Jeff Oliver, First Class Journeyman Lineman/Heavy Equipment Operator

PPS Lineman Jeff Oliver knew at an early age he wanted to be a lineman, and that desire came from watching his dad, Jeff Oliver, Sr., who was a lineman for 38 years. To a seven-year-old boy, growing up in Mayfield, the work seemed exciting and dangerous. Young Jeff would sit in his dad’s bucket truck in their driveway, put on a hard hat and pretend to drive the truck. He often slipped onto the couch after bedtime where he could be close to the phone if his dad got called in the night to fix an outage. It sometimes meant an opportunity to ride shotgun with his dad in the big truck, and it soon became obvious that not everyone could do the job his dad did.  “I had a respect for the guys who could do that,” said Jeff.

Jeff Oliver, Sr, Jeff Oliver, Jr, Jay                 Oliver (3 years old)

Jeff Senior, a single dad to Jeff and Shevonne, was a forklift operator for Ingersol Rand in Mayfield before landing a job as a meter reader at West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative. He worked his way up at the utility, becoming their first Black journeyman lineman and eventually a foreman. In an industry where fewer than 10% of the linemen today are Black, those numbers were much smaller back then. “He said he had to work twice as hard to prove he could be out there,” said his son.

Jeff Senior worked a lot of overtime and wired houses on the side, setting an example of hard work for Jeff Junior and his sister.

“He always said that anything worth having is worth working for,” said Jeff Junior. “He always stayed on me and pushed me.  He taught us how to hunt and fish and kept us in church every Sunday.”

Church was at Second Christian Church in Mayfield, and that’s where you could often find the other driving force in Jeff Junior’s growing up years, his grandmother, Linda Ruth Oliver, or “Granny” as they called her.

“She prayed on everything,” said Jeff.

Granny taught her grandkids the bible, values, and manners. And while she was frugal with her money, she was generous with her resources.

“She didn’t want anyone to go without,” Jeff said. “A lot of people called her ‘mother’.”

Weed eating at Granny’s house meant getting up at daybreak to cut weeds with scissors. Bible study meant an additional bible lesson at home after youth group at church. Cooking dinner was a lesson in making rolls

                                               Linda Oliver

and pies, and stealing samples would get Jeff and Shevonne in trouble.

“There’s nothing she couldn’t cook,” according to Jeff.

Her culinary skills were well-known in the Mayfield area, and she was often called on to cater parties for business owners.

Granny passed in 2017, but Jeff fondly remembers the lessons he got from her and is still learning from his dad. Jeff Senior, a 32nd degree Mason and deacon at his church, speaks to a lot of men’s groups.

Jay Oliver

Said Jeff Junior, “It’s amazing how many people know him.”

It’s a quality that comes in handy now that the two men are riding together again, in a manner of speaking, only the tables have turned. Jeff Senior is working daily at Jeff Junior’s side business, a new feed store in Fulton. And the lineman legacy in the family continues with Jeff Junior’s son, Jay, who is now a lineman at West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.


Jeff has been a lineman at Paducah Power for nearly 22 years.