By Jean Clark
Frank and Ann Meisamer were both born in the Uplands Cumberland General Hospital in Pleasant Hill. Ann was delivered by Dr. May C. Wharton. Both of her parents, Ann Douglas Tanner and Thomas Lee Cunningham, were students at the Pleasant Hill Academy and married on campus in 1927. Their first homes were in apartments in Wheeler and Roberts Halls. Ann’s father, T.L. Cunningham, became the academy's farm and maintenance manager. She tells of those early years in the chapter, “Reflections of Pleasant Hill Academy, Uplands and the Village of Pleasant Hill” in the book Thy Loving Children Still by Iris Webb Glebe.
Frank’s father, J. Frank Meisamer Sr., was business manager and then superintendent, first at the hospital and later at the retirement community of Uplands. His mother, Frances Helena Meisamer, was director of nursing at the hospital and Wharton Nursing Home. Frank grew up on the Uplands campus and Ann on the academy campus. Both attended Pleasant Hill Academy.
Ann fondly recalls being a member of the academy’s traveling folk dance team, which traveled all over the Midwest, New England and the South. They performed in churches, schools and places like the Palmer House in Chicago to raise funds for the academy. Frank graduated with the first class of Pleasant Hill High School in 1948 after the Pleasant Hill Academy was closed in 1947. Both Ann’s and Frank Jr.’s fathers served as mayors of Pleasant Hill.
Frank graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a B.S. in accounting and worked in Crossville, Knoxville and Nashville. He later attended Northwestern University and after a residency at West Tennessee TB Hospital in Memphis, received a master's degree in hospital administration. His career positions included administrator at Tennessee TB Hospital in Chattanooga and later CEO of Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville for 20 years. For 10 years he was Regional Director (six SE states and Puerto Rico) for the American Hospital Association in Atlanta, which includes 1,400 hospitals. Frank is a former member of the board of directors of Tennessee Hospital Association and the American Hospital Association as well as a past president of THA.
Ann attended business college and worked at Union Carbide’s K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge. She later attended Martin College and Tennessee Tech, receiving a teacher’s certificate and taught in the elementary grades. She and Frank also worked at Cumberland Medical Center. While in Atlanta, Ann did antiquing with a booth in an antique mall.
Frank and Ann married July 16, 1949, on the lawn of the Pleasant Hill Academy’s principals’ home. They have two adult children and two grandchildren. Their frequent trips back to Pleasant Hill, to the church, for academy reunions and to see family and friends have kept their ties to the area strong. They feel fortunate to have grown up with folks in Pleasant Hill and now have come full circle in their lives returning to their starting place, buying a lovely home on Upper Meadows on July 1, 2010.
Ann enjoys bird watching, reading, traveling, good food, music, dancing and interior decorating. She hung the curtains made by Miss Adshead for the opening of the Uplands’ original Wharton Nursing Home. She is a former member of the Cumberland Medical Center Auxiliary, Candy Stripe Sponsor, and lifetime member of Blount Memorial Hospital's Auxiliary. She kept her Cradle Role Certificate from PH Community Church and was a member until 1961 when they moved away. Both Frank and Ann rejoined the church in July 2010. They both have served on committees in various Congregational churches in Pleasant Hill, Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Atlanta. Frank is a Mason and belonged to the Maryville Kiwanis. He is a Diplomat of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He enjoys photography, reading, travel, and fishing. He is serving on the Uplands Village Board of Directors, presently the Chair of the Finance Committee.
Ann proudly stated, “I am a third generation Uplands’ resident. My parents built one of the first homes on Maple Dr. My grandmothers and a grandfather were residents of the first Wharton Nursing Home as were our parents. Now, you can see why I was attracted to Uplands. It was coming home for me.”
Frank added, "We also like the quality of the life and beauty of the area."
• • •
Much of the material about the Meisamers and the photograph were contributed by Don and Jean Nelson of Pleasant Hill and from interviews with the Meisamers.