Imogene Wert, 90, of Sevierville, TN, was called home to our Lord on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Born November 22, 1929 in Paint Lick, Kentucky, to Franklin and Wilma Wilson, she grew up in a loving home that valued family, music, and education. Her father was a corn and tobacco farmer and her mother studied education at Transylvania University. At a very young age Imogene fell in love with the piano and singing, taking lessons in both. Wanting more for his daughter, Franklin sent Ima away from the farm to Berea College to pursue a degree in education.
After attending Berea College and Eastern Kentucky University, where she met her husband, James D. Wert, Imogene taught elementary school in Garrard, Boone, and Kenton Counties in Kentucky. Music continued to play an important role in her life. She taught piano and voice lessons. She relished any opportunity to sing, including performing Handel’s Messiah with the Harmonia Society of Berea College, and singing in the Presbyterian Church Choir in Sevierville, TN, and the Florence Christian Church Choir and the Covington Episcopal Church Choir in Kentucky. At the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she rehearsed the operas of Madame Butterfly, Aida, Carmen, and La Traviata for the Cincinnati Zoo Summer Opera Series.
Ima and Jim raised four children, each of whom participated in their school band. The two enjoyed traveling. They opened a music store in Erlanger, KY, and then one in Sevierville, TN. Ima began composing her own songs in the sixties, and continued later in life, writing over seventy songs and releasing three CD’s. Her tune, “Someone” was copyrighted in 1964, and later that year she had the opportunity to sing it on the Bob Braun Show in Cincinnati. This talented farmer, teacher, and mother of four was also a skilled seamstress. She made all of her son, Jim’s costumes for his guest performances with the Annaliese von Oettingen School of Ballet and Ballet Theatre. She also designed and created costumes for Sweet Fanny Adams in Gatlinburg, TN, The East Tennessee Dance Theater, The Knoxville Ballet Academy, and her daughter’s dance studio, Elizabeth Williams School of Dance in Sevierville, TN.
Imogene passed her passion for music, education, and dance down to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She encouraged everyone she met to find their own passion and realize their own talents. She believed that everyone had talent; they just needed to devote some time to it. She inspired everyone around her to play, sing, dance, and create.
Imogene was preceded in death by her loving husband, James D Wert; her parents, Frank and Wilma Wilson; her brothers Franklin and Bill Wilson; her sister Elizabeth Rose; and her son-in-law, Robert Young. She is survived by her four children, Linda Young, James (Carolyn) Wert, Elizabeth (Rick) Williams, and DeWitt (Min) Wert; eight grandchildren, Susan, Kristianna, Nathan, Patricia, Bruce, Brittany, Jessica, and Jonathan; eight great grand children, Anne, Ava, Will, Kaitlyn, Brayden, Louis, Hadley, and Edie; and Staci Williams, Rick Williams’niece, who became like a daughter to her while caring for her these last few years.
Funeral services will be held at 3pm on Thursday June 18, 2020 at Ramsey-Young Funeral Home with a visitation beginning at 1pm. Burial will follow at Lancaster Cemetery. Friends and family may share memories or leave condolences on Imogene’s tribute page at www.ramseyfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Imogene’s name can be made by check to the Sevier County School System Music Education Program, C/O Sevier County Board of Education, 226 Cedar St., Sevierville, TN 37862. Ramsey-Young Funeral home is in charge of arrangements.