William A. Edwards (BA '54) died Thursday, February 6. Read his full obituary here. Posted 4.30.20
James S. Gilliland (BA ’55) died after a decades long career influencing political and social change, both locally and nationally. Read more here. Posted 4.7.20
Robert Alden Brown (BA ’52) died December 12. He was 89. He earned both his undergraduate and law degree from Vanderbilt. Bob was a member of Beta Theta Phi social fraternity and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity while at Vanderbilt. He served in the US Navy as a communications officer in a destroyer division and upon returning to Nashville practiced law for several years. Most of Bob’s business career was spent in rehabilitating businesses and he was CEO at Allvan Corporation, a truck body and Curtainsider manufacturing business in Lavergne, Tennessee. He was a member of the Nashville Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association and Rotary International. He is survived by his two daughters and four grandchildren. Posted 1.15.18
Bill J. Davis of El Dorado, Arkansas died Feb. 12. He was 88. He attended the University of Arkansas for his undergraduate education before earning his J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School. He was a member in good standing with the Arkansas Bar Association and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and also served in the U. S. Navy with the submarine corps. Bill is survived by his two sisters, three nephews, great-nephew, great-nieces and a large extended family. Posted 2.25.16
Elmer L. Cooke of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, died January 21. He was 87. He graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and served as a ranger trainer in the U. S. Army during the Korean Conflict before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt. Elmer practiced law in Lawrenceburg and then served as an assistant district attorney until 1963, when a debilitating car accident rendered him unable to practice law. He later became a self-employed entrepreneur in real estate. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Cooke, two daughters, one brother, one sister, three step-children, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Posted 2.25.16
John Jay Hooker Jr. died Jan. 24. He was 85. An attorney, businessman and candidate for governor of Tennessee, Hooker began the last campaign of his life after learning he had metastatic myeloma: the passage of a “d
John Hollins Sr. (BA'55)
, died Jan. 7. He was 83. After receiving both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Vanderbilt, he went on to serve as president of the Nashville Bar Association, as assistant district attorney and a trial lawyer who practiced litigation, complex domestic relations cases and criminal cases. He is perhaps best known for his role in one of the most notorious cases in Nashville’s history, the murder of 9-year-old Marsha Trimble. He is survived by his wife, Carol; three children; and four grandchildren.
Posted 1.27.16eath with dignity” law similar to that passed in Oregon. He is survived by his four children. Posted 1.27.16
Richard Carr Cochran (BA’52) of Fairfield, Illinois died September 3. He was 85. Richard earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps between his two degrees. Richard held a law practice in Fairfield from 1959 until his retirement in 1998. He was assistant state's attorney for Wayne County 1952 to 1972 and city attorney for Fairfield 1967 to 1977 as well as corporate counsel for multiple area schools and towns. He is survived by his wife, Anne; three children; and six grandchildren. Posted 9.17.15
The Sidney Hillman Foundation awarded the inaugural George Barrett Award to Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery Alabama. The award is named in honor of George, known for his role in the civil rights and labor movements, as well as other important social causes. Posted 4.26.15
Alfred E. Wehby died March 17. He was 82. After earning his law degree from Vanderbilt, Al practiced law in Nashville for more than 30 years including service as an assistant district attorney. He is survived by his wife; three daughters; and two sons. Posted 3.24.15
Harry Ward Camp died January 27. He was 83. Harry practiced law in Tennessee for more than 50 years. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jane; two children; and two grandchildren. Posted 2.18.15
George Barrett , Class of 1957, the indefatigable Nashville civil rights lawyer who called himself “The Citizen,” has died at 86. The cause of death was acute pancreatitis. Barrett had continued his law practice until two weeks before his death August 26.
A founding partner of Barrett Johnson Martin and Garrison, Barrett worked full-time on behalf of voters, laborers, investors and other clients and groups until his final illness. “I didn’t go to law school to be a corporate lawyer,” he told countless audiences at talks and panel discussions that became part of his weekly routine later in life. “I went to law school to represent working people.” Read the full obituary here. Posted 8.27.08
George E. Barrett was one of 10 Tennessee individuals and organizations honored in March by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission for his work on behalf of civil rights. George was recognized for his role in the class action lawsuit Geier v. University of Tennessee, which desegregated the state's public higher education system, his work in numerous other civil rights cases, and his service on the Governor's Commission on Human Relations and other state commissions. He is currently appealing a state court decision that upheld the constitutionality of Tennessee's voter identification law. Posted 3.13.13
Arnold S. Schickler (BA'55) participated in the 23rd Annual NYC Century Bike Tour on Sunday, September 9. Sunday morning 6,400 participants gathered in Central Park at 6:00AM. Arnie was one of roughly 100 participants who completed the full 100 mile course. Posted 9.24.12
Thomas Lockyear, of Evansville, Indiana, died July 18, 2012. He was 79. Tom began his studies at the age of 16, earning both his undergraduate and law degree at Vanderbilt. He was also a United States Army Veteran, who served in the Korean War. Tom practice law as a certified mediator, public defender, justice of the peace, and county attorney for 28 years before being appointed Vanderburgh Superior Court Judge in 1985 by Governor Orr and served for 12 years. Upon his retirement, he attained Senior Judge status and served in that capacity until his death. Tom served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Judge Association; Board of Directors of the Judicial Conference of Indiana; Judicial Representative for the Evansville Bar Association; Judicial Representative of the Southwestern Indiana Mental Health; Vanderburgh County Job Study Committee; Evansville Bar Association, where he was awarded the James Bethel Grisham Freedom Award; Kennel Club and Evansville Quarterback Club. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Nina (Tison) Lockyear; a daughter; two sons; a step-daughter; a step-son; three grandchildren; four great grandchildren; and many extended relatives.
