Joe Allen Covington

Born on October 9, 1934

Departed on January 22, 2015 and resided in Hendersonville, TN

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Joe Allen Covington, January 22, 2015, age 80 of Hendersonville.  Preceded in death by wife, Celia Covington, and son, Scott Allen Covington.  Survived by his children, Vicki (Mark) Payne, Jon (Cheryl) Covington; special friend, Sherryl Midgett; grandchildren, Jason Payne, Samantha Payne, Alex Covington, Taryn Covington, Megan Covington; great-grandchildren, Sophie and Alonna; brother, Larry Covington.


Joe was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, near White House on October 9, 1934.  He graduated from East Robertson High School, attended UT Martin, earned his B.S. from Tennessee Tech University in 1958, and his Master’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1966.


Joe began his career with the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment in 1958 working as the environmentalist for Stewart and Houston Counties.  He moved to the Central Office in Nashville in 1962.  He served as Assistant Director of the Food and General Sanitation Division from 1973-1983, Director of the Surface Mining Division from 1983-1985, and Director of the Food and General Sanitation Division from 1985 until his retirement in 1991.  Joe earned the Lynn B. Hearn Environmentalist of the Year Award in 1984.  He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Public Health Association in 1976.  Joe received a Special Appreciation Award from Governor Lamar Alexander in 1982 for his  work with the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville to assure environmental health and food safety during the event.  He was a Registered Professional Environmentalist and served on the RPE Board in 1981.  Joe was inducted as an inaugural member into the Tennessee Environmental Hall of Fame in 2009.


For the last 29 years of his life, Joe was active in A.A., known to many as “449 Joe”.  He assisted thousands in the Twelve Step Recovery Community by purchasing and distributing recovery literature;  providing advice and assistance to recovering alcoholics and addicts; and providing recovery meetings to patients at the Tennessee Christian Medical Center.  In 2008, the Alcohol and Drug Council of Middle Tennessee presented him with the John Mulloy Community Service Award.  No matter how far down an alcoholic or addict had gone, Joe saw the face of God reflected in each of their faces and reached out to help them.


Joe loved spending time  with his Hardee’s breakfast group and his buddies at Bowling’s Automotive, traveling with his Health Department Retirees Group, and “hanging out” with family and friends at Barely Do Farms.


His ever-present overalls, his “Old Joe Here” telephone greeting, and his wonderful smile will be missed by all of us.


A gathering of family and friends will be held Saturday, February 7th from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Cole & Garrett Funeral Home in White House.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Joe’s name to Alive Hospice or to the charitable organization of your choice.

16 Comments to Joe Allen Covington

  1. Charles Wood
    January 24, 2015 9:18 am

    Joe was my supervisor for almost 30 years, good friend and associate. We had a great work experience together. He always displayed confidence in my ability to perform assigned task. I will always treasure the many conversations and good laughs (MSOs) we had. I have lost a great friend and I will miss him.

  2. Marlene Reedy
    January 24, 2015 11:12 am

    Ever person Joe met felt loved and special and Joe was loved and special to each of us. Joe has left a unique legacy for us to carry on.

  3. Kevin Lathrope
    January 24, 2015 3:40 pm

    “Ole Joe”, or “449 Joe” as he was well known will be dearly missed by his many friends. You would be seen with a smile on his face, a load of guys in his van,his trademark bibed overalls, and always kind and positive words!
    My friend, you are already missed!

  4. David Plaskett
    January 27, 2015 2:02 pm

    I met “Ole Joe” several years ago at Hardys in Old Hickory, Tn, where we sat around drinking coffee, talking, and solving the world problems. Joe was considered “Chairman” of our group of six or seven. Joe and I both came from rural farm backgrounds and we both worked for governments, He State and I the Federal,so we soon became good friends. When Joe was not at Hardys and the weather was good , he was always on the road going somewhere new with his retirement group or a friend. I know he is seeing new places today. ” Happy Traveling Ole Joe”. I will miss you.

  5. Mary Ann Ehrhardt
    January 28, 2015 11:51 am

    I did not know for a long time my Joe was our “449 Joe”. I knew him as the guy in bib overalls who handed me the District 34 Corrections manual in 1996 and informed me he had done it for years and it was someone else’s turn. Guess what? You are now the Corrections Chair. He was a loving and gentle man. He is already missed. I will be in Atlanta for a service commitment on February 7th but will be there in spirit. I know he will be chairing the meeting in heaven and solving all the problems of the world. Thank you for sharing him with us!

