Skip to content

East Tennessean of the Year: Pete DeBusk



Main Image
Item 1 of 16
 

Story by Gay Lyons. Photography by Jack Williams.

Established in 2011 by the East Tennessee Historical Society Board of Directors, the East Tennessean of the Year award periodically recognizes and honors an East Tennessee history maker who is an ambassador for the region and represents integrity, dignity, leadership, and the volunteer spirit. The award is given to an East Tennessean with either a recent accomplishment or a compilation of accomplishments.

Businessman and philanthropist Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk was recently honored as 2017 East Tennessean of the Year at a black tie dinner at Cherokee Country Club.  DeBusk’s impact on East Tennessee can be seen in his successes at DeRoyal and Lincoln Memorial University. As founder, owner, and chairman of DeRoyal, he expanded his business from a single room in Fountain City to manufacturing plants across Tennessee, Virginia, and abroad, leading the healthcare industry in innovation ranging from products to services. As chairman of the board of trustees at LMU, DeBusk has spearheaded numerous projects including the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center, and the Duncan College of Law.  

Guests at the event watched a biographical video describing Pete DeBusk’s career and contributions to the committee. Among those appearing in the video were Gary Wade, Philip Fulmer, Jim Haslam, Debusk’s wife Cindi, and his son Brian. The words in the video of Maude DeBusk, his 95 year old mother, were the hit of the night. She concluded by saying, “I wouldn’t take a million for him, but I wouldn’t pay two cents for another just like him.”

More Stories

  • Cocktails for a Cause

    Casey Fox, Jesse Mayshark and Amanda Mohney, the team behind Libacious Cocktail Catering, are on a mission. “We want people who organize fundraisers to think about what they can do to provide a richer experience,” said Jesse. Read More
  • Grant Boyd

    Doing the right thing has always been a way of life for Grant Boyd. As Senior Vice President for The Trust Company of Tennessee, it comes through naturally in his everyday work with his clients. “The Trust Company of Tennessee is a family of financial advisors who have a common goal of doing the right thing, showing respect for others and consciously following through with promises made,” Boyd said. Read More
  • Gem Hospitality Celebrates 10th Anniversary

    GEM Hospitality, formerly Glass Entertainment Management, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a new logo and company name and a redesigned website. GEM Hospitality offers corporate hospitality, incentive trips and unforgettable experiences to the world’s greatest sporting and entertainment events. Read More
  • Editor's Letter

    Megan Venable and Liz Lyons, two members of the VIP Knoxville event coverage team, recently texted me a selfie proclaiming “Wearing our uniform!” I fired right back with a photo: “Wearing mine, too!” Read More