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September 29, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Jeff Deardorff dies in hiking accident in Colorado

Sad news for those who are longtime players in the local economic development ecosystem.

Jeff Deardorff, an individual who held positions with a number of organizations – Tennessee Technology Foundation and Community Reuse Organization of East Tennesseee over the years – has died in a hiking accident in Colorado. According to this report from a Denver television station, “A man who went hiking in the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness last Friday has been found dead. Several teams with the Custer County Search and Rescue spent three days looking for Jeff Deardorff with an active aerial team. Deardorff summited the Crestone Needle around noon on Friday and then wasn’t heard from again. Friends had found his car near the trail head and alerted authorities. A friend told CBS4 that Deardorff fell during the descent.”

Another site named Out There Colorado had a few more details in this article that noted “the area of Crestone Needle (is) a Sangre de Cristo Range peak that’s considered to be one of Colorado’s most dangerous 14,000-plus-foot mountains” and added that Deardorff was “an experienced Colorado climber that had summited many of the state’s highest peaks.”

Deardorff was currently the Manager of the Greater Knoxville Federal Trade Zone that was established in 1989 by the then named Industrial Development Board of Blount County. If you knew Jeff, he was always smiling, upbeat and so positive. What a tragedy but one knows that he died doing something he truly loved. After all, Jeff’s email address was

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