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Elizabeth Parham Robnett

Elizabeth Parhm Ronbett

Elizabeth Parham Robnett, 103, of Pikeville, Tennessee, passed away peacefully Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

She is survived by her beloved sister, Frances Sue Robnett; and many nieces and nephews.

She was born on December 19, 1919, about 10 miles north of Pikeville, in the home where she lived her whole life. Her parents were James Fortunatus Robnett and Addie Emmaline Swafford. She was the oldest of six children: Sara Robnett Poulson, J.F. Robnett, Hannah Tom Robnett Schoolfield, John Robnett, and Sue Robnett.

Ms. Robnett began her formal education in a one-room school, Red Hill, later graduating from the John A. Patten High School. She received a B.S. Degree from Tennessee Tech University, a Masters, and an Educational Specialist Degree in history from George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt University.

She was always interested in history, learning family and community stories from her mother, Addie Emmaline Robnett. Addie Robnett was the former historian for the county who provided Elizabeth with memories and research about their community from previous centuries.

Ms. Robnett began her teaching career riding a horse to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. As a teacher and historian, she inspired generations of future educators. She was a public school teacher for over 40 years and poured her life into the community she loved so much. She was passionate about public schools and believed that all children deserve the right to an education. Like so many teachers, Elizabeth Robnett was a lifelong learner, researching and writing into the last year of her life.

“Libby”, as she was known by her family, served as a matriarch, preserving stories and memories for future generations. No family event was complete without a history lecture from Libby, who stressed the importance of passing on history to younger generations. Libby helped to inspire many in her own family to become educators, including her nephew, William Robnett Schoolfield, her great-nieces, Abby Schoolfield, Carrie Sapp Thompson, and Savanna Poulson.

Like all good historians, she was a wonderful raconteur, entertaining many with tales of local folklore, history, and family stories passed down from generation to generation. Ms. Elizabeth had the wisdom to investigate the history of the community of Bledsoe County and preserved that history by recording everything she found. Her two books and numerous articles survive her and will continue to bring knowledge for generations to come.

Services will be held Sunday, March 5, at 2:00 p.m. CST in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Jim Douthat officiating.   Burial will be in T.Y. Swafford Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Saturday, March 4, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. CST and Sunday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. CST.

Online condolences can be made at

Arrangements are by Putnam-Reed Funeral Home, 1171 Main Street, Pikeville.

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