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Robert Lee Wesbrooks was born in Lewis County, Tennessee on November 23, 1952 to Sara Christeen Barber Wesbrooks and Billie Robert Wesbrooks, who each predeceased him.
After a long, hard-fought battle due to stroke and years of dialysis, Robert left this earth surrounded by his four girls on January 11, 2024 under the gracious care of Alive Hospice.
He was also predeceased by his wife, Melba Dugger Wesbrooks, with who he shared their six children: Sheila Sewell, Leoma, Tenn.; Joey (June) Reeves, Pensacola, FL; Scott (Melissa) Reeves, Flatwoods, Tenn.; Tracy (Joey) Fortner, White Bluff, Tenn.; Kristi Tinin-Hodge (Billy), Nashville, Tenn.; and Kayla (Mason) Parnell, Linden, Tenn. These children gave Robert and Melba 12 grandchildren: Stephen & Ben Sewell; Rebekah Smith, Daniel (Kristin) Reeves; Nicholas (Megan) Reeves, Dustin (Crystal) Reeves; Laston Arnold; Jacob (Emily) Winters, Danielle (Greg) Winters; Cole Tinin; and Ella Claire & Owen Lee Parnell. From those grandchildren, were born six great grandchildren: Lexie, Gavin, Alexa, Nora, Ava, & Lincoln.
Robert grew up the oldest of three children--brother to Chester (Becky) Wesbrooks, of Bon Aqua, Tenn., and Rita (Ricky) Murray, of Pleasantville, Tenn. To which he referred to each as little brother and little sister respectively until his passing. He loved his in-laws, James & Earl Dugger, and Nancy Hunt like siblings, and thought the absolute world of each one of his nieces and nephews.
He was a family man deep in his heart, and remained close to his cousins, Maxine Qualls, Betty Brown, and Elaine Crigger.
It was in Robert’s nature to form lasting friendships, welcoming many in as though they were family by blood; and although not everyone who falls in this category can be individually listed, we would be remiss if we didn’t name a few that held a special place in his heart: Pauline Jackson; Lawanda & Ella Trull; Randal Tinin; April Parks; Mendy Boyd; Janice & Scott Terrell; Ramelle & Jerry Wheeler; Cheryl, Chuck & Eli Greeson; Larry Hodge; Theresa Neeley and Brenda Wooten who are just the tip of the iceberg of this list. Please know if you don’t see or hear your name, it is not because the family does not recognize you. It’s because we would gratefully be here all day naming the people Robert loved, and those who loved him and made his life better.
A little about the Wildman himself. He was a jack of many trades, starting out working in flooring, some factory work (where he met Melba), a little logging in the mix and then, finding his passion in trucking. He could often be heard telling his children, “I’ve backed more miles than you will ever drive forward.”
For those who knew him well, the CB Handle, Wildman, comes as no surprise. But we can all find comfort that in his later years, he fit the tile Mildman, as he dubbed himself much better. He finally settled down with Melba to own & operate R&M Trucking out of Linden, which he proudly was able to work alongside with his two boys. Oh how he’d brag about his boys to anyone who would listen. He and Melba also managed to dabble in farm tractor and equipment sales, including opening a variety store, RPM Tractor Sales out of Lawrenceburg, with their late friend, Paul Edinger, who no doubt was waiting with fishing pole and cup of coffee in hand for Robert to make this final trip. He found joy in the simple things – like the many a weekend was spent at the drag strip, or at Davy Crocket State Park, or Fisherman’s Rest in Guntersville; or at the camp in Beechview breaking bread and making memories with friends and family.
After Melba’s passing, his health deteriorated and soon he found himself on dialysis and transitioning his life from country bumpkin to city boy. He did manage to find some joy and his running buddy, Pauline, would sneak off to go gambling for an afternoon every chance they could. And while he never called Nashville home, his friends’ list grew, and included the amazing care team at the Fresenius Dialysis Clinic on White Bridge Rd., and this last year when his health and heart took a hard right, he was welcomed and loved by many at the Meadows on Coley Davis Rd. (Special thanks to April and Lori who went the extra mile.)
Robert did love life. He clung to it until his very last breath, but if you could see behind the veil of the life he lived – making and learning from his mistakes; traveling the country on 18 wheels; regaining the family he had once lost; growing and taking risks in life and business; enjoying the drag strip, fishing trips and boat rides with those he loved; and just spending time around a barbecue pit on the banks of the Tennessee River surrounded by the volumes of people he cherished most, you’d understand why he held on so tight. And while, not a perfect life, His 71 years, 1 month, and 19 days reflect a life and legacy only most of us can dream of.