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2012 Central High Wall of Fame Honorees

Byron Booker honored as Tennessee Teacher of the Year

Central High School Foundation and the CHS Alumni Association celebrated their three additions for the Central High School “Wall of Fame” with a breakfast on Saturday. The 2012 honorees are Robert Temple, Class of 1948, Mary Sue Miller, Class of 1956 and Barry N. Litton, Class of 1969.
The Breakfast also recognized Central teacher Byron Booker for his outstanding accomplishments as a teacher of English as a Second Language.

Mary Sue Beggs Miller, Class of 1956

In 1945, a seven year old girl made the journey to Knoxville from her home in Mississippi with her twin sister to live with an aunt and uncle for a year. For Mary Sue Beggs, that one year journey never ended and Knoxville became her home. Central High School and our community are the richer for her dedication to teaching and community service. Mary Sue was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1938, fifteen minutes before her twin sister, Martha. The Beggs family had two sets of twins, and three other children. It was a heavy burden for her mother, Effie, after the death of her father, Clifton, in 1943. Mildred and Elmer Castleberry suggested that their nieces, Mary Sue and Martha, come to Knoxville, live with them and attend Halls Elementary.

The twins stayed on in Knoxville starting at Halls High School in 1952 and transferring to Central for their junior and senior years. In 1956, Mary Sue graduated from Central in the top 10% of a class of 350. She started working at the White Store and continued cashiering for the grocery store chain throughout her college years. “I would not take anything for this work experience. It taught me how to use and plan my time wisely, how to meet and work with people, and the importance of saving money for my college.’ Wise use of time and a deep love of working with people are themes throughout her productive career.

She pursued a higher education, first with a two-year secretarial program at U. Tennessee, then at Carson-Newman College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Education, in May 1961. After graduation, she took a position as the educational secretary at First Baptist Church, Knoxville. Her work with their youth program convinced her that she truly wanted to be involved with young people and teaching full time. First Baptist Church is also where she met Ed Miller and the young couple would marry in 1965.

In the Fall of 1963, Principal Dan Y. Boring asked her to join Central’s faculty and she began teaching the general business and typing courses. She had found her calling, and would remain at Central High School until her retirement in 2000. In 1967, she was selected as Central’s “Teacher of the Year.” It was a welcome affirmation for the young teacher to be recognized by her school.

Mary Sue Miller loved all aspects of Central and the more that she became involved, the more she enjoyed her job. Friday night home football games were great fun and she enjoyed selling tickets in the “sewer” ticket booth. Some of the special people at Central were Principal Dan Y. Boring “a man of few words, but he was a jewel’ and a student Joanne Owens, who also returned to Central as a teacher, colleague and friend. From 1979 through 1998 she sponsored the yearbook. Until recently, students volunteered, without credits, for the long hours of painstaking work to assemble the pictorial history of a year at school.

The dedication of these students stood out when the school had a lengthy school closure for snow in the late 70s. For three snowy days in a row, these yearbook students walked or got rides to Mary Sue’s house to ensure that deadlines for production would be met.

Mary Sue had a full range of community activities outside of school. She wrote a history of Beaver Dam Baptist Church covering 1775 through 1958, served as a member of the Fountain City Recreation Commission from 1979-1984, as well as continuing church activities.

Enthusiasm for teaching and love for students shine through when asked to pick a favorite year out of those 37 years at Central. “All of the years were favorites and they “flew by.” Business classes evolved, and she found the introduction of the vocational education program for business students an inspiring challenge. In 1986, Mary Sue Miller was again selected to be honored as Central’s Teacher of the Year. Her last 16 years of teaching saw the evolution of typing classes into Keyboarding, Desktop Publishing and Word Processing. She received numerous other teaching awards, Knoxville News-Sentinel Golden Apple Awards in 1985 and 1986, Knoxville Rotary Club’s Secondary Teacher of the Year in 1986 and the HG. Teacher of the Year Award from the Central Class of 1950, in 1999.

Her involvement with teaching and her community has not faltered with her retirement from Central. Since 1985, she has taught an adult ladies Sunday School class at Central Baptist Church, Fountain City, and she currently teaches computer classes at Smithwood Baptist Church in Word, Advanced Word and Excel and has volunteered at the O’Connor Senior. She is on a number of committees at Central Baptist, is especially active in the Faith at Work Ministry. Central Baptist has a strong presence at Central High School, including several faculty events a year such as a Fall Luncheon, and support for the Project Graduation celebration for the senior class.

Mary Sue has been a volunteer with the Mission of Hope since its beginning in 1996. She and her husband, Ed, have devoted countless volunteer hours working in the warehouse and making Christmas deliveries. She edits the quarterly newsletter published by Mission of Hope and volunteers in their office. The Lions Club is also the beneficiary of her skills and enthusiasm. Her husband is an active member, and she supports the club with volunteer time as a “Lion’s Helper” for special club events throughout the year.

