A native of Kingsport, he was born July 31, 1935, to the late Charles O. and Verna “Virginia” East.
Bob joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1954, where he excelled in basketball. He served as an electronics technician during the Korean War, stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. After his service and being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he attended and graduated from East Tennessee State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography.
Bob went on to serve in many capacities within the Tennessee State Government, most notably TN Department of Employment Security, Staff Director of First Tennessee Private Industry Council, as well as serving as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Business and Training, a program he was responsible for helping create and one of his proudest accomplishments.
Bob was also active in local politics and was able to work closely and effectively across political lines throughout the years. During the 1980’s Bob was active with local youth programs, specifically, serving as President of the Johnson City/Washington County Boys Club as well as promotion of youth boxing programs around the area. Bob took his passion for boxing to the next level and obtained his license to promote professional and amateur boxing. This allowed him to eventually promote the level of professional boxing matches that gained world-wide notoriety through collaborations with the TV sports network ESPN. In the late 1990’s, Bob retired from government service, then spent several years consulting within the local judicial and probation systems, working on his farm, and traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Survivors include: one brother, Don East and wife Millie, Lufkin, TX; his former wife and friend, Judith C. East, Gray; one daughter, Leslie C. Varner and husband Sean, Johnson City; two sons, Samuel C. East and wife Kendall, Kingsport; Jason East, Gray; one granddaughter, Sydney E. Jeffcoat, Knoxville, four grandsons, Cade East, Carson East, Kingsport; Andrew R. East, Carrollton, Ga; Dylan S. Varner, Johnson City; two nieces, Debbie Allen, Mexia, TX, Donna East, Austin, TX. Special friends: Jammie Cole and Ella Cole, Johnson City.
The family will receive friends Saturday, June 15, 2019, from 11:00 am until 12:00 pm in the Oak Hill Funeral Home Chapel, 800 Truxton Dr. Kingsport. Funeral Service will be conducted at 12:00 pm with close family friend, Greg DePriest officiating.
The Committal and Entombment Service will follow at 1:00 pm in the Chapel Mausoleum at Oak Hill Memorial Park. Active pallbearers will be Steven Finney, Terry Graybeal, Max Richardson, Edward Ritsko, Roger “Waco” Fields, Jeffery Oler. Honorary pallbearers will be Judge Robert E. Cupp, Ronald Hammontree, Clark Reese, Bobby Westmoreland,
Special thanks to Dr Diana L. Heiman and staff at ETSU Family Medicine. The entire staff at NHC, Johnson City, and The Waters of Johnson City.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Children’s Advocacy Centers of the 1st and/or 2nd Judicial District, and/or your local Dawn of Hope.
To leave an online condolence for the family please visit www.oakhillfh.com
The care of Robert W. “Bob” East and his family has been entrusted to the staff of Oak Hill Funeral & Cremation Services.