HARROGATE, Tenn. — Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) mourns the loss of James Lamar Hennon, an alumnus, former member of its Board of Trustees, business leader, donor and athletic booster. Hennon passed away at his home on Aug. 25.
Hennon, of Dalton, Georgia, attended Dalton Public Schools before furthering his education at Lincoln Memorial University, attending on a baseball scholarship. Hennon played catcher on Railsplitter teams that went on to win eight conference championships and participated in the first ever NAIA College World Series Tournament. He met and married his wife of 56 years, the former Carolyn Sue Cawood, while attending LMU.
“Lamar Hennon’s impact on LMU can be felt across campus, especially within our athletic department. From the field that bears his name to the athletic offices, Lamar never forgot his alma mater,” President B. James Dawson said. “Like so many of his classmates, the opportunities he received at LMU, shaped his future. However, through his faithful service on the Board of Trustees, Hennon also shaped the future of LMU.”
Following his graduation in 1959, Hennon returned to Whitfield County, Georgia, and pursued a career in teaching and coaching. After three years, he left education to enter the carpet industry. In 1971 he founded Carpets of Dalton, Inc. The flooring giant would go on to be the top retailer in its category in the country.
While his success in business grew, he gave generously to his high school and college alma maters. He was involved with the football and baseball programs at Dalton High School and joined the LMU Board of Trustees in 1971.
He was a member of the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame, inducted in 1984. Hennon was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by LMU. He was inducted into the LMU Professional Hall of Fame in 1995.
“Lamar was a baseball star while he attended LMU, and his Railsplitter pride remained with him,” said Chairman O.V. Autry “Pete” DeBusk. “Lamar gave back to the University often and never turned down an opportunity to help. He was a great friend to this University.”
Hennon was responsible for the major renovation of the Railsplitter baseball field in 1989. He also contributed significantly to the auxiliary gymnasium within Tex Turner Arena. The baseball field was named Lamar Hennon Field in his honor.
“Everyone associated with LMU and its baseball program grieves the passing of Lamar Hennon this morning. Mr. Hennon has not only meant a great deal to this university, but to me personally. I played for his son Rodney at Western Carolina University, and established a close relationship with Lamar,” LMU Baseball Coach Jeff Sziksai said. “At the time of my hire at LMU, Lamar was the head of the athletic board and was instrumental in bringing me in. I owe a great deal of my baseball career to Mr. Hennon and the entire Hennon family and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunities they have afforded me.”
Hennon is survived by his wife, Sue, son Jerry, daughter Susan Brown, son Rodney and many grandchildren. Funeral service will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Dalton First Baptist Church.