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

  • Latest Issue 8 20

    Read More
  • Editor's Letter

    “COVID-19 is the worst party crasher ever,” wrote Maria Cornelius in a recent post on “In Any Event,” the blog she writes for Moxley Carmichael. Maria also keeps the accompanying website, “Event Check Knox,” updated. Staying on top of events is always challenging, but hats off to Maria for the stellar job she’s doing keeping event planners and others informed these days... Read More
  • SmartBank Secures $240 Million in Loans for Small Businesses

    SmartBank has been working diligently on behalf of local small businesses in their fight to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of mid May, the bank had processed approximately 1,700 loan applications and secured over $240 million in loan commitments through the Paycheck Protection Program... Read More
  • RCN Technologies Donates Equipment and Services

    Knoxville-based tech company RCN Technologies announced a COVID-19 community aid program by providing over $10,000 in wireless networking equipment and tech support service free to critical community organizations in healthcare, education, and public safety throughout the East Tennessee region. Read More