Hamblen County (WVLT) It is a very difficult day for everyone who knew and loved Willie Morgan.
That's especially true for Willie's two families.
One is made up of his children and their kids.
The other consisting of dear friends at the nearby market where he started everyday.
The smile that Willie Morgan shared with his family a couple of Christmas's ago, is the same smile that has been brightening lives in Hamblen County for 94 years.
Now the smile and the man behind it are gone forever.
Jay Morgan, his grandson says, "it's just hard to accept because I know that I have to drive by here everyday knowing that I ain't going to see him again."
Jay Morgan and his sister Beatrice Wilson had the privilege of calling Willie papaw.
With 12 kids of his own, Willie had dozens more grandchildren and great-grandkids.
Morgan continues, "when my daughter was born she never saw my dad, I would always take her to see Papaw. We fixed a Thanksgiving dinner and she said Dad, I want to go with you, I want to see Papaw."
Now that Papaw is gone, the family is having to use the strength that he gave them over the years.
Beatrice Wilson says, "he kind of instilled that in all of his children. To be strong survivors."
No story about Willie's life would be complete without Big A Market.
Linda Pollard , who works there says, "if Willie did not come here, we went looking for Willie to see if he was okay. This was his home and we were his family."
Willie could still drive his truck here.
He parked himself in his favorite booth for a bacon biscuit every morning and dinner later in the day.
There is still plenty of business, but it's far from business as usual at the Big A.
Tina Eldridge, who also works at the Big A Market says, "it don't seem real. I don't see how anybody could do that to Willie."
Just about everyone you run into in Hamblen County shares that reaction.
After a man who lived through so much died such a senseless death.
There are a lot of thoughts and prayers with this family tonight.
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