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Class of 1958

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

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Wendell Harmon Rorie, 89, former city attorney, long time Hopkinsville attorney and army veteran, has died. Rorie was the senior member of the Atheneum Society, having served since 1960, and was known for his video and travelog presentations. In 2008, the Kentucky Bar Association recognized Rorie for more than 50 years and awarded him Senior Counselor Status. Read his full obituary here. Posted 2.15.21

John W. Boult of Tampa, Florida died October 15. He was 84. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt. He was associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and met and married Jimmy Lou Foster, who was the only female law student in his law class. After law school, he entered the Navy officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, and served for three years as an Appellate Attorney in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy at the Pentagon. Upon his relief from active duty in the Navy, he served for a year as an Appellate Attorney with the Office of the United States Attorney General in Washington, D.C. In 1963 John and his wife and two children moved to Tampa, Florida where John practiced law until his retirement. During the last eleven years of practice, he was a member of the mediation group at the firm of Barr, Murman & Tonelli. He is survived by his son, Ward and two grandchildren. Posted 10.25.17

Halbert Floyd Dennis died April 17 in Chattanooga of cancer. He was 89. A native of Shelbyville, Tennessee, Hal served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1955 and then earned his law degree at Vanderbilt. He represented the 18th District in the Tennessee State Senate. From 1961 to 1967, he served in a number or legal positions with the State of Tennessee, including services as a special legislative analyst to the Tennessee General Assembly and an assistant attorney general. In 1967, Gov. Buford Ellington asked him to investigate the status and needs of Tennessee’s intellectually disabled citizens. Hal produced one of the first comprehensive state plans for this population, later used as a model by other states. An early promoter and organizer of community services for intellectually disabled people, he worked tirelessly to improve their social position and access to equal protection under the law. He championed the principle of “normalization” throughout the U.S.; helped formulate and pass Tennessee’s Right to Education law and its federal counterpart (now IDEA); helped found and secure funding for community-based programs for intellectually disabled people throughout the state; and served as counsel or as an expert witness in landmark federal cases challenging the policy of “warehousing” intellectually disabled citizens. He served on both the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation and as an official delegate of the White House Conference on Children. As a nationally recognized expert on the intersection between the intellectually disabled offender and criminal law, he served as special consultant to the Tennessee Supreme Court and other courts. At Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, he chaired the Department of Special Education and was a research fellow of the John F. Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and director of the Kennedy Center Institute on Youth and Social Development. He wrote numerous books and articles on law and special education, rights of disabled children and adults and educational policy. His first wife preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Pauline Privett Dennis, three children and three grandchildren. Posted 5.18.17

John Fred Watson died June 28 at his home in Germantown, Tennessee. He was 87. Before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt, John received his B.S. in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. John served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950-55, where he received special commendation as base casualty assistance officer at Dover, Delaware Air Base. He then served in the Air Force Reserves, rising to the rank of captain. He had a long legal career in Memphis. Posted 8.23.16

Jimmy Lou Boult of Tampa, Florida, died June 9. She was 82. Jimmy Lou grew up in Scottsboro, Alabama and graduated from Auburn University in 1955 before continuing on to Vanderbilt University, where she was the second woman to graduate from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1958. She is survived by her husband, John Boult (LLB’58) and their son Ward.  Posted 7.25.16

Leonard D. Walberg, age 76, passed away Feb. 26, 2011. Len was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois and Vanderbilt University School of Law. Len practiced law in Harvey and South Holland for over 35 years. He was Village Attorney for Harvey, Attorney for School District 152, President of the South Suburban Bar Association, and president of Olympia Fields Planning Commission. He was also a member of Flossmoor Country Club and First Lutheran Church in Hammond. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Evangelical Lutheran Church or charity of your choice. He is survived by his wife of 44 years Catherine (Kate), O'Leary; daughter Sheila (Vince) Ramacci and Brian; grandfather of one; and numerous nieces and nephews. Posted 3.14.11

Thomas H. Rainey was honored for fifty years in the legal profession on Thursday, September 16, 2010, at a reception at the Jackson Country Club in Jackson, Tennessee. Mr. Rainey is a Member of Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, P.L.C., and has been associated with the Firm since it was founded. Posted 10.5.10

