Finis Winston “Papa” Poole

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Finis Winston “Papa” Poole, 93, of Murfreesboro died peacefully at his home on Father’s Day, June 15, 2014.

He is survived by his devoted wife of sixty years, Jane Ozley Poole, his loving daughter Lucinda Poole Cockrell and son-in-law Dale Cockrell of Murfreesboro and grandson Samuel Winston Cockrell of New York City, his gratefully “adopted” son Bradley Scott Norton and spouse Mary Ellen Norton and their daughters Cara and Alexandra of Cleveland, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his mother, Ethel Octavia Bateman Poole, his father, Lawrence Elmo Poole, and all ten of his brothers and sisters.Professor Poole was born on February 8, 1921, in Henderson County, Texas, just outside Athens.   His college training at Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy in El Paso, Texas, was interrupted when he answered the nation’s call within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He joined the United States Navy and served honorably in the Pacific theatre as a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class on an LCI (Landing Craft/Infantry) vessel. Mr. Poole was deeply involved in the Battle of Okinawa and was one of the first troops deployed among the Japan occupation forces. After the War he completed his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees from New Mexico Highlands University. He did additional graduate work at the University of Texas and George Peabody College before being appointed by the Tennessee Department of Education as State Psychologist. In 1954 he accepted a faculty appointment to Middle Tennessee State College (now MTSU) and settled in Murfreesboro where he lived the rest of his life. At MTSU he was the first person to teach classes in Special Education. He also developed the certification program for guidance counselors in Tennessee public high schools. He was one of two MTSU faculty who conceived and received approval for the curriculum that enabled the establishment of a Department of Psychology in 1965. In 1969 he was asked to join the Office of Guidance and Counseling where he remained, serving a generation of students, until his retirement in 1984. Throughout his life he was of the Baptist faith and a member of the First Baptist Church.Papa loved nothing more than to be outdoors on one of his three farms or in his vegetable garden, which bounty he shared with his friends and neighbors. He raised cattle, chickens, dogs, any number of other two- and four-legged creatures. A kind, quiet, non-judgmental and temperate man with many friends, he was above all else a beloved, honored, and revered husband, father, and grandfather. Papa's was a life well-lived.The family would like to express their appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. Steven Odom and staff, Dr. Frank Drowota and staff, and Dr. Brian Lee and staff for their professional and devoted care and love for Professor Poole. Funeral service will be 2:00 PM Wednesday at Woodfin Memorial Chapel, with David Dunn officiating. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be Wednesday from 12:00 noon until time of the service. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the ASPIRE fund, College of Education at MTSU or Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Online condolences may be made at


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Finis Winston “Papa” Poole, obit
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