Cover photo for Earl Carter Leming's Obituary
Earl Carter Leming Profile Photo
1938 Earl 2019

Earl Carter Leming

January 10, 1938 — January 12, 2019

Earl Carter Leming, a pioneering Tennessee environmental regulator and public servant, died on January 12 after a brief illness. He was 81 and resided in Louisville, TN. Leming, who held a Master’s in Microbiology from Memphis State University, began his career in air quality control in 1962. Over the next 38 years, his roles included overseeing Tennessee’s water quality, minimizing the impact of surface mining, and regulating Superfund sites and radioactive cleanup. In 1983, Staff led by Leming conducted the inspection at Y-12 in Oak Ridge, which ultimately led to national recognition that US efforts to win World War II and wage the cold war with nuclear weapons had left another legacy – severely polluted land and water across the country. By 1990, Leming had played a key role in establishing the Tennessee Oversight Agreement whereby the Department of Energy (DOE) committed to long-term monitoring, achieving and maintaining compliance, and cleaning up contaminated land and water. From 1991 until his retirement in 2000, Leming served as Director of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) DOE Oversight in Oak Ridge. In 2000, he was awarded the TDEC Lifetime Achievement Award. Leming is survived by his wife Anne Frazier Ham, son Jeremy Leming, daughters Lea Ann Leming (Lisa) and Cara Ham Pierce (Jason), and beloved nieces, nephews, granddaughters, and extended family. He loved his dogs, the many throughout the years, and a few cats. He had special fondness for Boxers. Leming was born in Greeneville, TN on January 10, 1938. The son of Bert Hill Leming, Sr. and Hassie Louise Carter Leming and brother to six siblings, his family had deep roots in the town and retain the family farm to this day. Leming fondly remembered his many friends from Greeneville High School, Memphis State, and those with whom he shared his life over these rich years. Because he contracted polio at 2 ½ years of age, Leming has always supported vaccinations and would welcome contributions to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Greeneville’s Holston Home for Children. There will be a Celebration of Leming’s Life on Saturday, February 2 at 1:30pm at The Showroom, 1529 E. Broadway, Maryville, TN. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Earl Carter Leming please visit our Sympathy Store.
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