Dr. Joseph and Betty Johnson Endowed Scholarship
Joseph Benjamin “Joe” Johnson was born July 22, 1931 in Dothan, Al. After graduating from high school in Headland, Al., where he spent his childhood, Joe went on to Southeastern Louisiana University where he was the starting quarterback on the football team and married his high-school sweetheart (Betty Farmer) while attending college.
Joe then went into active duty with the Marine Corps from 1954-1956 where he was stationed in Virginia, California and also a year in Japan. After returning home, Joe taught and coached football at Southeastern Louisiana University where he received his Master’s degree in Education. Joe then went on to get his Doctorate of Education from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. During his career, Joe taught at Middle Tennessee State University and was the Dean of Students at Motlow College in Tullahoma, where he was also the first ever baseball coach at Motlow. I
n the summer of 1979, Joe and Betty moved to Chattanooga where Joe taught and was the Dean of Students at Chattanooga State until he retired in 1996.
Joe had a passion for working with young students, especially coaching them in various sports.
He loved playing golf, was an active member of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association and was an active member of Hixson United Methodist Church. Joe never met a stranger—if he didn’t know you, he would spend time learning about you. Joe was an avid Alabama football fan, but as much as he loved his Crimson Tide, there’s nothing he loved more than his family, especially his wife Betty whom he was married to for 69 years.
Betty Farmer Johnson raised four children while holding down a full-time job and also maintaining the household with amazing love and care. Betty and Joe moved to Chattanooga late in the summer of 1979 where she worked for the Social Security Administration until retirement. After her children had left the household, she continued her under-graduate degree and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
At the request of her beloved Joe, she took on the task of learning to play golf so they could spend precious time together on the golf course in their later years. Betty was an avid Alabama Crimson Tide Football fan and as such dedicated many years serving in a leadership role for the Chattanooga Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association. She and Joe were active members of the Hixson United Methodist Church.
Betty loved to cook and that was one of the many ways she expressed her love to those around her. She worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was well fed and taken care of when you were at her home.
Chattanooga Chapter Endowed Scholarship Fund
The Chattanooga Chapter Endowed Scholarship has been awarded to students from the Chattanooga, Tennessee area since 2018. This scholarship is given out to full-time undergraduate students going into their sophomore, junior or senior year at The University of Alabama. This scholarship is for a one-year term only.
Alasee Payne Thompson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Alasee was born in Chattanooga on June 28, 1931, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Moses Payne Jr. Her father was originally from Alabama and her mother originally from Tennessee and thus the unique name of Alasee: “Ala” for Alabama and “see” for Tennessee.
She was raised on Missionary Ridge with Helen, her older sister, and Mose, her younger brother, and she was a proud graduate of City High School’s Class of 1949. While in high school in Chattanooga, she was a viola student of Lillian Cadek Dame, and she sang in the chorus and played viola in the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the Casale Ensemble.
She was an equally proud graduate of the University of Alabama’s Class of 1953. While at Alabama, she continued her viola studies with Professor Ottaker (Papa) Cadek and majored in voice and viola. She also played in the University Orchestra and in Colonel Carlton K. Butler’s Million Dollar Band, in addition to having many lead operatic roles on the Tuscaloosa campus.
In 2003, she was inducted into the Golden Fifties Club of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association and, during Homecoming ceremonies that same year, marched with the Million Dollar Band onto the field of Bryant-Denny Stadium at halftime, with her children attending.
Her major professor, Dr. E.H. Cleino, and his wife, Bettie Anne, remained lifelong friends.
It was at Alabama that Alasee met her husband of 24 years, Richard (Dick) Potter Thompson, a fellow graduate of the Class of 1953 and a member of Alabama’s varsity tennis team. After Dick returned from service in Korea as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, they lived in Greenwich, Ct., Dick’s home town, where they raised four children: George Fletcher (b. 1954), David Payne (b. 1957), Diane Elizabeth (b. 1964), and Laura Alasee (b. 1970).
In Greenwich, Alasee taught music education, strings, and chorus at Parkway Elementary School and music at Brunswick School, from preschool to high school.
While working and raising her children, she pursued and received her M.A. in music education at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City, played viola in the Greenwich Philharmonic Orchestra, was a major volunteer in the Saturday Children’s Concert series, sang in the choir at Second Congregational Church, and later directed the choir at Round Hill United Methodist Community Church.
In 1977, Alasee returned to Chattanooga, where she opened with her eldest son, George, Rocky Top Ltd., a fine-art gallery, custom framing shop, and gift store on Signal Mountain. After Rocky Top closed, Alasee became the merchandise manager for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo retail stores before becoming a restitution officer with Hamilton County Juvenile Courts and retiring in 1996 as a case manager for Managed Care for Children.
Alasee was an active member of Signal Crest United Methodist Church on Signal Mountain; held offices in the Chattanooga Chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, receiving its Woman of the Year Award in 1990; was an active member of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association, serving as its secretary in 2008; was a charter member of the Delta Unit of Parliamentary Procedures; and was an active participant of the North River Civic Center Aerobics of Memorial Hospital.
Richard L. Collins and Terry S. Nida Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Richard L. Collins was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in September of 1946. He graduated from The University of Alabama in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. His professional career as an electrical engineer spanned 36 years with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Richard and his wife of 52 years, Sandra, also a 1969 UA graduate, have four sons and several grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family, traveling, playing tennis and Alabama football.
Richard was a member of Hixson United Methodist Church, the Chattanooga, Tennessee UA Alumni Chapter, and a Past President of the Knoxville/East Tennessee Chapter of The University of Alabama National Alumni Association.
Terry S. Nida was born in February of 1958. He graduated from Rossville High School and Chattanooga State where he earned his associate degree. He owned and operated Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park and several other cemeteries.
Terry and his wife of 40 years, Diedre, loved spending time with their three children and several grandchildren. He served his community by helping others in need. He was a lifelong, avid Alabama Crimson Tide fan and was recognized as the number one fan in Chattanooga.
Terry was a Deacon at Hixson First Baptist Church serving as a Sunday School teacher and supporting mission trips around the world. He was a Past President of the Chattanooga Tennessee Chapter of The University of Alabama National Alumni Association, Past President of the Rossville Exchange Club, Past President of the Georgia Cemetery Association, a member of the Rossville Kiwanis Club, Trenton Optimist Club, Rossville Lion’s Club, Rossville High School Alumni Association, Walker County Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Cemetery Association.