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James G. Karnes

April 16, 1946 - January 5, 2018
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Karnes, James G. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Friday, January 5th, 2018. Jim was born April 16, 1946, in McMinnville, Tennessee, to Harry Cecil & Gladys Freeman Karnes. In 1948, his family moved to Loudon where he graduated from Loudon High School in 1964. He continued his education at Tennessee Tech University, where he served in student government as a Senator from the College of Engineering and President of the student body the following year. He graduated in 1969 with a degree in industrial engineering. As part of his studies, he worked for NASA in Huntsville, AL in 1965 and 1966. Following his graduation, he began his career with CFW Construction Company in Fayetteville, TN, continuing there until 1979. At that time, he and his family moved to Knoxville where he became involved in real estate development in Knoxville and in Newport, TN. From 2002 – 2007, he worked with Pennant Foods and was instrumental in determining the locations of several of the Wendy’s restaurants in East Tennessee & Southern California. In 2007, he established PTAC, Inc., a seller of new and refurbished heating and cooling units for the hotel, motel industry with offices in Knoxville and Las Vegas. He continued with this enterprise until his death. In addition to his work, Jim had a passion for his children and grandchildren. He coached his sons in basketball, baseball, and soccer for several years, and was an ardent supporter of Bearden Basketball and Soccer. Anyone who knew Jim was aware of his love of reading, especially history, genealogy, economics, and the sciences.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his college sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Heather Patterson Karnes; sons and daughters-in-law Jason and Beth Karnes of Wilmette, IL, Jared and Karen Karnes of Knoxville, and Jon and Caroline McKinney Karnes of Hallowell, ME; grandchildren Claire, Keller, Catherine, Graham, Julie, William, John, Wylie, & Emma; sisters and brothers-in-law Kay and Bill Wilcox of Dothan, AL, Sarah and Jim Thomason of Loudon, Bill Patterson of Cookeville, and Craig and Robyn Patterson of Knoxville; nieces and nephews Micah Wilcox of Layton, Utah, Courtney Craig of Dothan, AL, Lisa Schrader and Randall Thomason both of Murfreesboro, TN, Abby Patterson and Alex Patterson both of Knoxville.

There will be a private graveside service for the family. A “Celebration of Jim’s Life” will be held on Tuesday, January 9th at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Concord United Methodist Church. The family will visit with friends in the Worship Center following the service. Memorials may be made to the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech University or Concord United Methodist Church.

The family would like to express appreciation to their friends, neighbors, church family of Concord United Methodist Church, Dr. Keith Gray, Dr. Susan Newman, and volunteers and staff of UT Cancer Center.

Schedule of Services
  • Visitation
  • Date: January 9, 2018
    Time: following service
  • Service
  • Date: January 9, 2018
    Time: 2:00 PM