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Class of 1948

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Class Notes are posted in the order they are received, with the newest posts on top.

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James Cannon Burns, Jr, was born at home, upstairs and across from the South side of the Methodist Church in McKenzie, TN on May 24, 1921, to the late James Cannon Burns and Mary Bobo Burns. Jim passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 1, at the Penney Retirement Community, outside Jacksonville, Florida. Jim was 100 years of age. He is survived by his children Linda Burns Bayles (Brad), Bob Anderson Burns (Cathy), Ben Anderson Burns (Christina), Kent Anderson Burns (Susan) and Mary Anderson Burns Murray (Jack). Posted 12.13.21

Norman Cooper Frost (BA '43) died April 23. He was 95. Norman received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University three weeks before catching the train for Parris Island after being called up by the United States Marine Corps. After serving in the Pacific theater in World War II, he returned to Nashville where he completed his law degree at Vanderbilt. He was called back to the Marine Corps during the Korean War where he fought in the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He achieved the rank of Captain before being honorably discharged and returning to practice law in Nashville. He began working in the Bell Telephone system in 1953, retiring in 1988 as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Bell South, Inc. in Atlanta. He is survived by his two children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Posted 5.9.18

Criminal defense attorney, Bobby Lee Cook, has been named Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law as this year’s lawyer-in-residence. Cumberland School of Law's lawyer-in-residence program annually invites a distinguished graduate or friend of the law school to visit campus, speaking to classes related to his or her area of expertise. Posted 11.28.16

Edward I. Shaw, a native Tennessean, died September 8. He was 95. Edward began classes at Vanderbilt in 1939, but left college for military service during World War II. During his service, from 1942 to 1946, he fought in the Battle of The Bulge in Germany. After the war, he returned to Vanderbilt and earned his law degree in 1948.  Edward worked for Prudential Insurance for 28 years and then started his own insurance company. He was still a licensed insurance agent and still active in insurance when he passed away. Edward is survived his wife and two daughters, Susan and Michele. Posted 10.17.16

William H. Crabtree (BA’44) died April 7, 2016 in Waterford, Michigan. He was 95. In World War II, he served with the Army Signal Corps team that deciphered the codes used by the Japanese forces. After the war, he married Martha Kirkpatrick (BA’48) and earned his J.D. from Vanderbilt. Crabtree practiced law in Nashville until 1955 when he moved to Washington, D.C. and served as counsel to the judiciary committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and was later employed in the Justice Department's antitrust division. In 1961, he moved to Pittsburgh where he served as counsel for Westinghouse Corporation. In 1968, he came to Detroit where he served as general counsel of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturer's Association until his retirement in 1993. He is survived by his wife, Martha, three children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Posted 5.3.16

Herschiel S. Barnes (BS'40) died October 17. Herschiel earned his undergraduate degree in music education from George Peabody College in Nashville. A World War II veteran, he served from 1941-1945 with the U.S. Army in the European Theatre. Following his tour with the Army, he earned his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. He practiced law in Cookeville for nearly 50 years. He was active in many civic and community organizations. He was a former Cookeville city attorney, a member of the board of directors of Citizens Bank, a member and past chairman of CRMC Board of Trustees, and a 50-year member of the Cookeville Evening Lions Club. Herschiel is survived by his wife of 61 years, Vivian Hicks Barnes; two sons; and a daughter.

C. Dewees Berry IIIC. Dewees Berry III (BA'43) died April 1 in Franklin, Tennessee, after a brief illness. He was 89. Dewees grew up on a farm on Franklin Road and attended Peabody Demonstration School, entering Vanderbilt University in 1939 at age 16. He earned a degree in economics from Vanderbilt in 1943, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt Law School, where he was a staff member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and a member of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. He practiced law for more than 60 years in Nashville and Franklin and was the acknowledged dean of the Williamson County Bar. In the early 1960s, Dewees and several friends started First Franklin Federal, the first savings and loan in Williamson County, where he served as a board member for many years. An avid fan of the Vanderbilt Commodores, Dewees lived to see Vanderbilt win an SEC Tournament basketball championship. He is survived by five children, including alumni Coburn Dewees Berry IV (BA'73, JD'76); Douglas Berry (JD'79); Mary Susan Berry Kennedy (BA'78); and Amanda McNairy Berry Moody (MEd'93); and 10 grandchildren.

William Maginnis Walsh passed away on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. He was a lifetime Memphian, his family having dated back to 1859 in Memphis. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 1938 and Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama in 1942. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served in World War II. He was fortunate to have survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. After the war, he graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School. He passed the Tennessee bar exam and obtained his law license from the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1947 while still attending law school. Walsh began the practice of law in 1948 when he joined Joseph and David Hanover. For nearly all of the next 58 years, he practiced law at Hanover, Walsh, Jalenak & Blair, and then Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, until his retirement in January 2007. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Recipient of the Memphis Bar Association's Lawyer's Lawyer Award (1994). Walsh was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Tullis Walsh. He is survived by two sons; a daughter; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

John Thomas Conners '48 passed away peacefully at home September 8, 2009. He was a founding partner of Boult Cummings Conners & Berry. 

Colonel Jack L. Giannini '48 died on September 7. He had spent much of his career as a single practitioner in Belleville, Illinois, before joining the law firm of a long-time friend, William Enyart, in 1992. He established his Belleville practice after retiring from the Air Force with the rank full Colonel in 1971, after 30 years of military service. Over the course of his career, during which he logged over 5,700 hours of flight time in 22 different types of aircraft and was credited with 97 combat missions, Jack received two Legion of Merit awards, the Air Medical with five clusters, the Bronze Star and other citations. He was rated a Command Pilot. In his legal practice, he often assisted fellow practitioners in matters related to military service. Because of his firm believe that children needed computer skills to be successful, he donated money to local schools for computers, library resources and computer labs. He is survived by his wife Marguerite Giannini and a stepdaughter. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Ellen, and his only son, Roger.

Former Circuit Court Judge Whit LaFon, '45, died at age 91 on March 31, 2009, following a stroke. Whit LaFon was a Jackson High School graduate who led the football team to an undefeated season as captain in 1936. He earned his B.A. as well as his law degree from Vanderbilt University and was a former president of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association. In 1978, David Hardee of Hardee Martin Dauster & Donahoe in Jackson became LaFon's associate, and they practiced together until Whit was appointed to the bench. "Whit cared about people. He always wanted to do what was right," Hardee said. "His practice wasn't devoted to big business, insurance or banks. He represented average working people because he felt like it was his role to make sure they got a fair shake." Whit's sister, Pauline LaFon Gore, waited tables for income and became the 10th woman to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School.

James I. Vance Berry, 81, of the Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry law firm, praised by colleagues for his legal skill and integrity, died August 8, 2006. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Berry attended the University of Virginia Law School before returning to Nashville and entering Vanderbilt University Law School. He joined the law firm of Hume, Howard and David, now known as Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry. His practice was geared toward real estate as well as general corporate practice, estate administration and estate planning. In addition to his legal work and civic involvements, Mr. Berry served as city attorney for the city of Belle Meade, taught at the Nashville School of Law and was founder and president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Susan Rhodes Berry, a son and two daughters.