The following tribute was submitted by CUMC member Mary Ann Thurmond in honor of her long-time Lamplighters Sunday school teacher Dr. Jim Eoff following his retirement earlier this year. You are invited to join the Lamplighters class for this special concert.
Today was very special for Dr. Jim Eoff as he was honored at a retirement party hosted by the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy. Jim has taught at the College for 44 years, beginning in 1970! He stated that he has had over 4,700 students during that period of time. The lobby was filled with students, former students, faculty members, administrative staff of the College, and colleagues, as well as family and friends. Ann was at his side for the event, as well as two of his three sons and several grandchildren. The Lamplighters (Sunday school) class was also well represented.
Beautiful accolades were shared, along with gifts. One was an orange football shirt with a “1” on it, along with his name – noting the fact that Jim has always been known as the number one football fan at UT and will probably be invited to be on the team as its oldest player.
The second gift was a complete surprise. You may remember his telling of one of his life’s highlights at a state pharmacy convention in Nashville. The lights were lowered for the meeting to begin. Suddenly, the organ rose up from the orchestra pit, and our Jim Eoff was at the keyboard, wearing a white coat with tails and an orange bow tie, playing Phantom of the Opera. What a hit it was. Well, Jim had always laughingly said that one of the items on his bucket list would be to have an organ concert at the Orpheum. Jim opened his gift to find a poster showing the front of the Orpheum, with his name on the lighted marquee. The UT staff has arranged with the Orpheum for Jim to give an organ concert in June!
In Jim’s remarks, he first gave thanks to the Lord, saying he felt that it was God’s timing for him to be at the College of Pharmacy, having originally planned to go to dental school. Pharmacy was a different discipline in those days, and Jim was instrumental in creating curriculum and laying the foundation of what is now common procedure for pharmacists throughout the state. It’s hard to estimate the influence he has had on his 4,700+ “kids,” as he calls them. But we know that the Lamplighters have also been blessed through 40 years – and the best news of all is that he is NOT retiring from teaching us.
Congratulations, Jim – for a career well lived and for modeling your faith during the good times and not-so-good ones. Enjoy your family, gardening, cleaning the attic and the hours between now and June that will be spent at the organ. We can’t wait to attend!