Friday, July 6, 2018

State Rep. Ron Lollar Dies Unexpectedly

Apparent heart attack claims ex-Marine and long-term legislator, who worked easily across partisan lines and also served on School Board.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 9:41 AM



The Flyer has learned that Ron Lollar, a fixture for several terms in the
click to enlarge Ron Lollar
  • Ron Lollar
Tennessee House of Representatives, died at home early Friday morning, from an apparent heart attack. He was 69, a month short of his 70th birthday.

At the time of his death, Lollar, who had won renomination in May, was running for reelection to his District 99 seat (Bartlett). Informed of Lollar's death, David Cambron, his Democratic opponent, expressed shock and issued this statement: "Like everyone in Tennessee, I was saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Representative Ron Lollar. He worked tirelessly for the citizens in District 99 and Shelby County. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. I am pausing my campaign activities for the time being out of respect for his service."

Presumably, the Shelby County Republican Party will have the opportunity to name a replacement candidate for the forthcoming November election.

Though he was a dedicated Republican, Lollar was an open-minded legislator who was respected and well-liked on both sides of the partisan line. A booster of public education, he served several terms on the old Shelby County Board of Education prior to his election to the House in 2006 and was a member of the Tennessee School Board Association's Boars of Directors.

Lollar was born on August 13, 1948 in Jackson, Tennessee, and was a graduate of Jackson State Community College, where he was president of the student body association. He would later graduate from Austin Peay State University, where he was president of the student government association.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967 to 1971, with combat service in Vietnam, and served also in the Army National Guard from 1980 until 1982. He was the recipient of the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Navy Commendation Medal w/ "V" device, a Combat Action Ribbon with a Navy Unit citation, a Good Conduct Medal, a Meritorious Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Service Medal, and a Vietnamese Campaign Medal. Lollar also served as a White House gGuard.

In the House, Lollar served on the House Agriculture Committee, the House Education Committee, the House Higher Education Subcommittee, and the House Special Iniatives Subcommittee. For three terms, he represented the Second District on the Shelby County School Board. He served also as president of Future Farmers of America, as a Baptist deacon, as a Mason, and as a member of Gideons International.

David Pickler, former longtime chairman of the Shelby County Schools board, served for many years with Lollar on the board and called him "my best friend, a happy warrior, the kind you'd always want to share a foxhole with." State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, a fellow Republican who shared part of his jurisdiction with Lollar and worked often with him in bicameral ways, paid tribute to his good heart as well as to his toughness and said he was "a Marine to the end."

State House Speaker Beth Harwell commented, “I am heartbroken to hear of Ron’s passing. He was an important voice in the Tennessee General Assembly, and a leader in Bartlett and Shelby County. He served this country with distinction in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he served this state with his tireless advocacy for Tennessee students and agricultural issues. He was not only my colleague, but a dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”.

State Representative Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, Democratic Leader in the state House, said, "For more than 10 years I served with Ron Lollar in the House of Representatives and found him to be a man of strong convictions and a heartfelt desire to serve his community. Ron was a decorated Marine Corps veteran, who I worked with in the Veterans Caucus and where I saw his commitment to Veterans issues. He also served on the Shelby County School Board and his passion for education was front and center during the legislation we passed earlier this year involving the TN Ready testing failures. He was one of the most vocal Representatives and voices for the teachers during that time. I will miss my friend and offer my sincere condolences to his family."

Said Democratic state Representative Antonio Parkinson of Memphis: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague State Representative Ron Lollar. He was a fellow Marine, fighter for teachers, and an independent thinker regardless of party lines. He will be missed. Our prayers go out to the Lollar family."

Lollar leaves his wife Brenda and three children. Visitation will be on Tuesday, July 10, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church on Germantown Road in Bartlett. Funeral services will be at Faith on 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 11.

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