Mary Sue and Ed Miller have one son, Dan who graduated from Central in 1987. Dan and his wife, Kim have three children, Jackson, Natalie and Megan. Kim teaches at Sterchi Elementary School and Dan is employed by Agilight.

In 1986 Mary Sue Miller wrote that “each student must be encouraged to become a valuable and respected member of the community and society in general by developing and expanding his or her talents and abilities to their fullest potential.” Central High School Foundation and the CHS Alumni Association are honored to recognize her dedication to students, to teaching and to our community with this induction into the “Wall of Fame.”

Robert H. “Bob” Temple, Class of 1948

Son of the winner of Parade Magazine’s 1956 “Get-Out-The- Vote” contest, husband of a member of one of Fountain City’s most prominent families, father of a music teacher of low-income children and inspirational volunteer vocalist at numerous retirement communities, father of the Tennessee State Gymnastics Champion, father of a prominent Anderson County bank vide-president, brother-in-law of an iconic Central High School football coach and principal, and himself the 1998 Senior’s Tennis Champion of the State of Tennessee, benefactor of the Halls YMCA and innovative developer of two major North Knox County subdivisions—and that is only a hint at the legacy of Robert H. “Bob” Temple.

Bob was born in Nashville, Tenn. on Aug. 3, 1928, the third of six children of Will S. and Marjory Watson Temple. During the presidential campaign of 1956 pitting Pres. Dwight Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson, Parade Magazine held a nationwide contest for the best “Get Out the Vote” slogan which attracted 500,000 submissions. Marjory Temple’s slogan—”Vote—you lucky American !“–won the all-expenses-paid week in Washington for the Inauguration of President Eisenhower.

Bob started the first grade in Nashville but, when he was in the fourth grade, moved with his family to Fountain City and attended Fountain City Elementary School. During his years at Central High School he played center on both the basketball and football teams. He was Captain of the basketball team and chosen for the All-City team his final year. His team won the 8th District Title, was runner-up in the regional and then went to the state tournament. To prove his versatility, he sang in the school chorus for three years and graduated from Central in 1948. Thinking a fifth year in high school would improve his chances for a basketball scholarship at U.T., Bob stayed another year and chose to repeat senior English with his favorite teacher, Edith Lovelace Wiles.

Fortuitously, he received the U.T. scholarship. He came into his own scholastically at U.T. and completed four years of college in three calendar years, majoring in Business Administration. That is even more impressive considering that during that time he also worked in automobile wholesaling.

Col. N.B. “Red” Eubank, one of his Central High football coaches, was also commanding officer of the 178th National Guard Unit. Bob enlisted and served more than two years. From 1952-54 he served on active duty at Ft. Jackson, S.C. and Ft. McPherson, Ga. during the Korean War.

When he returned to civilian life, he attended U.T. for some graduate work but soon went into home building, first working with master carpenter Charlie Davis and his nephew David Price as his construction team. Jn 1954, Davis built the Temples’ first home on Highland Drive. Temple developed the 110-unit Woodvale Subdivision on Brown’s Gap Road and the 200-unit Temple Acres Subdivision off Maynardville Pike in Halls. He was one of the first developers to maintain quality grading guidelines and to install curbs and gutters on all his properties. He also built the Whittle Springs and Highland Arms Apartments.

Temple was one of the Fountain City residents content to live in the largest unincorporated community in the United States, happy with its amenities of parks, trolley, waterworks and fine schools. However, in 1959, the City of Knoxville proposed annexing the Fountain City area. Temple became a part of the negotiating committee which worked over the next two years on the terms of the annexation, culminating in the 1962 “Funeral for Fountain City.” Community leaders, including Temple, carried in the representational casket of the City and Temple presented a symbolic Key to Fountain City the Knoxville Mayor in these words:

“Mr. Mayor, I hereby present this symbolic Key to the hearts and minds (and pocketbooks) of my fellow Citizens of Fountain City to your Honor, the Mayor, and to the established Government of the City of Knoxville, Knox County, State of Tennessee.” Temple is now the last surviving member of that original negotiating committee. It was a pleasure and an honor to see and hear him as a part of the 2012 reenactment of the Funeral which was the centerpiece event at Fountain City Day, this past May.

Robert H. Temple and Helen Boring Temple were married in Fountain City Methodist Church on Dec. 23, 1949. They are parents of three children. Linda Temple Wise is a volunteer music teacher, active as a volunteer vocalist for retirement communities and mother of two children. The second daughter, Ginger Temple Baxter, was State Gymnastics Champion and college All-American and had her own gymnastics training program for several years. She and her husband, Bill Baxter, have four children. Robert “Rob” Temple Jr. is vice-president of People’s Bank of Clinton and has two children. The eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren make frequent family gatherings a time of great fun.

