Memorial services announced for former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist

Memorial services announced for former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist

Former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist will lie in state at the state Capitol next week, with memorial services scheduled to take place in Memphis and Nashville, beginning Thursday, Aug. 31.

Sundquist, a former congressman and two-term Republican governor, died on Sunday morning surrounded by family at Baptist East Memorial Hospital in Memphis following surgery and a short illness. He was 87.

Sundquist led Tennessee during a time of dramatic changes to its social safety net and a fight over a state income tax.  His “Families First” welfare reform package in 1996 sought to save taxpayer money while improving care for needy children, and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services was created during his administration. He also spearheaded an unsuccessful tax reform effort aimed at raising more revenue for the state. 

On Thursday, Aug. 31, a “Celebration of Life” service will be held at Christ Church Memphis, at 4488 Poplar Ave. A short visitation will start at 10 a.m. and will be followed with the service at 11 a.m.

At Sundquist’s request, the service will be led by longtime family friend James Latimer, the senior pastor of Redeemer Evangelical Church in Germantown. Kellye Cash-Sheppard, the 1987 Miss America, and Maxine Dunnam, the minister-at-large for Christ Church, will also participate in the service.

Next week, Sundquist will lie in state in the Rotunda of the Tennessee Capitol on Tuesday, Sept 5, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The people of Tennessee are invited to pay their respects. 

A funeral service will take place also on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran Evangelical Church, at 113 Eighth Ave. South in Nashville. The public is invited to participate, but the funeral will be closed to the media.  

Sundquist will be interred in Townsend, Tennessee, where he and his wife lived for several years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne.

Micaela Watts of The Commercial Appeal contributed.