Kevin R. Petherick, Sr. of Knoxville, Tennessee died peacefully on December 20, 2020 while surrounded by his loving family. Kevin’s intelligence, devotion, and wit are sorely missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.
Kevin was born in Painesville, Ohio precisely 364 days after the birth of his future wife, Barbara Jo Petherick (née Arnold). He was the third-born son of Canadian emigrants Gordon H. Petherick and Beryl Petherick (née Davy) of Toronto. Kevin spent his formative years in Rochester, New York, and was a graduate of Brighton High School. He enjoyed exploring the scenic landscape of Upstate New York and amassed a substantial collection of fossils. He also cherished the time he spent during his youth visiting his many relatives in Ontario, Canada.
Kevin devoted all of his free time to his family and was a family man through and through. Although they knew each other during high school, Kevin and Barbara’s romance blossomed after a chance meeting on an elevator in Buffalo, New York during their college years. They eventually married on October 8, 1983 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Together, Kevin and Barbara raised their three children: Kevin R. Petherick, Jr. of Knoxville, Tennessee, Michael J. Petherick of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Holly E. Petherick of Knoxville, Tennessee. Kevin took great pride in his family and his devotion to family was unwavering even during his battle with chronic illness.
Kevin was also a highly regarded health and safety professional. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in geology from State University of New York at Fredonia and his Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Industrial Hygiene from the University of South Carolina, Kevin became a Certified Industrial Hygienist through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene. In addition to writing a longstanding hearing protection policy for USC as he worked on his Master’s degree, he enjoyed a lengthy and successful career as a health and safety professional after graduation. In January of 1990, Kevin began his industrial hygiene career at Chem-Nuclear systems, a subsidiary of Waste Management. In his position as a radiological engineer, he worked for the regulatory affairs department. He continued with the Waste Management family of companies at Diversified Scientific Services, Inc., in Kingston, TN, and at Y12 National Security Complex. In 2003, Kevin accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (“ORNL”), where he worked for the remainder of his career. While working at ORNL, Kevin managed a variety of programs within the Health and Safety Services Division, most notably the Beryllium program, where he was designated as one of the go-to Subject Matter Experts across the DOE complex. Kevin also developed many lasting friendships with his colleagues at ORNL, which he deeply cherished. Those colleagues have been a great source of comfort to Kevin’s family both during his battle with illness and since his untimely passing.
Kevin is predeceased by his parents, Gordon and Beryl Petherick, his brother, Brent Petherick, his grandparents, Elizabeth and Ernest Petherick and Annie and Leonard Davy, and several aunts and uncles. Kevin is survived by his wife, Barbara; his children, Kevin, Michael, and Holly; Michael’s fiancé, Caitlin McFall of Chattanooga, Tennessee; his brother and sister-in-law, Glenn and Charmaine Petherick of Alexandria, Virginia; his maternal aunt, Norma Gooding of Toronto, Ontario; many cousins; many other family members in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; his steadfast miniature dachshunds, Bridgette and Heidi; his grand-corgi, Clementine; and his many friends and colleagues at ORNL.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service in honor of Kevin will take place later in 2021, and all who loved him are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Kevin’s name may be made to the Vasculitis Foundation to help fund their research into Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener’s Disease.) Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Petherick family and invites you to view and sign the online guestbook.
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