the Year in 1984. The National Collegiate Hall of Fame honored him at Neyland Stadium for his contributions to East Tennessee athletes.

George was a competitive trapshooter until he lost the use of his eyes. He is a lifetime member of the Trapshooting Association of America. As a competitive trapshooter, he has been a 5 time Tennessee State Champion, a South Carolina State Champion, and won over 100 local shooting titles. Talk about an outdoorsman, George Taylor was a charter member of the Cherokee Rod and Gun Club in 1950 at the age of six.

John W. WaltonCLASS OF 1965

John W. Walton
John W. Walton was born in Kingsport, Tennessee. He is the third and best looking of three boys. His brothers are Albert and Fred Walton. He is the son of W. J. (Bill) and Katherine S. Walton.

He played football and was Co-Captain of the 1964 Dobyns-Bennett High School State Championship football team. He was a member of the All Upper East Tennessee team.

After graduation, he attended and played football at East Tennessee State University. He was a four year starter, stand out center and Captain of the 1969 East Tennessee State University Grantland Rice Bowl Championship Team. The Bucs played Louisiana Tech with quarterback, Terry Bradshaw. They won 34 to 14 with the odds against them. They also won the Ohio Valley Conference Title. He was selected to be an All-American in 1969 and was a 1968 and 1969 All Ohio Valley Conference selection member. While at East Tennessee State University, he was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, T-Club and ROTC.

After graduating from college, he served as a Military Police in Germany from 1970 to 1972 which peaked his interest in the field of law. He graduated eighth in his class from the Memphis State School of Law in 1975 and became a practicing attorney in 1976 to 1998 in Elizabethton, Tennessee. He served as the Elizabethton City Attorney from 1982 to 1998 and then was elected Carter County General Session Judge in 1998 and 2006 being the only General Session Judge to serve two full eight year terms.

John served on the East Tennessee State University Pirate Club Board of Directors and on the founding committee of the ETSU Letterwinners Club. John was inducted into the East Tennessee State University Atheltics Hall of Fame in 2002 and is a current member of the Dshiell Masonic Lodge #238 F&AM in Elizabethton.
John retired in 2014 and resides in Elizabethton with his wife, Anna Marie, of 53 years after eloping before the Murray State game in 1969 which turned out to be the only blemish on the 10-0-1 record. They have two children, Natasha Marshall (Mick) and Adam Walton. They have four grandchildren: Sam, Anna, John, Rya.