Lona Mai was born in Sharon, TN to Barney & Stella (Wallace) Gant on January 2,1926. She went home to our Lord on October 31, 2023, at age 97. She married Thomas Charles (T.C.) Sweatt on March 7, 1944, having 45 years of marriage. Lona Mai & Thomas had thirteen children, Tommy, Ray, Danny, Dale, Steve, Vickie, Robert, Albert, Kathy, Jerry, Gary, Trenna, and Terry. Lona Mai was proceeded in death by her first husband, Thomas Charles Sweatt, May 5, 1985. On March 7,1989, she married Jim Norton, whom she was married to for 35 years and had one stepson, Anthony Lindsey, of Texas.
Lona Mai was proceeded in death by parents, Stella & Barney Gant; brothers, Bennon Gant, Joe Henry Gant, Dorothy Finley, and infant brother, Cletus Gant. She also was proceeded in death by her children, Kathy May Savers- Gamblin (Kenton, TN), Robert Dean Sweatt (Rives, TN), Danny Lee Sweatt (Rives, TN/Germany), Gary Lynn Sweatt (Rutherford, TN), Micheal Steven Sweatt (Cazenovia, WI/Royal Palm Beach, Florida), and Nathan Dale Sweatt (Sauk City, WI); daughter-in-law’s, Janie Sweatt (Rives, TN), Gloria Jean Sweatt (Rives, TN), Marga Sweatt (Germany), Maizy Sweatt (Richland Center, WI); and son-in-law’s, Roger Pinkham (Cazenovia, WI), and Lynn Harris (Rutherford, TN).
Lona Mai is survived by her current husband, Jim Norton (Rives, TN); sister, Martha Sue Palmer (Ripley, TN); stepson, Anthony Lindsey (Texas); children, Thomas Eugen Sweatt (Rives, TN), Alton Ray Sweatt (Monroe, WI), Vickie Pinkham & friend, Dan Klumb (Cazenovia, WI), Albert Sweatt (Cazenovia, WI), Jerry & Camilla Sweatt (Greenfield, TN), Trenna Harris (Martin, TN), and Terry Sweatt (Martin, TN); daughter-in-law’s, Barb Sweatt (Sauk City, WI), Doris Sweatt (Colombia); and son-in-law, Jim Savers (Kenton, TN). She was proud of her 13 children, 38 grandchildren, 65 great-grandchildren, 36 great-great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and step-grandchildren.
Lona Mai was a Christian woman and member of Alamo Baptist Church in previous years & current member of Beech Grove Baptist Church. She loved her large family, flowers, gardening, working in her flower beds, her dogs, and canning. She especially loved canning & spending time with her mother into Stella’s 90s. She was an amazing cook to her 13 children and many grandchildren. A family favorite being Sunday dinners & breakfasts at her home, where all were welcome, serving her made from scratch biscuits and gravy, and large family meals. Later in life, Lona Mai found her love of dogs and bred poodles of several varieties for many years. Lona Mai was known for being a force to be reckoned with. Lona Mai survived the loss of 6 of her children & 6 daughter & son in-laws, as well as two grandchildren and one great grandchild. She raised strong children & grandchildren with great family values and perseverance. She was a vibrant woman full of life and always was there for her family. She made sure they all knew that no matter what, they were family, and family stuck together in good times & bad. She was proud of her large family of 10 boys, 3 girls and an immense number of grandchildren, & stepfamily. Lona Mai worked until the age of 80, retiring twice. She retired from Good Year Tire after 17 ½ years of service and Parker-Hannifin after 15 years of service. Lona Mai will be missed by many, and we are grateful for all the friends, and family that showed her love over her lifetime. Her love of God, family, life, and friends will be her Legacy.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM at the Karnes & Son Funeral Home - Rutherford (669 S Trenton St, Rutherford, TN 38369); with funeral services starting at 2PM. Burial will follow, at the Alamo Baptist Church Cemetery (5713 Alamo Church Rd, Rives, TN 38253).