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Hazel Polk

Hazel Polk

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:40 am

The Messenger, May 31, 2012
Hazel (Killingsworth) Polk, 91, of Union City passed away at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta May 25, 2012, during a trip to visit some of her beloved children and grandchildren in Middle Tennessee and Georgia.   
Friends are invited for visitation to White-Ranson Funeral Home Friday from 5-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Union City First United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Stan Waldon officiating and the Rev. Jim Calhoun assisting. Interment will be in the Troy City Cemetery immediately following the service.  
Pallbearers will be her grandsons: Dale Anderson, Hunter Kirk,  Andy McRae,  Seth McRae,  Evan Orenstein and David Vigil.
Honorary pallbearers will be Margaret Carter Sunday School Class, UMW-Service Group II, Character Builders Sunday School Class, Gideons and Auxiliary, Third Review Club, Bentley Beard, Dr. and Mrs. Larry Buckles, Peggy Burnett, Dr. Michael Calfee, Dr. Charles Callis, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Cameron,  Mr. and Mrs. Randy Chapman, Cindy Cox, Marla Crabtree, Al Creswell, Matt Hammond, Dr. Paul Hill, John Miles, Joe Sage,  Mr. and Mrs. Jim Stone,  Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Thomas and Mr. and Mrs. John Warner.
Memorial gifts may be made to Union City First United Methodist Church; or Gideon’s International, P.O. Box 191, Union City, TN 38281.
Family gatherings were always cherished by Hazel and they gave her opportunity to charm and engage everyone. No one who knew her can ever forget her ready laugh and winning smile, nor her ability to appropriately insert and quote relevant poems she had memorized during her youth.
Hazel was the widow of James W. Polk, M.D., F.A.C.S. and the daughter of the late Emmett Clifton and Mary Mervyn (Dell) Killingsworth.
Hazel was born Dec. 17, 1920, in Clay County, Ga. She graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State College for Women (GSCW) in Milledgeville, Ga., with a degree in education and library science. While at GSCW, she was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and was a member of The Phoenix Honor Society. She was honored to be selected to represent GSCW at Blue Ridge Assembly near Black Mountain, N.C.
After graduation, she taught in Fort Gaines, Ga., and Hollywood, Fla. During summer breaks while teaching in Florida, she continued her education in library science at Emory University in Atlanta.
During World War II, Hazel volunteered for service in the Red Cross. She was trained at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was  stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where she attended to injured servicemen.
Her visits to the wards were often met with the comment, “Here comes that girl with the smile!”  While at Fort Bragg, she met her future husband, James Walter Polk, M.D., of Troy. Hazel and James were married Oct. 6, 1946, in Fort Gaines, Ga.  
Dr. Polk began practicing medicine in Donalsonville, Ga., where first Martha Sue and then Jim were born. The family moved to Nashville when James returned to Vanderbilt University to pursue a residency in surgery. In 1951, they moved to Union City, where Dr. Polk opened his practice, which he continued into the 1970s. Hazel managed the household and raised their family, which grew to include daughters Mary Elise and Laura Dell.
During the past three years, Hazel has enjoyed living among a circle of new and old friends at The Etheridge House in Union City.
During her more than 60 years in Union City, she and James were longtime members of First United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the Margaret Carter Sunday School class. As a couple, the Polks were active in the Lay Witness Mission movement in the ’60s and ’70s, attending many  conferences at Lake Junaluska, N.C., and elsewhere.
Hazel was an active participant and officer in many church and civic organizations, including United Methodist Women, Third Review Club, Doctors’ Wives Auxiliary of the former Obion County General Hospital, PTA, Emmaus Walk, Gideons International Auxiliary and Garden Club.

Hazel was preceded in death by her husband, James Walter Polk; her parents, Emmett and Mary Mervyn (Dell) Killingsworth; and her brother, Emmett Clifton Killingsworth Jr.
She is survived by her sister, Sue Graetz of Columbus, Ga.; her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Moss of Stone Mountain, Ga.; her daughter and son-in-law Martha Sue and James McRae of Colorado Springs, Colo.; her son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Karlene Campbell Polk  of Nashville; her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Elise and J. Vincent Vigil, M.D., of Atlanta; her daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Stan Kirk of Franklin; her grandchildren and their spouses, Andy McRae of Denver, Jennie and Dale Anderson of Colorado Springs, Michelle and Seth McRae of Nashville, Susan and Matt Hammond of Columbus, Ohio; Lauren and Evan Orenstein of Atlanta, David Vigil of Atlanta, Merry Ellen Kirk of Nashville, and Christina, Hunter and Elizabeth Kirk of Franklin; her great-grandchildren, Ryshelle McRae of Denver, Fisher McRae of Nashville and Grace, Jacob and Lucas Hammond of Columbus, Ohio; and her niece, Genie Graetz Mize of Columbus, Ga.

Condolences may be sent to the family at the funeral home website: