I have chosen the right to speak for myself and my brothers as the eldest son of our father these words that we all have had a hand in writing. As the four of us stand together in this hallowed sanctuary I am certain our memories coalesce and return to our youth and the many hours we frequented this holy wonderful place (and we confess we sometimes escaped with friends outside telling our parents we were in the balcony where we could not be seen).
Our father loved this church as we loved him.
I remember a time when I was but 13 or 14 when I first spoke before a large group of people from this very spot. I recall the topic was ‘Honoring my father’ and his profession. I remember being very upset when I heard people say some of the harsh things that are too often said about those who seek and hold public office. I think I said some of the things I will say here now about our father and his vocation. It is said that one should not speak of religion and politics in polite company but our father was a very religious man who lived a very political life.
Our Dad lived as he believed and he believed that politics was the call to serve his fellow man in office. He always believed it was about “them” and not “him”. I don’t know if many here in Knox County know or recall that Dad became the chief executive officer of Knox County at 30 in 1948 elected three times as a Democrat in this staunchly Republican area. The salary for that job in 1948 was a mere 11 thousand dollars and in 1966 when he lost the office it was not substantially more.
We remember vividly the 1966 campaign when a local grocer convinced some people who lived outside the city that the consolidated school system we now enjoy was a Communist plot and that issue cost him the election. I stood outside Carter High School campaigning as a college sophomore at UT when a group of men came up to me to tell me my Dad was a communist because taking 2 units and combining it down to one was the first rule of communism. Our father never had a harsh word to say about Cas Walker and his policy of being “agin any change”. As Dad tried to accomplish things to better our county and community, he often said that it was easy to be "agin it" and much more difficult to create and implement positive change. Dad always said everyone had a right to their opinion – I usually retorted that they didn’t have a right to their own false set of “facts”. A huge factor in his longevity as County Judge was his ability to get along with those who were politically opposed to him.
During the next eight years he was in the practice of Law preparing to serve as an interim Justice on the State Supreme Court. - The new administration allowed the salary to increase 5 fold and we thank God for that because Dad ended up the victor in the1974 race and retired from public service after 25 years on the pension provided while he was out of office. That story is indicative of the way our father thought and acted. The public came first when a man chose to be a public servant. He accepted the will of the people and refused to profit from his position.
But Dad’s service to this community did not end with his public service as the chief administrative officer of Knox County –Yes he was in large part responsible for the Knox County Health Department, The Knox County Library System, and The Knox County Utility Districts. He wrote the Juvenile Law Code, set up the central accounting system still in use, paved some 3,000 miles of County roads and oversaw the building of many County schools and parks. All great things that benefit the residents of Knox county but for us his greatest achievement was our family of four loving cohesive brothers – his and my mother’s greatest gifts to me are Charlie, David and Sam and their families.
Our father raised four Eagle Scouts and for that gave more of his time as President of the Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Dad may not have been the best outdoorsman or particularly adept at throwing balls or fishing but he loved to hike the Smokies and he was a firm supporter of scouting for his boys.
Our Dad got a lot of enjoyment out of everything to do with the University of Tennessee. He loved the VOLS – all of them football, basketball both men and women, softball, swimming, track, tennis, baseball, and soccer– he found the time somewhere to attend endless events of sports and the UT theater with us. He encouraged our participation in the Carousel Theater – as long as none of us ever took the idea of becoming an actor seriously. And for all that participation he gave his time as President of the Alumni Association and served on many councils and boards at UT.
Dad then followed his father Art into Masonry and like everything else he did he didn’t quit until he had become Potentate of Kerbela Temple after completing both the Scottish and York Rites to become a 33rd degree Mason. He then extended his service to that worthy organization by becoming a member of the Board of Trustees for the Shrine Children’s Hospitals and Burns Institutes.
And even that was not enough service for our father – he became very active in the Sertoma Club here in Knoxville and rarely missed a meeting or a chance to help with the great community service done by that fine organization.
And those of you who are active members of this First Baptist Church know well his service to the community did not stop there. Dad was always active here and it was a rare business meeting or event here at this Church he did not attend or support. He gave of his time and his income to support this church with our mother. His ‘wonderful bride’ and our loving mother was and is a part of all that he did. She was at his side for 67 years when she was not out on her own doing her service to the Community at Ramsey House or the Akima Club or bringing us to this church for Sunday School, choir practice, RA’s, Bible School or to play basketball in Trentham Hall.
After hearing all of that you might be wondering how he was as a father given that each of us has but 24 hours in a day. It may seem a bit exhausting just to recite such a eulogy of service in time and effort.
But Dad was usually home for dinner – and strict instruction on enunciation, table manners and the daily question of "what did you learn today?" or "what did you accomplished today?" and you better have a good answer or you could be branded with "the BIG S"! He was there on Saturday night to have us do our Sunday School lessons and polish our shoes for Church.
Every year Dad would put us in the Oldsmobile and drive us down to Florida for a week or so or take us on what he called a learning vacation to civil war battlefields, National Monuments and state capitals. We often went to the mountains or Big Ridge or Concord on the weekends.
Dad and Mom also found time to attend the Grandkids and Great grandkids sporting and school events from cheerleading, baseball, basketball, soccer and every graduation and school concert or play. He even took his three granddaughters on the trip of a lifetime to Greece and Turkey by himself.
He was a firm believer in getting an education and often told us "the only thing I can give you that no one can take away is the opportunity to get an education." and the greatest thing to him was the pursuit of knowledge.
Dad also fueled my interest in our genealogy and inspired me to find out about our ancestors and I am glad to be able to recite our lineage going back to the late 1600’s when our Dutch Bozeman ancestor arrived in the Tidewater area of Virginia.
There were James and Martha of Edgecomb County, NC in the
1700’s at the beginning of the United States and
Amos and Nancy Tarbutton Bozeman of Cherokee County, Georgia.
Then Silas Newton our Civil War ancestor and his wife Eliza in Pickens Co Ga who were aunt and uncle to Colonel John Merin Bozeman of The Bozeman Trail and Bozeman Montana fame and
Dad’s grandfather John Samuel who with Cynthia Ann Mann moved the family to Concord and then ‘Happy Holler’ here in Knoxville in the late 1800’s with 8 children,
then came Dad’s father Artie Claude and mother Mary Arnwine and the 40 odd relatives who lie at rest in The Greenwood or Lynnhurst near where I now live in Fountain City
I think back to them on my daily bicycle rides through those gardens of stone where his remains will lie and am thankful for all of them because of Dad and our mother and I trust he is with them now.
One thing on which all of my brother’s and I agree was that our father was the finest man we’ve ever known or hope to know. His example of selfless service is actually incredible and almost overwhelming. I often wondered about the source of his boundless energy. Even in these final years of life I found it almost impossible to keep up with him and his desire to go and do.
It was as if the county, the community, this Church and the University would all cease to exist if he didn’t get to that one last meeting or event.
He never tired of it and his love for this place and it’s people never faltered until he eventually no longer had the strength in his legs to get up and go. Once that happened he felt he had completed this great life he led. He could not and would not live on if he could not be out there with the people and places he loved - to serve.
Our father moved on from this life much as he lived it. He decided what needed to be done and he did it with love and good will to all.
This community and church have lost a great friend and servant.
And we will miss a wonderful father and friend but he left us together to gather the strength to go from one another.
My father Judge C. Howard Bozeman has now moved on from this life to the next. In memory of his life well lived I post this Eulogy delivered at his service at the First Baptist Church of Knoxville Tennessee on July 12 2011