  6. Tyler bell
    January 28, 2015 12:53 pm

    449 joe has impacted my life significantly. When I came around the rooms of AA a year ago joe was there and welcomed me with open arms. He was always smiling and always positive. The memories and photos I have with joe will be with me forever. A great man left us but his spirit will continue to touch many. Love joe like a father.

  7. Herb Crommett
    January 28, 2015 1:37 pm

    Joe was at the meeting the Wednesday I came thru the door in Lakewood. I remember he said that I drank the way he did, so I figured if he could get sober, there was a chance I could too. Joe has been a great mentor for me and hundreds of others thru his meetings at TN Christian and where ever he was over the years. I’m sure he will be at a meeting tonight and will be helping the new-comers to find a better way of life. He sure helped me. THANKS JOE.

  8. Monica Harley
    January 28, 2015 9:10 pm

    Joe had such a beautiful spirit. Never an unkind word to say about anyone. With Joe, the glass was always half full. So glad my family and i got to spend one more Hayride with ole “449”!

    • Norma Branch
      January 29, 2015 8:59 pm

      I met Joe when I was in treatment at Tn. Christian almost 25 yrs. ago. He brought a meeting there every week. I remembered his eyes actually sparkeled. He had on overalls and fish hooks all over his hat. He exuded happiness. He was the attraction of the program and I wanted that . He had the biggest smile. I asked him to be my sponsor. He said he couldn’t do that and I’d have to get a female sponsor and I was heartbroken, but I got to see and learn and enjoy him for many years. What a sponsor, what a gift!

  9. Verl & Shirley Day
    February 1, 2015 3:09 pm

    Ole Joe (449 Joe) you were loved by so many! You will be missed! Your
    friendship will be cherished by many of us! When I did something right (which
    was sometimes??) Joe would say,”You did good BL!” I say to you Joe, “You
    did good my friend, so very good!!!” Love and prayers to all his family and

  10. Lisa Covington Hobbs
    February 2, 2015 9:10 pm

    Proud to say Joe was my father-in-law twice. I love him and his family very much, and he will be missed by all.

  11. Evelyn Payne Tucker
    February 3, 2015 6:45 am

    joe and I shared a great daughter/daughter in law ,Vicki Payne . He was a good man. We were closer because we both

    Lost a son. Scott Covington and Kim Payne .

    Will miss him very much.

  12. Sherri Gray
    February 3, 2015 3:54 pm

    Joe Covington was the Big Brother I always wanted. He was at the very first meeting i went to when i moved to Madison, and we were in the same home group, 12&12, for decades. Joe exuded serenity — merely being in his presence could always calm me down, no matter what was going on in this crazy world. He was simply one of those “easy-to-be-around” souls…always encouraging others, and performing random acts of kindness every day of his life. Every one of us who knew this man is blessed because he touched our lives with his wit and wisdom. I miss you, Joe, but you’ll always be in my heartspace.

  13. Janey and Tom Tiesler
    February 4, 2015 11:51 am

    I have had to stop and collect my thoughts, there is not possibly enough space to write and express all the memories I have of this great man. I have to also share my own comments, as Tom has also his own thoughts and friendship over all these past years with Joe. I first met Joe the day I was first interviewed with the State of Tennessee, he was one of a two man interviewing team. If I was nervous Joe immediately put me to ease, his support and friendship started growing that day. Looking back I dealt with, as many of you have, successes, failure, divorce, cancer, and death of love ones…..never in any of those situations did Joe turn his back on me. He held me up, gave me the encourage to move forward and yes to celebrate my successes. Unique, yes indeed! He leaves a void in this earthly life, but beautiful and wonderful memories in our heart.

  14. Betty Bailey
    February 6, 2015 11:57 pm

    I am so happy to have known Joe. He had such a kind spirt. That great big smile of his would light up any room.
    I enjoyed being in Joes presence at 12&12. Thanks to all of you for sharing your wonderful memories of Joe, he was loved by so many and he will be missed by so many. And now heaven can enjoy his smile!

    To his family, “He is just away, in a land of light and peace, where warmth and love abound and worldly difficulties cease… He is just away, but his memory remains and the love he left within your heart will help to ease your pain.
    Gods Blessing.

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