Terry Jay Oliver, 1941-2020


GLEASON - Terry Jay Oliver, 79, died Saturday, July 4, 2020. After a great day spent with dear friends riding on the golf cart, Terry peacefully went to sleep and joyfully woke up in Heaven.

On May 13, 1941, God created a farmer. Terry was born at his grandfather’s house in Gleason, Tenn. His parents, T.J. and Louise Oliver, raised him on their farm in the Ore Springs community with his three brothers and one sister. It was there that his love for agriculture began. Life on the farm taught him and his siblings to have a strong work ethic and deep love for family. Terry attended Dresden High School, where he fell in love with the game of basketball and enjoyed being an active member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). After graduation, he was a student-athlete at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM). He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.

Terry graciously served his community throughout his professional career in real estate and politics, emphasizing his love for all things Tennessee and agriculture. He was a public servant of our state government for over 20 years. In 2010, Terry was honored to become the 35th Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Tennessee. It was a position he loved and took great pride in holding. Most of all, Terry was a proud sixth-generation farmer and strong family man.

After his retirement, he continued to support and encourage many members in his community as they began their political and agricultural careers. His strong, yet humble presence was why many found themselves looking to him for guidance and advice through the years.

Family members celebrated the life of Terry on Tuesday, July 7th at the First Baptist Church in Dresden, Tenn.. They received friends from 12:30-2:30 p.m. and the service began at 2:30 p.m. A private burial followed.

Terry is survived by his loving wife, Marsha Walker Oliver, originally from Martin, Tenn. and his daughters, Angie (Rusty) Morris of Gleason and Melissa Overton of Dresden. His proudest accomplishment was being called “Poppa” by his three grandchildren, Katelyn and Rance Morris and Lakin Overton. He is also survived by two brothers, David (Beverly) Oliver and Johnny (Kitty) Oliver of Gleason, sister Sandra Ray of Tupelo, MS, and two sisters-in-law, Beth Oliver of Gleason, and Kitty Walker of Palmyra, VA. “Uncle Terry” also has 9 nephews, 4 nieces, 8 great-nephews, and 11 great-nieces, whom he treated and loved like his own. He is preceded in death by his parents T.J. & Louise Oliver, brother Paul Oliver, and special in-laws Larry Ray, Donald Walker, and Patsy Oliver. His great care for family and friends is what made him such a gentle giant. His tireless love, guidance, and support were evident every single day of his life.