(Notes posted in the order they were received, with the newest posts on top.)
Thomas Robinson James (BA ’50) of Memphis died January 1, 2017. He was 87. Thomas earned his B.A. in chemistry from Vanderbilt before earning his law degree. Upon graduation he returned to Memphis where he joined his brother in law, W. K “Tag” Weldon and a classmate to form the law firm of Adams, James and Weldon where he practiced until 1972. During those years, he was very active politically and served as Chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission. He then was a partner in Walt, Dyer and James for twenty years, and also created the firm of James, Ray and McEvoy. He was a member of the Memphis Rotary Club, American Bar Association, American College of Mortgage Attorneys, Tennessee and the Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association. He is survived by his wife, Frances Dillard James, his five children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Posted 1.20.17
J. Carter Witt (BA’50) died March 22, 2016 in Sonora, CA. He was 90. Carter enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War II. He returned and earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt. He began law school at Vanderbilt but was called back into service as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer when the Korean War commenced. After the war ended, he completed his law degree at University of San Francisco in 1954. He began working at Mason-McDuffie, eventually rising to partner and oversaw their mortgage operations in northern California until the company sale in 1984. He is predeceased by his wife, Barbara, and survived by four children, four grandchildren and a great-grandson. Posted 5.3.16
Paul D. Kelly Jr., age 86, of Jasper, Tennessee, died November 16. Paul served in the United States Army and was stationed in Italy. Following law school, Paul had a solo law practice in Jasper, Tennessee, and later formed Kelly and Kelly Attorneys at Law, where he remained of counsel after his retirement. He served on the board of directors of Marion Trust and Banking Company as well as the Pioneer Bank in Chattanooga. He also served as city attorney for the town of Jasper. In addition to serving on the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and the American College of Trial Lawyers, Paul was also a member and former president of the Marion County Bar Association. He also served on the board of governors for the state of Tennessee and was a member of both the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane Ferris Kelly; three children; and six grandchildren. Posted 11.25.13
Alfred "Alf" T. Adams Jr. (BE'49), age 85, died on May 21, 2013. Alf graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy and served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-46 before graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering in 1949 and Vanderbilt Law School in 1952. He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 1953. Alf practiced law in Nashville from 1952 until he retired in 2002. He moved to Beersheba Springs to live in the log home he built for his family. He did residential construction, surveying, farming, beekeeping and caretaking of the Adams family homes on the mountain. He married Patricia Riley Fleming of Greensboro, NC in 2003. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, a charter member of the Nashville City Club, director and General Council of the Nashville Union Rescue Mission.
Allen Shoffner has published his fifth book, The Adventures of a Tennessee Farm Boy: A Journey from the Farm to the Courtroom, has recently been published. The book tells of Allen's early life growing up on a Bedford County farm during the Great Depression and of his 56 years in practice as a trial lawyer. Allen, who is 86, started his own law practice in his hometown of Shelbyville after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, and practiced there until he retired in 2009. Read a story about Allen's book in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette. Posted 7.19.12
Ed W. Hughes died July 24, 2009, in Phoenix. For 17 years he was a Judge in the Arizona Superior Court. Ed served as a fighter pilot Colonel in the US Air Force during World War II. After the war, he was a Brigadier General in the National Guard. Survivors include his wife, Maria, a stepson and two granddaughters.
Hon. Matthew J. Vitanza, 81, of Ormond Beach, Fla., a former City Court Judge in Binghamton, New York, passed away on November 13, 2007. Judge Vitanza is survived by Mary, his wife of 57 years; and his sons and daughters-in-law, Matthew and Susan Vitanza, Johnson City, N.Y., Mark and Sharon Vitanza, Conklin, N.Y., Luke and Theresa Vitanza, Mooresville, N.C.; and daughters and sons-in-law, Celeste and Mark Belyea, Ormond Beach, Fla., and Margaret and Bob Ciganek, Endwell, N.Y.; as well as 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He received his B.A. from Syracuse University and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during WWII. He practiced law, serving in leadership positions in various civic, fraternal and religious organizations until 1972 when he was appointed, and later elected, to five terms as City Court Judge of Binghamton. After retiring in 1996, Judge Vitanza moved to Ormond Beach, Fla., and was involved in distributing The Pulmonary Paper, a not-for-profit newsletter for people with chronic lung disease.
Herbert B. Moriarty Jr., 78, died August 27, 2007 at the Veterans Home in Montrose, New York where he succumbed to complications of Alzheimer's Disease. Herbert was the only child of Herbert B. Moriarty, Sr. and Kathleen Prindaville Moriarty, notable Memphians who were active in religious and civic organizations. He was a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, Vanderbilt University (B.A. and J.D.), and Memphis State University (M.B.A.). Herbert took pride in completing his studies at the top of his class and/or a year early. He served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and was honorably discharged as a Captain. Herbert worked in the private practice of law for over 40 years including litigation, corporate, personal and real property matters. His seminal case against Velsicol Chemical resulted in one the highest punitive damages award of its time and helped propel the nascent environmental law field. He was also active in his community by representing his constituents on the Shelby County Commission and in the State Legislature (where he authored a resolution leading to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case known as "one man, one vote" and consequently the statewide restructuring of Tennessee's 95 county governments); and presiding as President and/or on Boards of Directors of civic organizations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Memphis Chapter), National Conference of Christians and Jews, Goodwill Industries, Kiwanis Club and the Legal Aid Society (forerunner to Memphis Area Legal Services) for which he was also a founding member. He was also active in, and held fond memories of, many social organizations and events such as the Cotton Carnival (for which he presided as Prince), Sigma Chi Fraternity and the University Club of Memphis. Herbert extended equal energy and passion into his athletic and social interests. After lettering in Track at Vanderbilt, he returned to his love of running in the late 1970's and began a long-distance running career that lasted over 20 years. Aside from pounding the pavement of the Poplar Avenue corridor almost daily, he ran countless marathons even venturing into ultra-marathons and receiving medals in the Senior Olympics. He inspired many local runners young and old with his dedication to the sport. Among his social circle, he will be remembered as a beloved friend with diverse interests, ebullient charm, contagious wit and humor, extraordinary joie de vivre and the Irishman's "gift of the gab" that infused energy into any gathering or conversation. He moved through his life with a winning smile and his hand always extended, so as to never meet a stranger. He is missed by many family and friends. He is survived by six children and five grandchildren.
Logan A. Hipp Jr., 82, died January 29, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas. Born in Memphis, Logan was the manager of USF&G Ins. Co. for 35 years. Known as "Champ", as named by Jack Dempsey, Logan served in the United States Marines in WWII, before earning his law degree.
Herman O. Loewenstein of Nashville,Tennessee, died December 8, 2005 at his home. Herman had been a practicing attorney since 1952. He was born in Hamelin, Germany, and received his elementary school education in Germany and England. He served two years in the United States Air Force Counter Intelligence Corps as a Special Agent in Germany. He was instrumental in recruiting German Scientists to work on the United States rocket programs. Herman entered Vanderbilt University in 1947 and earned his B.A. degree in 1950, majoring in political science and economics, before earning his law degree. A chair at the law school was endowed in his honor.
Jay Alan "Skip" Hanover passed away on November 12, 2005. Skip was an elected member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1956 to 1961. He began his law practice with his late father David and uncle, Joseph Hanover, each distinguished lawyers in Memphis. During his legal career, Skip headed the law firm mostly know as Hanover, Walsh, Jalenak & Blair. Skip, respected as a zealous advocate and loved as a loyal and committed law partner and mentor to many, was widely known and recognized as a champion of the legal profession, having become both a Master of the American Inns of Court and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
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