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Class of 1955

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

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Harold Edward Moore passed away November 4, 2020. Harold served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Harold worked with the office of the state attorney general in Austin before joining the industrial relations department of General Dynamics in Fort Worth. He also was a member of the General Dynamics Speakers Bureau. Harold was General Manager of North Texas Contractors Association. He made agreements with local unions in a 29-county area of North Texas to act legally as their bargaining agent. Read his full obituary here. Posted 2.12.21

Donald D. Hildebrand died April 14, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 91. Read his full obituary here. Posted 9.23.20

Beresford “Bere” L. Church died January 6, six years after suffering a stroke. Read more herePosted 3.25.20

Tom Avery of Memphis, Tennessee, died Sept. 10, at the Memphis courthouse. He was reputed to be the oldest practicing attorney in Shelby County. He was a founding partner in Robinson Fisher & Avery, which he founded with Vanderbilt classmate William H. Fisher III in 1965. Tom served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. In 1973, he was a lobbyist and chief draftsman for the Shelby County Restructure Act, which provided the foundation for the current County Commission form of government. He later served three terms on the Shelby County Election Commission, and in 1981 was appointed by Gov. Lamar Alexander to serve as judge of the Circuit Court Division VIII. Tom returned to private practice after retiring from the bench. He is survived by his daughter and his companion, Barbara Kleitsch. Posted 12.3.19

Harold Alfred Bowron, Jr. (BA’52) died June 16. He was 87. Harold was a native and resident of Birmingham, Alabama for 72 years. He was an accomplished Navy pilot. After leaving the Navy, Harold completed both his undergraduate and legal studies at Vanderbilt. He went on to join the firm Balch and Bingham and was recognized for his accomplishments as a trial lawyer by being inducted as a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Harold is survived by his wife, Anne; his daughter, Lucy; and his sons, Edward, Mark, and James. Posted 7.17.15

William Henry Fisher III (BA’53) of Memphis, Tennessee, died June 4 after a long illness. Bill received both his undergraduate degree and his law degree from Vanderbilt University. At the Law School, he was an associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. He won a fellowship at New York University Graduate Law School, where he earned an LL.M. Bill served for a year as administrative head of New York University Graduate Law School’s trade regulations program and taught courses in trade regulations law before returning to Memphis, Tennessee in 1957. Bill liked to say that during the 60 years that he practiced law in Memphis, he had done everything that a lawyer can do at least once. He also taught on the adjunct law faculty at Memphis State University. He was selected for membership in American Board of Trial Advocates based on his achievements as a trial lawyer. In his leisure time, Bill was an avid fisherman. He is survived by his wife, Valerie Futris Fisher; his son, William H. Fisher IV; and his daughter, Melanie Fisher Rice (Kirk). Posted 6.22.15

John William Dietzen (BA'53) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died March 17. He was 83. Bill earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He served in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Germany, and practiced law continuously from 1955 to his death excluding a two-year hiatus for military service. He is survived by his wife; son; and two daughters. Posted 3.24.15

Joseph Francis Orso, Jr. of Williamsport, Pennsylvania died January 21, 2014. He was 86. Joe had a legal career that included service as Lycoming District Justice District 1 in Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife and five children. Posted 3.24.15

White, Joe '55

Joseph R. White Jr. died June 11. A graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy, Joe earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School where he served as associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association. From 1955 through 1958, Joe served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, living with his wife in Yokosuka, Japan, for the last two years of his naval service. In January 1959, he joined the Atlanta law firm of King & Spalding, and then served as counsel for Georgia International Corporation from 1964-69. In 1970, he joined the Atlanta firm, Troutman Sanders, where he served in a variety of administrative positions, including administrative partner and chairman of the firm's international practice group. He retired from Troutman Sanders at the start of 2000. Joe was a former Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 298 at Northside, where he helped over 20 young men, including his sons, Palmer and David, acquire the rank of Eagle Scout. He was chairman for three years of The Japan-America Society of Georgia, and active in the Society for over 30 years, during which time he and his wife were honored to welcome Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to Atlanta for their two day visit in 1994. In 1999, Joe received the Japan-America Society Mike Mansfield Award, which was given in recognition of his untiring efforts to improve the relations between the people of Japan and the people of the United States. He was a member of The Capital City Club. Joe is survived by his loving wife, Barbara; three children; and six grandchildren. Posted 6.13.12

Thomas Weissinger Schlater III (A&S'52) died on July 26, 2011. He was 87. A native of Nashville, Tom graduated Cadet Major from McCallie School in Chattanooga before earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt. After practicing law with Boult Cummings, he became a founding partner of Taylor Schlater, which later became Taylor Schlater Lassiter Tidwell and Trentham. A litigator for 35 years, Tom excelled in the courtroom. He also served as the first City Judge of Brentwood from 1969 to 2009. He was also an accomplished pilot with an instrument rating who dabbled in acrobatic flying and worked on his "greased landings." Tom was an active man who enjoyed snow and water skiing and is remembered for patiently teaching his daughters and friends to water ski at Center Hill Lake. He is survived by wife of 22 years, Jane Violette Schlater, three daughters and three grandchildren. Posted 10.18.11

Lowell G. Burger passed away on August 25, 2008, at his home in Lebanon, Illinois. Posted 6.16.09

Richard Taylor passed away on January 26, 2007 at age 75. Taylor was the retired co-founder of the Nashville firm Taylor, Pigue and Marchetti (now Taylor, Pigue, Marchetti & McCaskill). He was elected in 1963 to the original Metro Council, created as the governments of Davidson County and the city of Nashville were consolidated, and he served until 1971. A graduate of Father Ryan High School who earned both undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt, Richard served as counsel to the Catholic Diocese of Middle Tennessee and was active with the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, Cumberland Heights and the Alcohol and Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, among other organizations. He is survived by his wife, Caroline, three sons, a daughter, 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Donald Hildebrand has now been retired several years after 42 years of trial practice in Nashville, and he now writes historical novels. "The Community House" was published by iUniverse, a Barnes and Noble publisher, on August 26, 2006 and is being sold through them and on Don also continues to produce and host a legal talk show on Nashville's Channel 19, called "Law: Cases & Comment."