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Alline Ellis Salmons McConkey of Clinton

Alline Ellis Salmons McConkey of Clinton, TN departed this beautiful planet on Thursday, October 17 th, 2019.
Alline taught kindergarten in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for 43 years and worked with the head Start Program for 3 summers before she decided to retire.  Alline taught over 2200 Woodland Elementary students during her long career and was well known for her annual October class trips to her Eagle Bend Farm.
To students, family and friends, Alline’s generosity was legendary.  Her quiet, unannounced deliveries brought spring flowers, summer vegetables, and fall pumpkins to many an area doorstep.  To ensure the availability of home-grown treats for all students visiting her farm each fall, Alline sometimes cross-pollinated the pumpkin blossoms herself; wired fresh grapes to spent vines and hung additional fruit on the apple and pear trees before the students arrived.  Each student chose a pumpkin to take home, and the excursion ended with a hayride.  During the school year, students received daisy plants and pussy willow rooting’s from the McConkey farm to take home to their parents for holiday gifts.
Named Oak Ridge “Teacher of the Year” in 1986, Alline was nominated for the National Teacher-Parent Organization Phoebe Apperson Hearst “Outstanding Educator of the Year Award” in 1985.  A lifelong proponent and example of the benefits of healthy living and physical fitness, Alline was ahead of her time in promoting the availability of nutritious snacks rather than junk food for sharing in her classroom.
A native of Cherokee County in Centre, AL, Alline was the daughter of the late William Hayden Ellis and Tevis Baker Ellis.  Alline’s love of the land developed from spending a happy childhood on the 3,500-acre family farm with her parents, her 2 sisters and 2 brothers.
When the nearby schoolhouse was closed, parents had to provide transportation for their children to the nearest school in Centre.  Alline’s father purchased a 2 seater, topless, Hoover cart that was drawn by the family horse, Dixie.  The cart named for President Herbert Hoover, transported the 5 Ellis siblings to their Uncle Earl Ellis’s home each morning before daybreak.  Uncle Earl hired a chauffeur to drive the children and 4 of their cousins to school in Centre.  After 2 years of this arrangement, the cart was retired and replaced by a new yellow school bus.
Following high school graduation in Centre, Alline entered Alabama College in Montevallo.  Alline was elected president of the Home Economics Club during her junior year and was chosen to attend the National Home Economics Convention in Boston, MA.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Vocational Home Economics in May 1943, Alline taught Home Economics in Alabama and later in Panama City, Florida.  Alline went on to receive her Master of Arts degree in advanced studies in Home Economics and Child Nutrition from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in August 1956.  Alline went on to train Head Start Teachers at Western Carolina College in Cullowhee, NC.
Alline married William Paris Salmons on June 23, 1946 and they moved to Oak Ridge in the early board-and-mud sidewalk days.  Alline taught school at Grove Centre for 3 years, and later they welcomed son, William Kim Salmons in April of 1951.
In July 1967, Alline married Duron Jefferson McConkey and they continued to live in Oak Ridge until they built their dream home on their Eagle Bend Farm overlooking the Clinch River.
Alline was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Alpha Epsilon Chapter; the Retired Teachers’ Association in Oak Ridge; the Garden Club, and Timely Topics Club.  Alline enjoyed participating in her water aerobics class in Clinton, along with flower and vegetable gardening.  Aline enjoyed music, sewing, reading and entertaining.
Alline is survived by her beloved son, Dr. William Kim Salmons and wife Lisa of Blaine, TN; nieces Rebecca Murphy (Wes) of Tampa, FL; Melodie Thigpen (Paulette) of Richmond, VA; nephews Dr. Ellis Thigpen of Kansas City, MO, Brian Thigpen (Ed) of Atlanta, GA and Reverend Eric Ellis of Auburn, AL.  Other family members include Sally Huggins (Lee) of Dalton, GA and step grandchildren Emily Travis and Adam Fletcher of Knoxville, TN.
The family wants to give a special thanks to Alline’s Caregivers Miranda and Vivian Parton who cared for Alline over the past many years.  They gave her great joy going on long walks, doing arts and crafts and decorating for every holiday.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 26 th, 2019 at 11 am at First Baptist Church in Clinton, TN with a graveside service to follow at Grandview Memorial Garden.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Woodland Kindergarten Classes in Oak Ridge, TN. Woodland Elementary, Attn: Regan Beard, Acct.; 168 Manhattan Ave.; Oak Ridge, TN 37830 or the First Baptist Church of Clinton; 225 North Main Street; Clinton, TN 37716.
Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton, TN is in charge of arrangements. www.holleygamble.com

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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