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Mary Frederica Harrill

October 21, 1939 — August 21, 2022


Mary Frederica Harrill


Mary Frederica Harrill departed this life after a short illness at the age of 82 on August 21, 2022, at Jefferson Park Nursing Home in Dandridge, Tennessee. Frederica or “Freddie” as she was more affectionally known was born in Madisonville,Tennessee, on October 21, 1939, to Fred J. Harrill and Elizabeth McSpadden Harrill. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in 1960 from Carson Newman University, Jefferson City, TN, in only three years with a major in biology, she was immediately hired by the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, TN, as a lab technician. She became their first student in the newly established cytology research program, a life-saving medical testing procedure. In a few short years she became the Supervisor of the Department of Cytology, serving the U.T. Medical Center for 38 years. She trained many students in the field of cytotechnology, who were hired by other medical departments around the United States. Her supervisor Dr. Francis Jones expressed her life’s work well in a 1998 retirement letter when he wrote, “Freddie, you are the person most responsible for the suppression of carcinoma of the cervix as a tormentor of the female in East Tennessee. Your absolute dedication, tireless efforts, and training of others was the key to cytology’s success in stamping out this dread disease. Long hours of work, lessons to prepare, slides to screen, and physicians to educate, required knowledge, diligence, and patience. My hat is off to you for the fine work you have done through the years.”

Her love of science, parents, three siblings, and seven nieces and nephews were her priorities in a life well lived. Yet she found time for a wide range of interests and hobbies. She snow skied on slopes in U.S. and the Alps, played Bridge, loved dominoes, and took painting lessons. She was a skilled seamstress, equestrian rider, avid reader, beach walker, shark tooth collector, basket weaver, gardener, and worldwide traveler on numerous group tours and cruises.

Upon retirement she moved from Knoxville, TN, to Dandridge, TN, to live near her sister, took up golf, and even spent three summers working in Yellowstone National Park. One of her most adventurous trips was a snowmobile trip in Yellowstone. She volunteered for several years at Dandridge Memorial Library, Dandridge Elementary School, and at the Dandridge Ministerial Association’s Thrift Store. As a faithful member of First Baptist of Dandridge, she loved her church family and served at least fifteen years as a Sunday School teacher, “Miss Petty”, to two-year olds in the Children’s Department. She also participated with two Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams to help restore homes after Hurricane Katrina.

Predeceased by her parents, Fred and Elizabeth Harrill, brother David Harrill, and step-mother Frances Wiggins Harrill. Survived by her brother Joe Mac Harrill (Donna), Morristown, TN, sister Ann Harrill Rogers (Gary), Dandridge, TN, sister-in-law Laura Harrill, Maryville, TN; nieces, Beth Anne Harrill (Greg), Decatur, GA, Becky Harrill Puckett, Corinth, TX, Joy Rogers Drinnon (Shannon), Jonesborough, TN; nephews, Brent Harrill (Michele), Sevierville, TN, Gary Harrill (Dawn), Robert, LA, Scott Rogers (Amy), Windsor, CO, Paul Harrill, Knoxville, TN;  step-siblings Mike, John, and Mary and their families; along with several great-nieces/nephews, and cousins on the Harrill and McSpadden sides. Also survived by her close friend Sadie Collins Rogers, Cumming, GA. It was these two former CNC roommates who played successful match-makers with Sadie’s brother-in-law Gary Rogers to Freddie’s sister Ann. Both women would enjoy traveling with the couple on many vacations. Sadie’s daughter Gina and two grandchildren claimed Freddie as their own fun-loving aunt. She will be missed and long remembered by her family and all those who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Mary Frederica Harrill Scholarship Fund at Carson Newman University, Attn: Endowment Department, 1646 Russell Avenue, Jefferson City, TN, 37760, or to the Preschool Ministry at First Baptist Church of Dandridge, P.O. Box 246, Dandridge, TN 37725.

Freddie’s family wish to extend gratitude to all the staff members for her care and well-being at Signature Lifestyles of Jefferson City, Jefferson Park of Dandridge, and with added support from the Amedisys Hospice. Prayers, encouraging words, and acts of kindness during her illness were most gratefully received and appreciated.

A private graveside service will be held for her cremains at Sunset Cemetery in Madisonville, Tennessee, at a future date. Farrar Funeral Home of Dandridge is entrusted with arrangements. Condolences may either be made online at the guestbook page or cards mailed to family at 376 Battlefield Dr., Dandridge, TN 37725.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Frederica Harrill, please visit our flower store.


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