Bob has had a lifelong interest in athletics and physical fitness.

He served as a baseball and basketball coach in the Fountain City Recreation program. He has water skied for over 60 years and did so on his 84th birthday. In spite of several knee surgeries, he still plays tennis three times weekly. He was the Tennessee State Seniors Champion in 1998 and continues to compete.

In September 1992, when its 8,600 foot addition was completed, the Bob Temple North Side Family YMCA was dedicated in honor of the man who gave the land on which the original offices and swimming pooi were built. Temple later funded the handball courts, the indoor tennis courts and the child-care center. He provided initial funding for the gymnasium with a full-size basketball court, a weight room and activity room. He has also promoted and supported the Y’s “Strong Kids” scholarship program which awards free or reduced-cost memberships and services valued at more than $50,000 annually.

He has served his church, Fountain City United Methodist, in many ways and received a plaque in 1973 when he built their church parsonage on Brabson Drive. He has served as a leader in the Methodist Youth Fellowship, taught in the Sunday School and currently leads singing for the Christian Fellowship Sunday School Class and sang baritone in the choir. A charter member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he was named Fountain City Man of the Year in 1985.

Service on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity resulted after Temple worked with a team from Fountain City Presbyterian Church on his first Habitat house. He has financed seven homes and has also participated in overseas missions in Haiti, Dominique and other South American countries. In adopting a cause dear to their hearts, the Temples have recently donated sufficient funds to provide cleft palate surgery for 100 children in South America through “Smile Train.”

Bob has traveled internationally on several occasions, including Mexico City for the 1968 Olympics, Australia, China and Russia.

This well-rounded gentleman has given so much to our community over the decades. Central High School Foundation and the CHS Alumni Association are honored that he has agreed to be inducted into the Central ‘Wall of Fame.”


Barry Norman Litton, Class of 1969

Central High School alumnus Barry Litton has continued a family tradition of careers related to food, and we are both better fed and a more vibrant community because of his talents. He is honored today for his civic support as well as his business accomplishments.

His grandfather Eldridge Litton (1899-1975), a native of Scott County, operated grocery stores in Oak Ridge and Lake City then moved to Knox County in 1946. He established Litton’s Supermarket on Central Avenue Pike in Inskip and brought his son Edwin B. Litton (1922-1980) into the business in 1953. When a deli counter was added in 1962, the very first Litton Burger was served, costing 89 cents. Edwin Litton continued to operate the business until his retirement in 1976. He was elected to the Knox County school board in 1970 and served as its chairman for five years before he resigned when he was asked to serve as administrative assistant to county finance commissioner William Tallent. He also served as president of the Norwood Kiwanis club and as a trustee of the Baptist Hospital board of directors. The third generation of Littons in the food industry, Barry N. Litton, added yet another dimension in 1983 when he founded the full-service restaurant that became North Knoxville’s most successful eatery.

Barry Norman Litton was born to Edwin and Betty Rose Litton on June 6, 1951. He attended Fountain City Elementary School and the Tennessee Military Institute and graduated from Central High School in 1969. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps that same year and completed basic training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He served at El Toro Air Base until deployed to Viet Nam in 1971 where he served in I Corp (Force Logistics Command). He had grown up helping around the store, and when he was discharged from the Marine Corps, Barry returned home to join his father in the grocery business for the next seven years. In January 1980 he recognized an opportunity to open a meat market in Fountain City and found a suitable building on Essary Drive. He stocked the best of Western beef, serving as his own specialty butcher.

About a year later one of his customers asked if he would prepare him a hamburger. There was an electric skillet on site and Barry did just that. The customer returned the next day for another and the “Litton 10 Burger” was born, originally with 8 ounces of beef, bacon, cheese and French fries, selling for $1.99. The secret is in the beef ground on site from Colorado sirloin tip and/or chuck roast seasoned during the grinding with a secret blend of spices but without salt, which tends to dry the meat. Sometime later the electric skillet was retired and replaced with a gas grill which allows the fat to drip onto the embers to enhance that special charcoal taste. The bun is baked on the premise and Litton insists on fresh toppings and garnish.

Kelly Litton, Barry’s sister, presides over the kitchen, where the Litton’s menu has evolved to include daily Blue Plate lunch specials with various meats and fresh vegetables (beans, greens and potatoes) prepared on site and seasoned for East Tennessee tastes. The evening menu includes filet, T-bone and Kansas City strip steaks and chicken and fresh seafood (scrod, shrimp, oysters and scallops) flown in twice a week from Boston. And, of course, the baked potatoes and peel-on French fries have that special Litton touch.

