Billie Jean Olaker, 89, formerly of Newport, TN, and Williamson, WV, died Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at Heritage Nursing Home in Morristown, TN, after a protracted and hard-fought battle with Alzheimer's.
Billie Jean was born the oldest child of Albin and Birdie (Hatfield) Smith in Freebern, KY, on August 3, 1931. After growing up in Matewan, WV, she went on to an important leadership role with Matewan Lumber Company at a time when women did not aspire to nor achieve that sort of work status. After 40 years, the lumber company closed, and Billie Jean went to work at Matewan National Bank, where she retired as a loan officer 12 years later.
After her retirement, Billie Jean, her husband Gene Raymond Olaker Sr., whom she married in 1966, and their son, Kenneth, moved to Tennessee to enjoy retirement in the mountains. In spite of Gene's illnesses and Billie's encroaching Alzheimer's, they enjoyed visiting with friends and family and attending shows in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge until Gene's death in 2012, at which time, Billie Jean went to live at Regency Retirement Village in Morristown. A few years later, declining health necessitated a move into a higher level of care, and she moved to Heritage.
Billie Jean is preceded in death by her parents and her husband. She is also preceded in death by her brother, Frank Smith, and his wife, Louise, of Orange Park, FL, her stepson, Gene Raymond Olaker Jr., and his wife, Merrilyn, of Georgia, her stepson-in-law, Dean Smith, of Georgia, and a number of uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Kenneth Albin and Tammie (Tucker) Olaker, of Dandridge, TN, stepdaughter, Lynn Olaker Smith, and stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Rick (Lisa) Olaker of Georgia. She is also survived by a vast group of other relatives and friends, all of whom will mourn her passing and celebrate her life.
Graveside services will be held Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, at 2 p.m. at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Dandridge TN, with the Rev. Mark Abernathy presiding. She will rest in peace beside her husband.
In this time of COVID, we ask that masking and social distancing protocols be observed.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Alzheimer's Lakeway Program & Services (ALPS), 600 N. Daisy St., Morristown, TN 37814.
The family also wants to express their love and gratitude to the staffs of Regency Retirement Village, Heritage Nursing Home, and Avalon Hospice. We truly appreciate all of you.
Farrar Funeral Home strongly encourages all CDC guidelines be followed, including the use of social distancing and facemasks.