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Forest Clark Cantrell, 82
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Forest Clark Cantrell, 82, prominent Sparta businessman, died Sunday, Sept. 11 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
Mr. Cantrell was born in McMinnville on Feb. 18, 1929, the son of Mary Clark Cantrell and Forest H. Cantrell. He graduated from McMinnville High School, attended Tennessee Tech and graduated from Nashville Auto Diesel College. He married Geraldine Rader in 1949. In 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for four years, stationed at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, N.M., where he was assigned to the special weapons program where he helped assemble atomic bombs. He was transferred to Travis Air Force Base, California, with the same program. He was discharged in 1955.
He and his father-in-law, Joe Rader, started Putnam Manufacturing Co. in Cookeville making men’s work pants. In 1962, he started Covco Garment Co. in Sparta, the only coverall factory in the U.S. It later became Red Kap Co., then Blue Bell Mfg. Co., and finally Vanity Fair. He retired after 30 years and opened Casual Apparel, making military uniforms, where he remained until his death.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Gerry; two sons and their wives, Dr. F. Clark Cantrell Jr., and Amy of Atlanta, Mark Rader Cantrell and Connie of Franklin; six grandchildren, Forrest Clark “Trey” Cantrell III and wife Sarah of Cookeville, Nikki, Kimmi and Corey Cantrell of Atlanta, Cody and Christina Cantrell of Franklin; a foster granddaughter, Kiara Roberto of Atlanta; and a great-granddaughter, Reghan McLane of Cookeville.
Mr. Cantrell was a member of Sparta First Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at Sparta First Baptist Church with J.D. Davis officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. View Cemetery in McMinnville. Visitation will be held today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Oak Lawn Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund, 308 N. Spring Street, Sparta, 38583. To sign the online guestbook, visit
Oak Lawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Southern Standard
(McMinnville, Tenn.) Sept. 16, 2011