NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Former Metro Council member Tony Tenpenny, who represented District 16 from 2011 to 2015, died from complications of COVID-19 over the weekend.
A family member told News 2 Tenpenny was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early August and was hospitalized at Saint Thomas West for 42 days. Earlier this month, he was placed on a ventilator to help the fluid in his lungs. But, treatment was unsuccessful.
“Best friend you can ever have,” said Tony Watson, a longtime friend. “I miss him pulling up in that driveway and taking me to go eat or discuss District 16.”
Tenpenny had a passion for helping others. He and his wife Robbie operated the Lee House Recovery Residences in Nashville, which helps men and women recovering from addiction.
Although he wasn’t elected for a second term, his family is remembering him as a man who never stopped fighting for Nashville.
Mayor John Cooper tweeted Sunday, “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former councilman Tony Tenpenny. I send my condolences to his wife, Robbie, their son Ira and the rest of the Tenpenny family.”
Tributes have poured in across social media. However, some responded to the news by bringing Tenpenny’s old social media posts to fruition.
The former councilman shared posts prior to getting sick that question the validity of COVID-19 and the severity of the pandemic. Watson says these words are very hurtful and upsetting to Tony’s family and now is the time to come together and honor him.
“When you don’t know him, these things are hurtful and I pray to these people,” Watson said. “I pray for them to do the right things and we don’t want to hurt anybody and hurt is not good. There are two entities in this world, it’s God and the Devil. God prevails and the devil does not that’s how I look at it,” Watson said.
He leaves behind his wife Robbie and son Ira, who just started his freshman year of college in Chattanooga. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.