J.T. Acuff was inducted into the Educator’s Hall of Fame by LM
ACUFF INDUCTED INTO LMU’S EDUCATOR’S HALL OF FAME
October 22, 2010 - Harrogate, Tennessee – J.T. Acuff of Bean Station, Tenn., was recently inducted into the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Educator’s Hall of Fame, posthumously. Acuff was inducted into the Hall of Fame by LMU President B. James Dawson at a ceremony held during LMU’s annual Homecoming last weekend. Acuff’s family was in attendance with his son Terry Acuff accepting on his behalf.
Acuff was born in 1921 to Lester and Myrtle Acuff of Washburn, Tenn. He graduated Washburn High School at age 16 and entered LMU that same year, graduating in 1942. Acuff never shied away from hard work and while he was at LMU, he paid his tuition by working in the kitchen during the winter and on the farm over the summer. While playing catcher on the LMU baseball team, other members nicknamed him “Little Roy” for Roy Acuff.
Acuff served in World War II and had a distinguished military career that spanned four years from 1942-46. While in the service, he earned the rank of sergeant and served stateside for approximately two years and served overseas for a year.
Some of his accomplishments in the military included serving in the 496th bomb squadron and 344th bomber group; working as an airplane mechanic and gunner and gunner instructor; and serving in battles and campaigns across Europe in France, Belgium and Germany, as well as Ardennes and Rhineland. He was awarded the American Theatre Ribbon and three Bronze Service Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal and a Distinguished Unit Badge. He served in the U.S. Air Force for three years after active duty.
Acuff took what he learned from the military and went on to succeed both in academics and working in the school system. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He began his career as a teacher at Washburn High School where he later became principal. He served as Superintendent of Grainger County Schools at various times from 1956 through 1980 for a total of 20 years. He also served as Director of Federal Programs during that time.
Acuff married Rema Jackson and had three children: Bernard, Terry, and Jamie.
While working as Superintendent, Acuff established many first-time programs for his school system in the areas of special education, federal projects, the expansion of vocational education programs and their consolidation into a vocational school.
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