Laban DeFriese

Hamilton County

Laban Ray DeFriese, 79, of Franklin, Tenn., passed away Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at his home.Born in Chattanooga, Mr. DeFriese was a 1952 graduate of Tyner High School where he was an All-County athlete in three sports, baseball, basketball and football. He was also an accomplished soloist in the school and church choir. He was only in the eighth grade when he was chosen to perform solos at the annual high school Christmas show at Memorial Auditorium.Upon graduating high school he joined the Army. A two-way football star on the Army European team, he played quarterback and safety to earn the football team its first championship in 1955.When he returned from service, Laban graduated from UT and attended UT Law School.In the early 1970s he honorably served in the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 1979, he and his wife, JoAnn, created a successful business Continental Caviar. He quickly became known as America's "Czar of Caviar". Continental Caviar was featured on ABC News with Peter Jennings and for his success, he was only one of two Tennesseans ever featured on the front page of the prestigious Wall Street Journal.He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.Laban lived a long, interesting, amazing life as a loving husband, father and a successful businessman and dedicated politician. He spent the later years of his life enjoying his family, church and retirement.Laban is survived by his wife, JoAnn Gamble DeFriese; children, Jerry, Kenny, Sam DeFriese, all of Franklin, and Juli DeFriese, Chattanooga; eight grandchildren, Moises, Victor, Braxton, Amanda, Allison, Gisella, Lupe and Grey.Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Friday in the funeral home chapel with the Rev. and Honorable Sam Payne, Dr. Rex Teeslink and Dalton Roberts officiating.Burial will follow in Chattanooga National Cemetery with Eddie Turner, John Hill, Brent Gamble, Greg Privette, Lindy Henley, Jimmy Webb and Bobby Hudgens serving as pallbearers.Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 554 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga.Visit to share words of comfort to the family.Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Road.

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