Cover photo for Raymond Best's Obituary
Raymond Best Profile Photo
1949 Raymond 2023

Raymond Best

July 23, 1949 — December 2, 2023


Raymond Gregg Best left his beloved family on December 2, 2023. Gregg was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1949, the son of Raymond and Pauline Beene Best. He continued to live in the Lyons Bend/Bearden area of that city until he joined the United States Coast Guard in 1968. While completing his military service with the USCG, Gregg served aboard the USCG Lightship Blunt’s Reef located off the coast of Northern California, held a position at the Governor’s Island Training Center in New York City, and finished his active duty in the Search and Rescue division of the USCG’s First District out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He then continued for many years with the USCG Reserves until retiring as Chief Boatswain’s Mate with over 31 years of service.
Gregg worked for 20 years on the Tennessee river as a towboat pilot and plant manager for Vulcan Materials company in Chattanooga. Upon leaving his combination maritime/aggregate duties, Gregg pursued his interest in watches, coins, and gems by becoming a Graduate Gemologist under the guidance of the Gemological Institute of America and then one of four Certified Gemologist Appraisers in the state of Tennessee under the auspices of the American Gem Society. Gregg spent many happy hours working with Drew at the Diamond Tower and more recently with Sam and Meredith at Sam Edwards Jewelry in Chattanooga. Gregg loved military history, conservative politics, and a good debate on any topic; he maintained many friendships with his high-school classmates and military associates via texting and e-mail.
Gregg was married for 44 years to local Bradley County educator Jerrie Best; he was a wonderful father to their two children: Garth (wife Lisa) Best of Chattanooga and Meg Best of Cleveland. But Gregg fulfilled his most important and most joyous duty of being grandfather- extraordinaire to grandsons Grant Best and Beau Best. He is also survived by sister and brother-in-law Kathy and Tony Woods of Cincinnati, Ohio and their daughter Kelly (husband William) Fleming of Boca Raton, Florida and the Fleming sons William and David. Other family members include the step-grandchildren of daughter-in-law Lisa: Salae Jenkins, Summer Maxwell, Blake Maxwell, and Sloane Maxwell. And his longtime friends Bill Huffman and Armen Sujohn entertained Gregg with phone calls and texts about the state of the nation over the years and they too count as Gregg’s family.
A military service will be held for Gregg on December 14 at 2:00 at East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery on John Sevier Highway in Knoxville. Dr. Phil Jones, recently retired from First Baptist Church of Powell and a maternal cousin of Gregg’s, will share family memories and blessings. Should you wish to make a gift in Gregg’s memory, the family asks you that you consider Meg’s school for special-needs young adults: The Trousdale School, 3171 Hewitt Street SE, Cleveland, TN 37323.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, December 14, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery

2200 E Governor John Sevier Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37920

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