Memphis couple found dead in Gatlinburg; 3 sons remain hospitalized

L to R: Wesley, Jon, Branson, Janet, and Jared. (Courtesy: Lisa Pirie)
L to R: Wesley, Jon, Branson, Janet, and Jared. (Courtesy: Lisa Pirie)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/WATE) – Family members say a Memphis couple missing after the wildfires in Sevier County have been confirmed dead. Their three sons remain hospitalized.

Lisa Pirie says her brother, Jon Summers, and his wife Janet went missing after their Thanksgiving weekend vacation in the area.

Jon Summers’ brother Jim posted on Facebook the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department confirmed their deaths Thursday evening.

“I am sorry to report that at 4:45 pm CST the Sevier County Sheriff’s department has reported that the Medical Examiner has confirmed that two of the bodies found in North Chalet Village were Jon and Janet Summers. Their 3 sons are aware. Your prayers are appreciated…” wrote Jim Summers in the post.

The couple’s three children, Wesley, Branson, and Jared, are all hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As of Thursday, Jared and Wesley were considered stable while Branson remains in critical condition. All three live in Nashville.

“I learned late (Tuesday) night that both Jared and Wesley had awakened and were asking about each other and mother and father. Both were in good spirits and not in a lot of pain. Jared was using a white board to communicate,” said Pirie.

Friends told News 2 that Branson works at Pinewood Social. His brothers Jared and Wesley had worked at Bastion. Both businesses are run by Strategic Hospitality.

The company released a statement to News 2 that said, in full:

We were saddened to hear the Summers’ family was caught in the disastrous fires that have swept through the Smokies. We have worked with all three of the boys and have had the privilege of meeting their parents – all of whom are truly great people. We plan to do all we can to help in the recovery of Jared, Wes and Branson, and to assist in locating Jon and Janet. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the families of all those affected by these fires.

A crowdfunding effort has been started for the Summers family. Click here to donate.