Natalie Haslam accepting the honor of East Tennessean of the Year last week.
The East Tennessee Historical Society honored Natalie Haslam last week with its highest honor. She was named East Tennessean of the Year and feted during a sold-out banquet at Cherokee Country Club. She was surrounded by friends and family members packed snugly into the club’s ballroom. The crowd included her stepson, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
A native Knoxvillian, Natalie Haslam graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in 1952. She has been an active volunteer and philanthropist in Knoxville.
She was the first woman to be president of the Knoxville Symphony Society and has been president of the East Tennessee Foundation and the East Tennessee Historical Society.
She was a founding board member of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has served on the boards of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Child and Family Services, Zoo Knoxville, Maryville College, Webb School of Knoxville, Wellness Community and Junior League. A graduate of the Leadership Knoxville Class of ’86, she also has been president of The Knoxville Garden Club and the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander proposed a toast to Natalie.
She was chosen as the University of Tennessee Volunteer of the Year in 1992. In 1995, she was awarded the national Amy Angell Collier Montague Medal from The Garden Club of America for her continuous leadership and service to the causes of the arts, education, history, mental health, gardening and conservation in Knoxville and the state of Tennessee.
She was the recipient of the National Conference for Community and Justice Award in 1996. In 2003, she received the Governor’s Arts Award from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Knoxville Award from the Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service.
The University of Tennessee’s music school, the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, was named after her in recognition of the support she and her family have given to the school over many years. Natalie is married to James A. Haslam II, and they have six children, 18 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.
From left, Natalie’s daughters, Susan Robie and Jennie McCabe with Brittany Bailey, Gov. Bill Haslam and Whitfield Bailey during the reception prior to dinner.
From left, the Very Rev. John C. Ross, Lois Ross, Jim Haslam and Frank Gray.
Ann and Steve Bailey.
Annie and David Colquitt.
From left, Jim Haslam, Dick Williams, Anne Sprouse and Natalie Haslam.
Gov. Bill and Crissy Haslam, left, with Marsha and Duane Grieve.
From left, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and his wife, Crystal; Alan Carmichael and former UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.
Sid and Jo Blalock.
From left, Sis Mitchell, Sam Beall and Sarah Stowers.
Laura Dickerson, left, and Patricia Bible.
Matthew and Martha McClellan with Hugh Hyatt, at right.
Meg Davis, left, and Kreis Beall.
Robin and Randy Gibson.
I think Judith Foltz looks like a princess in this picture.
Aggie Bell, left, and Ilene Cheek.
Amber Parker, left, and Andrea Bailey Cox.
Haha. Alan and Dr. George Schweitzer, who was portraying a character named “Lawrence Leach,” an ancestor of Natalie Leach Haslam. “I’m not a Pilgrim,” he informed me. “I’m a Puritan!”
Jimmy Haslam, left, and Pete DeBusk mingling in the ballroom prior to dinner.
Jerome Melson is chair of the board of the East Tennessee Historical Society. He welcomed everyone and introduced the program.
The food was great, as it usually is at Cherokee Country Club, thanks to Chef David Pinckney.
Bill and Donna Cobble, close friends of the Haslams, told a few stories.
City Councilman Marshall Stair and his wife, Natalie.
Will and Hannah Haslam, seated, with Dee and Bill Haslam standing.
Rachel Ford, executive director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, left, and Alizza Punzalan-Randle, CEO of the YWCA of Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley.
Moxley Carmichael’s Shaun Fulco, right, with Tom and Marigail Mullin. She’s chief capital campaign officer of the YWCA.
Moxley Carmichael’s Lauren Miller, right, with Julia and Marty Gibbs. He’s the vice president and general manager of the Knoxville operations of The Christman Company.
Tim and Amy Williams.
As lovely parting gifts, everyone got glasses with Natalie’s name etched in them. Here’s Dorothy Stair with hers.
Joe and Sharon Miller Pryse.
We saw Cherel Henderson, executive director of the East Tennessee Historical Society, chatting with the Puritan as we left!
From left, Susan Robie, Natalie’s daughter; Jim and Natalie Haslam; Natalie’s daughter, Jennie McCabe; and granddaughter, also named Jennie McCabe. (Photo courtesy of Jack Williams.)