Butch Grooms touched a lot of lives in his 66 years.
From being an insurance agent with American General Life and Accident Insurance, to coaching girls’ softball and working on his beloved “Junebug,” Butch lived a full life before passing away on July 31, 2015 from Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, and liver cancer.
This year, family and friends will honor Butch by doing something Butch loved dearly, showing classic automobiles.
The Second Annual Butch Grooms Memorial Car Show and Birthday Bash will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the parking lot of Price Less Foods on East Andrew Johnson Highway in Morristown.
Butch was an insurance agent for many years and retired in 2014 from American General. He coached girls’ softball in parks and recreation, middle school in Jefferson County and also travel teams for many years. He was very active in the Hamblen County Car Club and Morristown Lions Club. He had been elected president of both organizations at the time of his passing.
Butch’s widow, Lisa, talked about “Junebug,” his pride and joy that is still driven on special occasions.
“It was a 1964 Chevrolet Bel Air that he had turned into an Impala,” Lisa Grooms said. “His first car was a 1964 Impala. When he got involved with the Hamblen County Car Club, he got to talking about wanting to find one to restore.”
The day Butch found a car to restore, he was very excited.
“I’ll never forget the day he got it,” Lisa said. “He was acting like a little kid who got a toy at Walmart. Here sat this god-awful ugly pea green car sitting in the driveway and he was grinning from ear to ear. He proceeded to tell me what he was going to do to this car. I thought he had lost his mind.”
When Butch began work on the car, Lisa said they became acquainted with FedEx and UPS because he discovered parts ordering on the Internet.
“Just about every day we were starting to get packages for the car,” Lisa said.
Like the Bel Air, Butch’s sister June was born in June, 1964. She passed away at age 42.
After her death, the car’s restoration took on a new purpose. Butch decided to name the car “Junebug” after his sister.
When it came to the colors for the car, he decided on blue and white for two reasons. “It’s meaningful because June’s favorite team was the Tennessee Titans and Butch coached softball for years for the Royals, whose colors were also blue and white.”
Disaster almost struck “Junebug” after he had it painted, Lisa recalled.
“He called me one Saturday and was practically in tears due to a fire under the hood,” Lisa said. “He was sitting on the side of the road near Walters State and he was waiting on the fire department. Luckily, there was only damage to the hood, so it was replaced. From that day forward, there is a fire extinguisher in the back of the car.”
The car became his pride and joy. A part of it was a reflection of himself.
Then in July, 2015, he got sick with cancer. He wanted the car to stay in the family, so he signed it over to Lisa.
Two weeks later, he passed away.
“Junebug was at the funeral and followed him to the cemetery,” Lisa said.
Entry fee for this year’s show is $20 for cars, trucks and motorcycles. Proceeds from the show will benefit renovation projects at Noe’s Chapel United Methodist Church, Butch and Lisa’s place of worship and where they were married by Rev. Dennis Loy.
According to Lisa, in visiting the church in the weeks before their marriage, both fell in love with everyone and the decision was made to continue to worship there and both later joined the church in baptism. Butch went on to assist with Bible studies, helping out with Vacation Bible School and cooking eggs for the annual Lord’s Acre Sale. He really enjoyed making the church’s signature peach butter and apple butter and would clear his calendar when those dates were set.
There will be two barbecue vendors, Second Hand Smoke BBQ and Big Daddy BBQ Concessions.
Registration will be held from 9 a.m. to noon with awards to be handed out at 2:30 p.m. Awards will be given for the Top 15, Price Less Employee’s Choice, Noe’s Chapel’s Choice, Best of Show Chevrolet, Best of Show Ford, Best of Show Mopar, Best Import, Best Rat Rod, Best of Show 1979-down, Best of Show 1980-up and Best Motorcycle.
For more information, call Lisa Grooms at 423-258-4367 or email Lgrooms8@gmail.com.