Michael M. Maples, age 66, aka Smoky Mountain Jedi, passed away March 5, 2019 after a brief battle with brain cancer. He was preceded in death by his father, Millard Maples; brother, Mickey Maples and half-brother, David Maples. He is survived by his mother, Zula Ann Cantrell Maples; brothers, Paul Maples and Carolyn and Mark Maples; half-sister, Elizabeth Potter; nieces, Jeannie Ullrich and Peter and Susanne Guy and Mason; great nieces, Jennica Ullrich and Bridget Guy; great nephews, Abraham and Rockne Ullrich and Bradley and Matthew Guy; half-nieces, half-nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind many wonderful friends throughout the country who followed him on his blogs, Facebook page and YouTube videos.
Michael truly was a man who lived in the present. He spent many hours, days, weeks and years hiking the mountains, studying the mountains and their history, and exploring the ancestors of the Great Smoky Mountains. Many “Hiked with Mike” and he loved hiking with anyone who wanted to go and listen to his wealth of knowledge of the Smokies. Mountain Jedi was generous with his time and friendship. He was a kind man who also had a magic way about him. The family is extremely thankful for all of his friends, known and unknown, who visited and supported him through his books, kept him after the fire and sent money to help with expenses during his battle with cancer. Before devoting his time to the mountains, Michael spent 20 years coaching girls AAU Basketball. His love for the game was second only to his love for the Great Smoky Mountains.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Ball Camp Baptist Church, 2412 Ball Camp Byington Road, Knoxville, TN 37931, with the funeral service to follow at 6 p.m. Pastor Dave Thomas will be officiating. Family and friends will meet on Sunday, March 10, at 2 p.m. at Huskey Cemetery, 4805 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 for graveside service. Anyone that would like to donate in memorial for the Mountain Jedi, please do so to Friends of the Smokies or your favorite charity. Loudon Funeral Home and Cremations is honored to serve the Maples family.