Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Nov 1, 2020

Journal Issue Date: Nov/Dec 2020

Journal Name: Vol. 56 No. 9

Native Memphian and Baker Donelson Senior Counsel LEO M. BEARMAN JR. died Sept. 21 at the age of 85. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1960, Bearman started practicing law with his father, Leo Bearman Sr., in the firm that eventually became Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. He continued to actively practice law until his death. A litigation attorney, Bearman was also active in the legal community, serving in leadership roles with the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association, as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis School of Law for more than 20 years, and as co-founder of the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court, which was named for his father. He also was recognized with numerous awards, including the Memphis Bar Association’s Lawyer’s Lawyer Award and Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award, and the 2020 American Inns of Court Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Goodwill Homes Community Services, 4590 Goodwill Rd. Memphis, TN 38109 or Temple Israel General Fund, 1376 E. Massey Road, Memphis, TN 38120.

Lawrenceburg native and attorney JAMES DANIEL FREEMON died Aug. 7 at the age of 69. Freemon earned his law degree from the University of Memphis in 1977 and then started the Freemon Law Firm in Lawrenceburg where he practiced law for more than 40 years. Funeral services were held at the Neal Funeral Home in Lawrenceburg followed by interment at the Freemon Cemetery in Leoma.

Memphis attorney LEWIS K. GARRISON SR. died Sept. 2 at the age of 88. Garrison served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and afterward went on to earn his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law. He practiced law in Memphis for 59 years trying many cases throughout his career, most notably the 1999 conspiracy trial involving the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as counsel for the Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Drive, Memphis, TN 38105.

Nashville lawyer JOHN CLINTON HAYWORTH died Sept. 8. He was 52. A 1990 graduate of Colby College and 1993 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Hayworth served a year as a federal district court clerk before entering private practice. He maintained a litigation practice at several law firms including Bass, Berry & Sims; Walker, Tipps & Malone; and Butler Snow. Recently, he began teaching undergraduate business law at Belmont University. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hayworth’s high school, the Westminster School, 995 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06070.

Nashville lawyer THOMAS IRVIN HOLMAN JR. died Aug. 6 in Danville, Kentucky, at the age of 98. A 1943 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Holman served in the Army, as a partner in the Nashville law firm of Stephenson, Lackey and Holman, and as a faculty member of the YMCA Law School. He also earned a bachelor of laws from Emory University in 1947. Holman later was named president of First Federal Savings and Loan Association, CEO of the Metropolitan Federal Savings and Loan Association and president of the Tennessee Savings and Loan League. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Family Services Association of Boyle County, 447 S 3rd St., Danville, KY 40422 or Danville-Boyle County Humane Society, 778 N. Danville Bypass, Danville, KY 40422.

Knoxville lawyer DARRYL G. LOWE died Aug. 1 at the age of 75. Lowe attended the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship, graduated and enlisted in the Air Force. Following discharge, Lowe entered the University of Tennessee College of Law. First licensed in 1974, he initially worked for Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley. He later joined with Cliff Shirley and Steve Yeager to form Lowe, Shirley & Yeager. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Mission of Hope, P.O. Box 51824, Knoxville, TN 37950.

Collierville lawyer CALVIN JOSEPH MCCULLOUGH died on Aug. 4. He was 90. After earning his undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University, McCullough served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After his discharge, McCullough worked as a claims adjuster for Liberty Mutual and enrolled in night classes at Southern University Law Center. He earned his law degree in 1962 and joined the law firm of Wilkes, Neely & Evans in Memphis. McCullough spent more than 55 years practicing law and was the grandfather of Circuit Court Judge Mary Wagner. Memorial donations may be sent to Collierville First Baptist Church Senior Ministry, 830 New Byhalia Rd., Collierville, TN 38017; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Drive, Memphis, TN 38105; or Memphis Union Mission, 383 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38105.

