Those who have been longtime subscribers and readers of the News-Herald know that for years, Herb Linginfelter was a regular part of the publication. Herb wrote about Lenoir City and what it was like growing up here long before U.S. Highway 321 developed into the busy hub it is now.
For those who lived in Lenoir City for years, or could remember a time when downtown was the city’s center, Herb’s column was a way to reconnect with the past. He invoked memories of days gone by, with images as detailed as what it was like in the local grocery stores, to some as simple as the memories of children playing in Town Creek. For others, those born later or who simply moved into the area after it had grown toward the interstate, Herb provided a glimpse of a Lenoir City they will never experience.
Herb’s writing offered a unique perspective. He remembered quieter city streets where children could go sledding in the winter. And then there were the regular “characters.” The columns about colloquial words and phrases might be Herb’s most memorable.
At the News-Herald, we knew Herb as a man who was funny and kind. From time to time he would stop by with lunch for the office — not because it was something he had to do, but because Herb reflected the friendliness of the city he so fondly memorialized in his writing. He often wrote of visiting assisted-living homes to spend time with residents he didn’t even know, which serves as another example of who he was.
Herb loved Lenoir City. He loved telling stories of growing up here and remembering those times fondly. While the city changed tremendously in his lifetime, he could still see it in a way that many may have forgotten.
After a long, colorful life, Herb passed away Thursday at 90 years old — a number he was quite proud of reaching. He will be missed by all of us here at the News-Herald who had the chance to know him. And the numerous calls and emails received after Herb stepped away from his column in January show that he will be missed by many readers as well.