For ninety-seven years, community servant-leader Dathyne Covington enjoyed her St. Patrick’s Day birthday. Her journey began March 17, 1924 and ended March 17, 2021.
Having never missed a day since first grade and leaving high school as valedictorian, Dathyne graduated from Carson-Newman College to become one of “the girls of Atomic City.”
To her mother’s dismay, she stated that if her brother could go fight in Belgium she could go to Oak Ridge, TN, to help with the war effort. After adventures in this high security situation, she returned to Chattanooga where she began her community involvement working at The Industrial YMCA with the Girls’ Program. Here she met her future husband Norman, a twelve- year employee of the Chattanooga YMCA and a Camp Ocoee director, who was also tirelessly committed to church and community.
She was selected to carry the 1996 Olympic Torch on its way to Atlanta, a “Community Hero”.
She had volunteered for over three decades helping to grow The Chattanooga Food Bank from the basement of St. Paul’s Episcopal to the strong organization it is today. She worked many years with Contact, Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and others. As numerous awards, both organizational and civic, piled up in their closets, they never abandoned their quiet weekly ministry to help those in nursing homes.
When she married, Dathyne brought her experience working with The Girl Scouts and youth groups in Oak Ridge to St. Andrew’s United Methodist, the Covington family church since 1905. She influenced decades of youth who maintained strong relationships with her until her death. She and Norman served in numerous church leadership roles, district and conference level as well. She joyfully embraced Tyner United Methodist in her final years.
Although her avocation was building through volunteerism, her career was also trailblazing in that she was one of the few female cartographers at TVA for thirty-two years. She even continued her experience of working on classified projects as in her early years at Oak Ridge. Her explorations also involved extensive travel to both traditional and exotic sites, with loving friends, and creating fanciful cake designs for every family member’s birthday.
Dathyne was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Lucy (Petit) Brown, husband, Norman Covington, brother, Lloyd Brown, Jr, and sister, Evelyn Morgan.
She is survived by Christie (Gary) Cundiff, Kay (Tim) King, Steve (Dianne) Covington, Richard Covington, and John Covington. Heather (Michael) Schmidt, Kelly (Kris) Nott, Caitlin (Rogier) ten Lohuis, Hannah Inez Covington, Morgan King, Luke and Ryan Schmidt, and Olivia Nott. Brother-in-law, Carl Morgan and sister-in-law, Audrey Brown.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to YMCA Camp Ocoee, Tyner United Methodist, and The Chattanooga Food Bank.
Graveside service for immediate family only will be held at The Chattanooga National Cemetery with Rev. Ty Harrison officiating.