Ottalee Smith Winegar was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. Surrounded by her family, she died with a faith triumphant on June 22, 2022 at the age of 80.
She was born to the late Hugh Holt Smith and Edythe Elliott Smith of Gate City, VA on February 24, 1942. She is preceded in death by her brothers Elliott Smith and Gilbert Smith.
Ottalee is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Grady C. Winegar, daughters Marisa Winegar (Eric Schauber) and Susan Winegar Ely (Nathan), and her beloved grandchildren, Adam Ely, Summer Schauber, and Leland Schauber. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law Phyllis Smith, Vicki Smith, and Ella Winegar; brother-in-law Bryston Winegar; nephews Kevin Smith, Josh Smith, Andy Smith, Matthew Winegar; and niece Heather Smith.
Ottalee was a beloved classmate at Gate City High School where she was an Honor Student and served as the Drum Major for the marching band. At Emory and Henry College, Ottalee majored in History and English and graduated with academic honors.
Ottalee was a pioneer among women at Duke University Divinity School where she received her Masters Degree in Religious Education in 1965. She served as a Diaconal Minister in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church and Director of Christian Education at Central United Methodist Church in Knoxville, TN from 1981-1994. Among many acts of faith, Ottalee created religious opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities at Central UMC at a time when there was no special programming for them.
She saw her first Duke basketball game in 1963 and became a devoted Blue Devil fan throughout her life. She shared her husband’s love of collecting memorabilia as an avid fan of The Wizard Oz and Judy Garland.
Ottalee influenced the lives of many families throughout her ministry. Ottalee often shared that the most important things in life she learned from children. This was evident in her inclusive nature and enthusiasm. Ottalee was thrilled in her favorite role as Grandma. She loved to tell stories about her grandchildren to anyone who listened.
The family will receive friends from 12:00-2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 27 at Central United Methodist Church, 201 E. Third Avenue Knoxville, Tennessee, 37917. There will be a memorial service to follow at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Ottalee requested that donations be made to Central UMC to support community outreach.
Ottalee’s family has been encouraged by the loving expressions of many friends, including former Bishop and her special friend, Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain, Jr., who upon hearing of her death wrote “...our dear, dear Ottalee…‘can’t you hear the angels singing?’”
Funeral arrangements made by Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel & Crematory.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Ottalee Smith Winegar, please visit our floral store.