Marlin Shelton Haston, 1928-2022
Marlin Haston, 93, passed away on January 1, 2022. He was born September 5, 1928, Spencer (Van Buren County) of the late R.C. Haston Sr. and Etta (Smith) Haston.
He is survived by his son, David (Laura) Haston of Dandridge; daughter, Jean Ann Hall of Hartsville, and daughter-in-law Brenda Haston of Crossville; grand-children, Brant (Alexis) Hall, Creighton (Makayla) Hall, Hannah Haston, Luke Haston, Eric (Kasi) Brady, and Michelle Landrem; and great grand-children, Craylyn Hall, Karsyn Hall, Stella Hall, Brant Hall II, Oaklyn Hall, Brylee Landrem, and Harper Landrem.
In addition to his parents, Marlin is preceded in death by his wife Imogene Haston; son, Jerry Haston; brother, RC. Haston Jr; and sister, Bobbi Jo Haston.
Marlin Shelton Haston was born on September 5, 1928. He was the oldest child of Robert Charles Haston Sr and Etta Smith Haston. He was born in the Cane Creek Community of Van Buren County, Tennessee. His first home was a two-room cabin on the side of a mountain. The family moved to Piney and there he spent the remainder of his childhood. The home was 4 rooms and had no electricity, no insulation, a coal burning fireplace, and an outhouse next the chicken yard. He would talk about having two pairs of coveralls and two pairs of shoes. Marlin and his brother R.C. Jr. had to walk through the woods about two miles to attend the Piney School. They considered themselves lucky if their dad let them take the mule to school.
Marlin’s Mother had a degree from Burritt College and was a licensed teacher. His dad only attended 6 years of school. Marlin’s mother was adamant that he and his brother had to get a college education. He knew that a college education was the only way to get someplace in this world.
Marlin was very active in 4H, FFA and school activities. He served as President of FFA, Class President, and Editor in Chief of the Vanburian, school annual. He was a member of the first boys basketball team at Van Buren County High, as player and manager. Also, he was selected as the Boys State Representative. In addition to school activities, he spent 2 summers working in factories up north to save money for college.
In the Fall of 1947, Marlin started his freshman year at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was recipient of 1 of the 13 scholarships offered by the College of Agriculture. Additionally, he worked in the Sophia Strong Cafeteria and the Home Economics library.
Marlin’s Journey to obtaining a B.S. in Agriculture became a 7-year quest. At the end of his sophomore year, he ran out of money. He returned home and spent a year teaching. He just couldn’t save enough from teaching to attend UT. His next decision was to enlist in the army, so as to qualify for future GI educational benefits. His two years of college gave him a leg up on most new recruits. He spent 2 years stationed in Trieste, Italy. He was posted to the Commanding Officer’s staff and also taught rudimentary reading and math to the boys who never attended school. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to UT and finally graduated in 1954. Nothing but pure grit, determination, and stubbornness drove him to obtain his BS.
Marlin had a different collegiate experience than most of his peers. He did not have extra funds for the routine extra-curricular activities that most college students participate in. His one true collegiate experience was Volunteer football. He loved the Vols and being in Neyland Stadium. From the late 1950s until around 2000, he was in Neyland Stadium cheering on the Vols. His love for all things orange and white has been passed down through the family.
After college, he was hired by the UT Extension Service as a County agent in Grundy County. Prior to settling in Grundy County, he met and wooed the love of his life, Imogene Walker. They were married in 1955 and had almost 64 years together. By 1956, they moved to Cumberland County. Marlin was the 4H agent. He believed in the 4H program and felt it was a pathway for youth to learn and grow into productive, successful adults. He coached the State 4H Livestock Judging team. Members of this were Jim Bohannon, Tom Looney, and Jack Looney. This team went on to be Tennessee’s highest ever placing team at the national contest in Chicago. These young men carried the winning tradition to UT and became highly decorated collegiate livestock judges. This was the only national champion team that UT has ever had. He was a life-long supporter of 4H.
In 1959, Marlin made his final career move. He became a Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance agent. According to Imogene, he took a 50% salary cut when he left the Extension Service. He was willing to gamble on his tenacious work ethic, personable people skills, and dogged determination, to succeed and excel. He saw this as an opportunity to “change the financial future” for his family. From 400 family members in 1958 to 10,000+ at his retirement in 1990, he built the Farm Bureau Insurance, that Cumberland Countians see today.
Marlin was an active member in the community. He served on the Cumberland County Bank Board for 53 years. He was in the Kiwanis Club, served on the Cumberland Medical Center board, Volunteer Electric Board, the University of Tennessee Agriculture Institute Board, and the Sons of The American Revolution. He believed in serving the people of the community.
Marlin had a lifelong Dream of preserving family history, not just the lineage, but the land. In 1972, he purchased the Haston Farm on Cane Creek in Van Buren County. This farm has been in our family since 1858 and is where Marlin was born. His family farm has produced many class, district, and state breed champions, including the 1970 overall state grand champion steer. His children, Jean Ann and David, following their father’s wishes established a Legacy Trust to further preserve this farm for future Haston generations. He never forgot the humble beginnings of his life and was forever grateful for his success.
He has been an inspiration, to his children and grandchildren, of what dedication, hardwork, and patience can achieve. He was a friend to all, leader in the community, and faithful, loving husband to Imogene. His presence will be greatly missed.
A graveside service will be held at Green Acres Memory Gardens in Crossville, Tennessee at 1:00 pm CST, Wednesday, January. 5, 2022. In lieu of followers, please make donations to TN 4-H foundation, 2621 Morgan Cir Dr. STE 205, Knoxville Tn 37996 or Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom, P.O Box 313, Columbia TN 38402-0313.