Nashville lawyer C. RAYMOND MYERS JR. died Aug. 14. A graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, he earned his law license in 1983 and according to his family, “cared deeply about his clients and was known to accept payment in firewood.” Myers served as president of the Williamson County Bar Association, did significant pro bono work and supported marginalized communities. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 799 Washington Street, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 or the First Church of Christ Scientist of Nashville, 2911 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215.

Memphis judge CURTIS S. PERSON JR. died Sept. 4 at the age of 85. A 1959 graduate of the University of Mississippi Law School, Person served as a state representative for Shelby County from 1966 to 1968, before switching from the Democratic to Republican party and winning a state senate seat in 1968. He stayed in the senate until 2006 — the longest uninterrupted term in the Tennessee legislature. During his tenure, Person served as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 33 years and authored the Tennessee law mandating jail time for drunken drivers. He was elected to the Shelby County Juvenile Court after leaving the legislature and served in that position from 2006 to 2014. He was recognized with many awards over the years including the Kenneth A. Turner Juvenile Justice Award from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, the Equal Access to Justice Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and an appreciation award from the Tennessee Juvenile Justice Community. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of Judge Curtis S. Person Jr. to the Memphis Humane Society, 935 Farm Rd., Memphis, TN 38134.

Former TBA president and Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee PAMELA L. REEVES died Sept. 10 after a battle with cancer. She was 66. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Reeves became one of the first attorneys in Tennessee to specialize in sexual harassment law. She also became the first female partner in the prominent Knoxville law firm where she practiced for many years. She later founded her own mediation firm and became the first female president of the TBA. Reeves was nominated to the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in 2013 and named chief judge in 2019, the first woman to hold both roles. Among her many awards, Reeves received the inaugural Tennessee Professionalism Award from the TBA and the Tennessee American Inns of Court this past June. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations be given to the University of Tennessee College of Law, 1505 Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37996 or the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, 2743 Wimpole Ave., Knoxville, TN 37914. The TBA has created a webpage at for members of the legal community to leave comments or memories about Judge Reeves. Read more about her in this issue.

Johnson City lawyer and TBA Senior Counselor DONALD W. SPURRELL, a World War II veteran, University of Alabama football player and patent attorney, died Sept. 9 from complications of COVID-19. He was 92. Spurrell completed a master’s degree in math before earning his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. After graduating, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent examiner. He later moved to Rochester, New York, to work as a patent attorney with Eastman Kodak. Spurrell returned to Tennessee in 1966 and continued working for Kodak until he retired in 1986. He then worked for many years as an independent patent attorney. His son Donald E. Spurrell is also a lawyer in Johnson City. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Grace B. Spurrell Memorial Fund at the Johnson City Public Library, 100 W. Millard St., Johnson City, TN 37604, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Tri-Cities lawyer THOMAS H. TORBETT died Sept. 28 at Holston Valley Community Hospital in Kingsport at the age of 82. Torbett earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and joined his father in 1964 to establish Torbett & Torbett Attorneys at Law. He continued practicing law for 55 years, retiring in 2019. Torbett also worked with law students, serving as a judge for moot court competitions and passing on his many years of legal experience. According to his wishes, his body was donated to East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Broad Street United Methodist Church, 100 East Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660; or Petworks, 2141 Idle Hour Rd., Kingsport, TN 37660.

Parsons lawyer and TBA House of Delegates member EDWIN C. TOWNSEND died Sept. 26. He was 66. Originally from Jackson, Townsend earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Following graduation, he joined his father’s law practice, where they worked together for more than 20 years. Also a pilot, Townsend was active in the Tennessee Bar Association, first serving in the Young Lawyers Division and later in the House of Delegates, where he was the current 24th District Delegate. He also was a charter member of the Young Lawyers Division Fellows and later served as its president. Townsend was also active in the University of Tennessee’s National Alumni Association, serving as its president in 1989-1990. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band Scholarship Fund or the College of Law Scholarship Fund, c/o the University of Tennessee Office of Advancement, 600 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996.