Frank Jasper Runyon II of Clarksville, Tennessee, died February 29, 2012. He was 83. An Eagle Scout, he graduated from Clarksville High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Prior to earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, Frank volunteered with the U.S. Navy to serve his country in the Korean War. Following law school, he returned home to Clarksville to practice law with his father. Frank served two terms in the state legislature from 1967-70. While in private practice, he was legal counsel to the City of Clarksville from 1959-91 and to the Clarksville Electric Power Board from 1959 to 2005. Active in his community, Frank served in many positions, including as president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association, and the Clarksville Downtown Kiwanis Club, as a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and as chairman of the United Way Giving Fund. He was a founding member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society and a longtime member of the Blue Wing Hunting Club. Frank is survived by his wife, Sheila Bowman Runyon; five children; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Kenneth Alan Sunne passed away March 22, 2011 after struggling with a respiratory illness. He was 82. Ken was born in Westminster, Massachusetts, and graduated from Fitchburg High School in 1948. He went on to graduate from Boston University in 1951, and after serving in the Army, he attended Vanderbilt Law School where he met his wife Una. After marrying in 1958, the couple moved to Clearwater, Florida and Ken practiced law for the next 51 years. He founded Sunne, Keiser & Locke in 1972; served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Clearwater from 1969 to 1975; and was a member of the Florida Bar, the Clearwater Bar, Carlouel Yacht Club, Belleair Country Club and the Church of Ascension. He was preceeded in death by his wife, Una, and his son Christian. He is survived by daughters Celia Sunne and Anne Freeman and three grandchildren.
James F. Neal ('57), died October 21, 2010. He was 81. Jim spent much of his career as a high-profile trial lawyer with Neal & Harwell, the firm he cofounded in 1971 with Aubrey B. Harwell Jr., Class of 1967.Neal, who had been recognized as one of the county's top trial lawyers for more than four decades, was profiled in a 2009 American Bar Association Journal article on “Lions of the Trial Bar,” a piece which also featured another Vanderbilt Law graduate, Bobby Lee Cook, Class of 1949. Neal told ABA Journal writer Mark Curriden that he had learned one of the keys to his success while playing football at the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate. “The coach used to say, 'The team with the fewest mistakes during the game will win,'” Neal said. “It was true in football and it is true in the courtroom.”
Neal gained national attention early in his legal career, when he served as a special assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. In 1961, he began investigations that ultimately led to the prosecution of labor leader James Hoffa over alleged corruption in the Teamsters Union. After that prosecution ended in a mistrial, Neal successfully prosecuted Hoffa for jury tampering two years later. Read the full profile.
Alfred E. Abbey, passed away Sunday, September 26, 2010. He was 81 and practiced law until his final illness. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame and serving as a commander in the U.S. Navy's Intelligence Division, Al earned his law degree at Vanderbilt. The class of 1957 was later described by a journalist as possibly “the most impressive and influential group [Vanderbilt Law School] ever sent packing into the real world.” Even among this distinguished group, he excelled, serving as the managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and graduating Order of the Coif. After working for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Al returned to Nashville and joined the Life & Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee. In 1970, he joined the firm then known as Trabue Minick Sturdivant & Harbison, and practiced at this firm and its successors, Trabue Sturdivant & DeWitt and Miller & Martin, for the next 40 years, specializing in corporate and securities law, federal taxation and real estate. He served as a member of the Board of Directors (1977-80) and as first vice president (1979-80) of the Nashville Bar Association. He was preceded in death by his wife and son. He is survived by three daughters, Sheryl Abbey Wehby, Maureen Dunn Abbey, Karen Abbey Giunta and Diane Abbey Dimberg, and seven grandchildren.
William H. Vaughn Jr. died January 6, 2009, in Charleston, South Carolina. He was born April 21, 1930, in Ashland, Kentucky, and earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, and then served as a Naval Reserve Officer for more than 20 years. He was dedicated to the practice of law, especially to admiralty law, and served as the General Counsel for the South Carolina State Ports Authority for more than 30 years. Bill was a member of the Carolina Yacht Club, St. David's Society, the Propeller Club of Charleston, and one of the first Eagle Scouts in Kentucky. He was an avid runner who would often be seen running around the Charleston Battery. He is survived by his wife, Mary Barnwell Vaughn, two sons and a daughter, and three grandchildren.
Constantine G. Demmas, a long-time resident of New Orleans and a giant of the insurance industry, died May 7. Con was born in St. Louis, the third of four children of Greek parents who immigrated to the United States from Castania near the Albanian border. He excelled in football and academics, and matriculated to the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. After one year with the Rose Bowl champion fighting Illini, he transferred to Vanderbilt where he also played football, and he continued his education at Vanderbilt Law School. Following two years in the U.S. Army's intelligence unit, he began his career with Mutual of New York, eventually finding his way to New Orleans. He earned numerous awards in the insurance business and is recognized for creating the product "Split Life" which revolutionized the industry. He became vice president for marketing at Kelso & Co. and later specialized in ESOP plans for privately held businesses. While his later career saw his consulting business thrive, he also played a hand in the development of downtown New Orleans and the Warehouse district, most notably the development of the Hilton Garden Inn. Con was an active member of his community and served on the boards for the McGehee School, the Bright School, and the Children's Hospital. He was a member of the Krewe of Rex, the Pickwick Club and New Orleans Country Club. Con is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Bartlett (BA'59); two children; two grandchildren; and his brother, Arthur George Demmas (BA'56) of Nashville.