RIP: Amanda Lee Owenby (1983-2007)

Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Class of 2002, open your yearbooks. On page 25, you’ll find a picture of Amanda Lee Owenby. She is, I believe, the first casualty of our graduating class.

RIP: Amanda Lee Owenby
February 8, 1983 – April 20, 2007

According to

“Amanda Lee Owenby, age 24 and infant son Jeffrey Leon Owenby Avila of Gatlinburg, passed away unexpectedly Friday April 20, 2007. Her grandparents Leon and Georgia Owenby, and cousin Jeffrey Owenby preceded her in death.

She is survived by her mother and step-father, Peggy Sue and Garry Hummer, fiancé and father of her infant son Raul Avla-Requena, aunts and uncles, Tom and Dawn Brackins, Dave and Mary “Sissy” Owenby, Carol and Mitch Manning, Steve and Becky Owenby, Bill and Kelly Owenby, cousins, Mike and Tiffany, Chris and April, John, Andrew, Mark and Sheri and Kendra Owenby, Jason and Karen, Chad and Ryan Brackins, Misty and Brad Adams, Justin and Dawn Baker, Brandi and Buck Rudicel, several great nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

Pallbearers will be, Mike, Chris, John, Andrew, and Mark Owenby, and Chad Brackins.

Everyone who knew and loved her will miss Amanda.

Family and friends will meet 11AM Tuesday at Huskey Grove Cemetery for graveside service and interment. The family will receive friends from 6-8PM Monday at Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville.”



To be more precise, Amanda was eight months pregnant, her heart stopped beating, and she and her unborn son died. Regretably, word of this news travelled slowly, and as a result, most of us missed her funeral service and burial. I would have attended too, because she was a very nice lady. We rode the bus together for several years, and I can still recall her baritone voice. She will be missed.

– Joshua Andrew Coburn


RIP: Roland File (1988-2007)

Carson-Newman student killed in rollover on Asheville Hwy. | February 23, 2007
By Erica Estep

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — The 19-year-old driver of an SUV was killed in a rollover involving five Carson-Newman students on Asheville Highway early Friday morning. His four passengers were not injured.

Police say alcohol contributed to the crash that killed Roland File, 19, of Gatlinburg. He was driving a 2005 Isuzu Axiom. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected during the crash.

Investigators say the SUV rolled over at least twice and came to rest in the parking lot of the Oak Grove Night Club.

File, a freshman soccer player at Carson-Newman, was known to his friends as “Roly.” He just turned 19 Wednesday.

His parents were out of town on vacation when the crash happened. Roland’s father is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies General Manager Steve File.

File’s four passengers were wearing seat belts. They are: Joseph Johns, 19, Rodrigo Oliveiro, 20, Guseppe Schwartz, 21, and Jakop Storhaug, 21.

Three of the men were File’s soccer team mates.

File’s Soccer Coach Allen Vital says, “His family was out of town, so right away I was thinking about them. They’ve been so supportive. I know they love him so much.”

“He was always hard working, always giving 110 percent of himself. He did not say much. All the guys absolutely loved him,” remembers Coach Vital.

“You hear someone you were close to, let alone a teammate, but a friend that’s been in an accident like that you can’t really imagine what to say or what to do,” says teammate Jussi Wooler. “I think the first thing that goes through your head is his family. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through.”

“We love them and we are here for them,” adds Vital. “Having children of my own, I can not comprehend receiving that news. I don’t know how you deal with that.”

Police responded to the crash a little after 3:00 a.m. Friday on Asheville Highway just east of Gov. John Sevier Highway. The Axiom was the only vehicle involved.

Investigators are working to determine how the men obtained alcohol since three were underage.

Carson-Newman College held a prayer service Friday. Students are also getting grief counseling.

Abigail Kirkpatrick last saw Roly at dinner Thursday night. A day later she’s attending a prayer service for her friend. “Everyone who knew him needs somewhere to be”, she says. “Needs to get close to God at this time. We need to pray and we need to be with each other and be able to be sad together and love on each other.”


Carson-Newman student killed in Asheville Highway wreck | February 23, 2007
By Katie Allison Granju

A student at Carson-Newman was killed in a car wreck on Asheville Highway early Friday morning.

Authorities say the single-car accident happened at around 3:15 a.m., just east of John Sevier Highway. The 2002 Isuzu Axiom rolled over and came to rest in the parking lot of the Oak Grove Lounge.

Killed in the wreck was Roland File, age 19, who was driving the car.

Three passengers surivived the wreck without injuries. All were wearing seatbelts.

Police believe alcohol played a role in the wreck.


Teenager Killed in Rollover Crash | February 23, 2007

Knoxville (WVLT) – Authorities say they believe alcohol played a factor in an early morning crash that claimed the life of an East Tennessee teen.

Knoxville Police say just after three this morning, a car ran off Asheville Highway just east of John Sevier Highway.

The vehicle rolled and came to rest in the parking lot of the Oak Grove night club.

Officers say the 19-year-old driver, Roland File, was thrown from the vehicle and died of his injuries.

Four passengers in the car, who were wearing their seat belts, were not hurt.



I met Rollie about five years ago when I worked across the street from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies at the Rhythm Section. He had a gift certificate, which in and of itself was a rare occurrence, but it was his name which really caught my attention. Obviously, his actual name was Roland, but he signed it (legibly) as “Rollie,” and that was what everyone called him. He had an unusual name. It is an oddly poetic coincidence that his nickname describes precisely how he died.

Don’t read me wrong. What happened is a tragedy. Let no fool tell you otherwise. But, as a wise man once said…

When you endanger the lives of everyone on the highway by driving under the influence of illegally obtained substances while not wearing your seatbelt, expect protection and safety from neither God nor mere mortals.

Whatever actually happened last night, Rollie is gone. No degree of bogus “closure” or “healing” will change that. Prayer cannot reverse death.

Bottom line: If you get inside a 2,000+ lb. box of metal with wheels with the intention of driving it around, you’d better be in control.

-Joshua Coburn

Recall: Remember the Questron Books and Answer Wand?

You never really forget anything. It’s all still in your memory. Recall can be difficult as we age because we set aside things we deem irrelevant to survival, and those pathways to memories seem lost. But then we remember. Sometimes it’s unprompted, or perhaps we’ve been trying to remember for a very long time, but usually the information is still there whenever we want it.

Sometimes it happens to me, and this time, I remembered the name of something that I played with as a child long ago.

Do you remember the Questron books and answer wand?

How about now? No? Look closer this time…

I bet you remember now! Released by Child’s Play Ltd. in 1987, the Questron Answer Wand was an interactive learning aid which was accompanied by a series of books. It was voted “Toy of the Year, 1987” by What Toy Magazine. The wand had a microchip which sensed correct and incorrect answers when used with linked books. A green flashing light and cheerful beep confirmed a correct answer. Questron had a U.S. patent, though, and a description can be found at

These are impossible to find now, and I admit that my own has long been lost due to moving from Ohio to Tennessee when I was nine years old, but I don’t understand why there’s no market for such things today. Why is it that simple products available in my childhood are no longer available?

– Ditch X