Posted by: Journal News on Jul 1, 2021

Journal Issue Date: July/August 2021

Journal Name: Vol. 57 No. 4




Carthage attorney Jacky O. Bellar died April 12 at age 83. Bellar earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1962. His first job was assistant district attorney general for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. He later served as Carthage city judge and attorney for Smith County government for more than 50 years. Most recently he was senior partner in the Bellar & Winkler Law Firm, working as legal counsel for several area lending institutions. He also served as legal counsel for the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC), Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. and Cincinnati Insurance Co. The family has requested memorials be given to UCEMC Cares, 907 N. Main St., Carthage, TN 37030.

Brentwood lawyer Richard A. “Rick” Buerger, 73, died March 28. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Buerger first joined with James Peterson to open a law office. He later was named a partner in the firm of Buerger, Moseley & Carson and stayed with the firm until he retired in 2002. Buerger also served as the attorney for Williamson County for 24 years, chair of the Williamson County Ethics Committee, president of the Williamson County Bar Association, and adjunct professor of health care management at Belmont University. Memorial donations may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675 or Tennessee Wildlife Federation, 300 Orlando Ave., Nashville, TN 37209.

Longtime Nashville lawyer Stephen Eugene Cox Sr. died March 3. He was 77. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1970, Cox moved to Nashville where he practiced as a trial attorney and later a mediator. During his career he worked for Manier & Herod and then Cox, LeVan, Sprader & Patton. He was active in the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association and American Board of Trial Advocates, serving as president of that group’s Tennessee chapter. From 2004 to 2008, he served as a member of the state Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Commission. Cox retired in 2014 and moved to Knoxville. His son, Stephen Eugene Cox Jr., is an attorney with Healthcare Realty Trust Incorporated in Nashville. Memorial donations may be made to the USO, P.O. Box 96860, Washington, D.C., 20077.

Clarksville lawyer and former TBA President Fletcher “F.” Evans Harvill died May 10 at 95. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Harvill first practiced law at a Clarksville firm that would later became Daniel, Harvill, Batson & Nolan and then Batson Nolan PLC. Another former TBA president, Dan Nolan, still practices at the firm. Harvill served as TBA president from 1979 to 1980. He also spent decades promoting Austin Peay State University as one of its most trusted ambassadors and advisors. He later went on to serve as president of the school. Memorial donations may be made to APSU University Advancement, P.O. Box 4417, Clarksville, TN 37040; or Madison Street United Methodist Church, 319 Madison St., Clarksville, TN 37040.

Memphis attorney Warner Hodges died April 10 at his home in Germantown. He was 99. Hodges attended Vanderbilt University Law School on the GI bill, earning his law degree in 1949. After several years of private practice, he was appointed as an assistant U.S. district attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and later appointed as the U.S. district attorney by President Eisenhower. He returned to private practice in 1961, becoming a prominent defense attorney in Memphis.

Kentucky lawyer Michael D. Hornback died Jan. 9 at age 43. Originally from Union City, Tennessee, he attended the University of Arkansas School of Law, graduating in 2002. At the time of his death he was practicing employment and labor law as special counsel at Littler Mendelson in Lexington, Kentucky. He previously practiced with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs. Memorial contributions may be made to the South Elkhorn Christian Church, 4343 Harrodsburg Rd., Lexington, KY 40513, or the donor’s favorite charity.

Jackson lawyer Harold Franklin Johnson died May 25 at the age of 92. A football and basketball player, Johnson attended the University of Tennessee on an athletic scholarship. He joined the football coaching staff in the fall of 1949, and participated as a player-coach on both the 1949 and 1950 championship teams. He later became a Southeastern Conference basketball and football official and officiated games for many years. Johnson earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1952 and began practicing with the law firm of Murray, Murray & Johnson. He later served as Jackson city attorney for 19 years. His legacy lives on with three of his four daughters joining the legal field: Archie Ann Taylor recently retired as a supervisory counsel with the FDIC in Washington, D.C.; Leigh Milam is clerk and master of the Henderson County Chancery Court; and Carol Pearson is deputy general counsel with TruGreen in Memphis.

Paul Revere Leitner, a lawyer in the Chattanooga office of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan for more than 60 years, died May 22 at the age of 92. A graduate of the McKenzie College of Law in Chattanooga in 1954, Leitner joined the firm while a law student. Following graduation, he became an associate and was named a partner in 1957. Leitner was active in the local and statewide legal community, serving as president of the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association, a member of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education, and state chair of the Defense Research Institute. He was a fellow of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation, Tennessee Bar Foundation and American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, International Association of Defense Counsel, Trial Attorneys of America, American Board of Trial Advocates and U.S. 6th Circuit Judicial Conference. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Memphis lawyer Arnold Edwin Perl died May 4 at the age of 81. Perl earned his law degree from the University of Illinois. He worked at the Memphis law firm Glankler Brown, practicing in labor and management relations, and served as general counsel for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and as secretary and general counsel for the Memphis Chamber of Commerce. Perl played a pivotal role in the completion of what is now known as the FedEx Forum in Memphis, fulfilling his promise that the arena would be completed “on time and on budget.” In addition to serving on the New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority, Perl spent about 30 years as a member of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, including 16 years as chair. The family requests that memorials be made to Temple Israel, 1376 E Massey Rd., Memphis, TN 38120; Memphis Jewish Federation, 6560 Poplar Ave., Germantown, TN 38138; or MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030.

Retired 4th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge James Kenneth Porter died April 5 in Newport, one day shy of his 87th birthday. Porter was first elected judge in 1974 after having served as a state senator for one term and a state representative for four terms representing Cocke County. He retired from the bench in 1993. Porter graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1957. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Longtime Memphis lawyer Arnold M. Weiss died April 30. He was 86. Weiss earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1958 and first practiced general and criminal defense law. He eventually found his calling in the field of bankruptcies and foreclosures. Weiss and his wife lived an exciting life. As a ballroom dancer, Joan met many celebrities, which led to the couple joining the world-famous Friars Club in New York City. They also were longtime members of the Mar-a-Lago Club and owned homes in Palm Beach and New York in addition to Memphis. Weiss was a patron of the local arts and an ardent supporter of St. Jude, often hosting fundraisers for the children’s hospital. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to the rabbi’s discretionary fund at Temple Israel, 1376 E Massey Rd., Memphis, TN 38120.

Longtime federal district and appellate court judge Harry Walker Wellford of Memphis died April 17 at the age of 96. Wellford earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School before returning to Memphis to practice. He also became an active community leader, serving on the Memphis Community Relations Committee alongside other community leaders like Lucius Burch, Lewis Donelson and Jesse Turner. He managed the 1966 U.S. Senate campaign of Howard Baker, who later recommended Wellford for appointment to the federal district court, and later to the Court of Appeals. Memorial donations may be directed to Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104; St. Mary’s Episcopal School, 60 Perkins Extended Memphis, TN 38117; or a charity of the donor’s choice.