Cover photo for John German's Obituary
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1931 John 2021

John German

November 24, 1931 — November 2, 2021

John Edward “Doc” German, 89 passed away Tuesday, November 02, 2021 after a brief illness. He was born in Polk County, Tennessee on November 24, 1931 to Lawrence & Maggie Goforth German.  Doc was one of the last remaining residents of the Caney Creek Village built in 1912 by the East Tennessee Power Company during the construction of the Ocoee Dams and flume system. He loved returning to the Ocoee River Area to visit and reminisce.  Doc was interviewed in Debbie Moore’s video documentary, “The History of Caney Creek Village, Going Home”. 

He remained a faithful member of Macedonia Baptist Church for over 50 years, serving many as a Trustee and a member of the Men’s Sunday School Class. His career included working as a surveyor for the State of Tennessee Road Department, operating a trucking business, owning a used car dealership, Rebel Motors, and retirement from the Bradley County Road Department . In the 1950s, “Doc” was a dominant force in local dirt track racing, winning 164 feature races. He competed in the first race held at Cleveland Speedway and was known to enjoy sliding sideways through the turns. He made many lifelong friends through his racing career. Doc and his wife Cleo enjoyed being involved in the Cleveland Senior Center “Roaring 50s” music and dance entertainment group for many years, where he would share his love of dancing.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Cleo Pilcher German; his parents, sisters: Inez Morgan; Opal Cartwright; brothers: Lawrence “Buddy” German, Jr. & Harold “Cooney” German and “cousin-like-a-brother,” Everett ”Cotton” German, Jr.

He is survived by daughters Kathy Karnes (John); Sandra Stewart (Jerry); Granddaughters, Anna Karnes Goins (Jonathan);  Kelsey Mihaela Karnes (fiancé Michael Ray); great grandson, Rylan Goins; and devoted nephew Jerrold Edgemon.

The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 4, 2021.  A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, November 5, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Ralph Buckner Funeral Home with the Rev. Michael Caywood officiating.  Interment will follow at Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery.  A white dove release ceremony and the playing of bagpipes will conclude the service. 

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the German family guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John German, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Thursday, November 4, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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