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Ricky Harris DeBord

Ricky Harris DeBord, 57, died peacefully in his home on January 21, 2016 surrounded by loving family.

He was born March 11, 1958 at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi to the late James Harris DeBord and Betty Jo Simpson, both of Pikeville.

He was also preceded in death by his father’s parents, Virgil DeBord and Myrtle Reece DeBord, and his mother’s parents, Jesse Bernard Simpson and Daisy Cecile Snipes Simpson.

He attended Mary V. Wheeler Elementary School and was in the first class in first grade not to attend the old two-room schoolhouse. He was a graduate of Bledsoe County High School Class of 1976. He excelled in football, was the manager of the basketball team and played baseball.

During his college years at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity serving as house manager for four years. Lambda Chi continued to be a big part of his life and he was honored to be the Alumni of the Year in 2012 and has hosted several retreats for the active members in recent years. He was the basketball manager of the UTC Mocs, serving under Ron Shumate and Murray Arnold.

In 1980, he married the former Billie Jo Marsh, who preceded him in death by 26 years to the day. He worked for the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and was the local ABS technician for many years. He returned to UTC in 1989 to finish his degree and worked as manager for the football team. After graduation from UTC, he was a physical education teacher at Rigsby and Wheeler elementary schools, and was the county-wide football coach for several years. He also was an assistant basketball coach for the Bledsoe County High School team. He worked at Taft Youth Center as the assistant recreation director and football coach before retiring to be a gentleman farmer. He was an avid deer and turkey hunter, and always had a horse and a pack of plotts and beagle hounds.

He is survived by two daughters, Kelli (Jason) Payne and Kara (Michael Worley) DeBord; two brothers, Joel Taylor (Leanna) DeBord and Todd DeBord; two grandchildren, Spencer and Sydney Payne; and several nieces and nephews. He was called Uncle Rick by many and will be fondly remembered by his students, players, friends and family for his love of life.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be given to the Bledsoe County High School Athletic Department.

Services were held Sunday, January 24 in the funeral home chapel. Burial was in DeBord Cemetery.

Online condolences can be made at

Arrangements were made by Putnam-Reed Funeral Home in Pikeville.

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