Tommie Ainsworth was a man who loved to give.
“There are a lot of vegetables that have been eaten in this town not only from his own garden but from other sources because his main purpose was to share,” said Kathy Segars, a friend and fellow member of West President Church of Christ.
Mr. Ainsworth, a longtime insurance agent for State Farm, died Saturday at his Greenwood home. He was 87.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Wilson & Knight Funeral Home, preceded by visitation beginning at 9 a.m.
Following his military service in the 1950s, Mr. Ainsworth began his career as a teacher and coach in Holmes County. He went to work in Greenwood for State Farm in 1959, initially as a claims adjuster and then as an agent. Altogether, he worked for State Farm for 55 years, including the last couple of decades from an office on West Park Avenue, before retiring in 2014.
When Robert Pannell moved to Greenwood in 1990 to work as an agent for State Farm, Mr. Ainsworth was already one of the three established agents in the city. Pannell said Mr. Ainsworth was “just a good guy. We never, ever once had a conflict, a problem with each other’s customers. Never. Not one time.”
Mr. Ainsworth liked to stay busy and had many hobbies. He coached summer-league softball for many years, served as a radio announcer for Greenwood High School football games and later did announcing at basketball games at the former Cruger-Tchula Academy.
He enjoyed duck hunting.
He is perhaps best remembered for sharing tomatoes, corn and other produce with fellow church members, friends and customers. For many years, he kept a large garden behind West President Church of Christ and generously shared his harvest, said Doug Segars, Kathy Segars’ husband and an elder at the church.
“But when he had to give up gardening because of his health, he wound up buying tomatoes and taking them to people,” Doug Segars said.
Even when Mr. Ainsworth could no longer drive, that didn’t stop him.
He would call people up and tell them if they would come to his house on Cedar Street, he had some tomatoes for them.
His generosity did not end with vegetables either. One year he donated 50 smoke detectors to assist a city-led effort to cut down on house fires.
“He just wanted to give something to everybody that he possibly could,” Doug Segars said. “He was that kind of a guy.”
Mr. Ainsworth had served in many capacities in his church — deacon, Sunday school teacher, treasurer and even, when needed, preacher. He began a prison ministry through the church “that continues to this day that has resulted in a lot of special moments and contacts,” said Kathy Segars.
Mr. Ainsworth was preceded in death by his wife, Billie Sue, and a daughter. He is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
•Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.