Demonstrating the expertise of the long-time bakery and dessert chef, Lynda Jones, Litton’s dessert menu is, as they say, “to die for.” The menu includes the Baby Jane (a special strawberry shortcake), cheesecake, coconut and lemon ice box pie, German chocolate cake, bread pudding and several kinds of cookies. A Litton’s Red-Velvet Cake for Christmas has become a local tradition with a brisk business (both carry-out and shipping) around the holidays.

Litton’s Market and Restaurant has been recognized several times by Southern Living magazine and has placed first in the Best of East Tennessee polls for many years. The New York Times recommended the Litton’s eatery in a travel column describing how to spend “36 hours in Knoxville.” Litton’s continues to be one of East Tennessee’s most popular restaurants. Still, Sundays and holidays are reserved for family time and Litton has continued the tradition of closing the restaurant to allow time for church and family.

Barry Litton was chosen Fountain City Town Hall’s Fountain City Man of the Year in 2009. Goodwill Industries recognized him as Employer of the Year in April 1998 for supporting employees with disabilities for more than three decades. Quietly and without fanfare, Barry N. Litton has supported sports, recreation and civic causes in Fountain City, beginning with his arrival and continuing to the present. The Lions Club, the Fountain City Recreation Commission, Fountain City Park and Lake, our elementary, middle and high schools and many citizens old and young have been the beneficiaries of his counsel, kindness and assistance since he first established his business.

In the family tradition, Barry’s three children, Erik, Ashley and Elizabeth, have periodically worked at Litton’s over the years. Brik, a fourth generation restaurateur, has joined his father in the business. Barry and his wife, Jacquie, are residents of the Gibbs Community.

It is with great pleasure that Central High School Foundation and the CHS Alumni Association will induct Barry N. Litton into the “Wall of Fame”.



Byron Booker, 2012 TN Teacher of the Year

It has been a busy year for Tennessee “Teacher of the Year,” Byron Booker. Last October, the announcement came that the Central High School teacher was tops in the state. Mr. Booker has spent eight years in education teaching English as a second language principally at Knox Central High School. He was selected as “Teacher of the Year” not only for his excellence inside the classroom, but for his compassion and hard work in his community. One of his supervisors called him “a dynamo of advocacy for his international students.” He has been an integral part of Central High School’s push to increase graduation rates, resulting in an increase in the graduation rate among English language learners from 50% in 2008 to 82% in 2012 and an increased the number of English language learners pursuing post-secondary education from 50% in 2008 to 88% in 2012. His principal describes him as a Molder of Dreams.” He has students from over sixteen countries and has developed quality relationships with each student and family. “He approaches his students needs with a ‘failure is not an option’ attitude and the results are astounding.’ He installed a Court of 22 flags at CHS to represent the diversity of the student body.

This school year he is serving as an Assistant Principal in Residence at Central, and has a host of new challenges including serving as Co-Chair of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation Review, conducting a four day professional development conference for 1,000 English as a Second Language professionals and appearances as a panelist or presenter at conferences and in-service training sessions. He is one of the 2012 Fellows at the Center for Educational Leadership, a partnership between the University of Tennessee and school districts focusing on professional development of educational leaders. He has worked hard to collaborate with fellow educators to ensure success for all students.

A partial list of his activities outside of the classroom include leading weekly and monthly huddle sessions for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, leading Central’s “Rachel’s Challenge” program, participating as a soloist, sanctuary choir member at First Baptist Church, Knoxville, and volunteering with Bridge Refugee Services and the Buddy’s Race Against Cancer.

A Knoxville native, Mr. Booker spent most of his formative years in Johnson City, where he graduated from East Tennessee State University’s High School. He is a second-career educator and has taught internationally in Russia, China, and Japan. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and completed his Masters degree in education at Carson-Newman College. He maintains a connection to Carson-Newman as an Adjunct Professor for Graduate Studies in Education, lecturing on topics such as methodologies and assessment for teaching English as a second language.

Mr. Booker is married to the former Karisa Engle, herself an alumnus of Central High School. Byron and Karisa are parents of three dogs, a beagle named Eighty-Ope and two corgis named Lucy and Griffin. They also have two nieces, Meredith and Mary Beth Mincey, both students in a Knox County School. Mr. Booker and his wife Karisa enjoy attending Carson- Newman football games and Lady Vols basketball games.

Central High School Foundation and the CHS Alumni Association are delighted to have this opportunity to say thank you to Byron Booker for his hard work and his dedication to upholding the high academic standards which are part of the “Pride and Tradition of Central High School.