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Emerson "Eli" H.  Fly
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Obituary for Emerson "Eli" H. Fly

“Eli” Emerson Harold Fly passed peacefully on August 7, 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Eli was born on February 5, 1935 in Milan, Tennessee, he was the only child of Francis and Emerson Fly. Raised from the age of 2 by his widowed mother, Eli joined the US Navy and became a Aviator on the USS Intrepid. After his military service was over, utilizing the GI Bill, he earned a BA in Accounting from the University of Tennessee in 1961, became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and joined the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Auditor. Eli held various positions of increasing responsibilities at the University that culminated as the President of the University of Tennessee. He retired in 2002, only to be called back in 2003 to serve as Interim Executive Vice President. During this time, he also served in the USN Reserves, retiring in 1995 at the rank of Commander.
In 2001, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) gave its highest award to Eli in recognition of his almost 40 years of “outstanding contributions to business and finance management in higher education.”
Eli was an also avid sportsman, UT sports fan, and a wonderful and caring husband, father and grandfather.
Eli was preceded in death by his parents and his grandson, Eli Santos. He is survived by his loving wife Catherine Wright Fly, son Dr. Randy Fly and wife Jessica, son Brian Fly and wife Tracy, daughter Laura Hartman and husband Mark, daughter Karen Santos and husband Mike, as well as 9 grandchildren.

Graveside services with full military honors for Eli will be held on Monday, August 14th, at 2 p.m. at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on John Sevier Highway in Knoxville.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the UT Haslam College of Business or the charity of your choice.

Click Funeral Home, 109 Walnut Street, Lenoir City is in charge of arrangements.

Previous Events





2:00 PM
East TN State Veterans Cemetery

2200 E. Gov. John Sevier Hwy.
Knoxville, TN 37920

Family and friends will gather at 2 p.m. Monday, August 14th, in the East Tennessee State Veterans on John Sevier Highway in Knoxville for graveside services with full military honors.

Cemetery Details


East TN State Veterans Cemetery

2200 E. Gov. John Sevier Hwy.
Knoxville, TN 37920


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