A project controls manager at the Y-12 National Security Complex has died of health issues related to COVID-19, the nuclear weapons production plant said Tuesday.
The Daily Times has identified the employee as Mark Easterly of Maryville. The newspaper said Easterly was employed by Bechtel for almost 30 years, and he began working at Y-12 as a project controls manager in March.
His death is the first death due to COVID-19 at a National Nuclear Security Administration site. Y-12 is an NNSA site. The NNSA is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Daily Times reported that Easterly’s wife, Brandee, is principal of John Sevier Elementary School in Maryville.
“We are sad to confirm that we lost a member of our Y-12 family last week from health issues related to COVID-19,” Y-12 spokesperson Kathryn King said in a response to questions Tuesday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family, friends, and co-workers as they deal with this unfortunate loss.”
Easterly is believed to have contracted COVID-19 while on personal travel, Y-12 said.
He died Wednesday, July 15, at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, according to his obituary.
The obituary said Easterly is survived by his wife Brandee, a stepson Harley Mathews and stepdaughter Mackenzie Mathews, and other relatives, including brothers and sisters and their spouses.
William Mark Easterly was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, and he graduated from Greeneville High School in 1979. Mark had great memories of playing football at GHS, and he enjoyed playing rook and softball with his friends, his obituary said. He was described as “strong, faithful, and big-hearted.” He loved his wife, bulldogs, Harleys, cars, and spending time working on his land, his obituary said. His long-time Bechtel family described Easterly as a great employee and an influential supervisor, his obituary said.
There will be a private graveside service for family at Hunt’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Greeneville in the coming weeks. A celebration of life for Easterly’s family and friends will be held later.
Y-12 said contact tracing was conducted in this case under guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Any employee meeting the criteria for close contact has been quarantined and is being closely monitored,” Y-12 said.
The site said it cannot comment on the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Y-12.
Read The Daily Times story here.
Read Easterly’s obituary here.