Philip L. Peeler of Memphis, died May 13, 2010. He was 81. Philip earned both his bachelor's (Class of 1951) and law degrees from Vanderbilt . He served in the Navy during the Korean War and retired as a Commander from the Naval Reserve. He served as president of the Downtown Lions Club in Memphis, where he spent his career, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Mental Health Center. He is survived by his wife, Elinor; their son and daughter, and two grandchildren. Posted 7.6.10

Jon H. Moores died July 20, 2009, in Decatur, Alabama. He was 76. A passionate advocate for the law, Jon devoted four decades to the citizens of Morgan County, retiring as a partner with Harris Caddell and Shanks (previously Caddell Shanks Harris Moores and Murphree). He practiced for one year in his hometown of Fayetteville, Tennessee, before marrying his college sweetheart, Charlotte, a native of Decatur, whom he met at camp as a child and then again as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt, where both Moores earned their undergraduate degrees. "He was very smart and a very good lawyer," said Charlotte Moores. "He loved the law." Jon Moores practiced in Decatur until his retirement in 2000. In 1980, he was elected vice president of the Alabama Bar Association. Prior to that, Moores represented Morgan County on the state's Board of Bar Commissions for eight years. Along with serving clients and the state law association, Jon served his church, First Presbyterian, and the community, as a member of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Decatur, the Morgan County Economic Development Association and Decatur Jaycees. In 1981, he and 10 other businessmen created First American Bank in Decatur. The institution provided local financing for the community. Jon served on the bank's board of directors for 22 years. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Moores, their four children, and eight grandchildren. Posted 7.22.09

Walker Taylor Tipton died July 18, 2009, at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital in Memphis. Walker earned his undergraduate as well as his law degree at Vanderbilt. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Major. From 1960-64, he served as Assistant State Attorney General for Tennessee. He also served two terms on the Board of Mayor and Alderman for City of Covington, his hometown, where he spent much of his career. He served as a Special Justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court for six years. During his 25-year tenure on the Covington Electric System Board, he was a member and chair. of He was a Charter Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and served on the Board of Directors for First State Bank and as Tipton County School Board Attorney. He was an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Covington. He leaves his wife, Ann, two daughters, and four grandchildren. Posted 7.22.09

Louis Smigel, of New York City, died January 26, 2009, after a battle with lung cancer. A graduate of Stuyvesant High School and New York University, he was an outstanding attorney in both private practice and while working with the attorney general Louis Lefkowitz, HUD and other government agencies. He is survived by his family, including his wife, Lois, and two children. Posted 2.21.09.

William Styne Brewbaker Jr., 73, a lifelong resident of Montgomery, Alabama, died Monday, January 21, 2008. He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa and played on the varsity tennis team. He served three years in the U.S. Air Force as a staff judge advocate. In 1961, he returned to Montgomery and joined his father in the automobile business and succeeded him as President of Brewbaker Motors. He was president of the Montgomery Automobile Dealers Association, chairman of the Buick Regional Dealer Council, G.M. President's Advisory Board, G.M. National Dealer Council, Time Magazine chairman of the Buick National Dealer Council, Quality Dealer Award (Alabama) 1993.

James Guenther of Nashville, Tennessee, received Howard Payne University's highest honor of an honorary Doctor of Humanities during HPU's Commencement on December 15, 2007. Jim is the senior member of the law firm Guenther Jordan & Price. For more than 40 years, he has served as general counsel for the Southern Baptist Convention. His practice is primarily in areas of law impacting religious bodies and church-related institutions. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Jim earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Vanderbilt. Immediately following graduation from law school and admission to the Tennessee Bar in 1958, he was employed as in-house counsel at the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition to working with his firm, Guenther has represented the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He and other members of his firm provide counsel to several Baptist state conventions and many institutions fostered by those conventions, including 17 colleges and universities as well as local churches. A writer of numerous articles on nonprofit and higher education law, Jim currently co-authors a column on legal issues for IABCU's periodical publication, The Educator. He has also contributed to Ascending Liability in Religious and other Nonprofit Organizations and authored A Memorandum on Ascending Liability, which addresses the legal theories by which liability may be imputed between and among churches and affiliated religious bodies in Southern Baptist life. He is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for Middle Tennessee, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court. Jim and his wife, Patricia, are members of First Baptist Church, Nashville. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Elmore Holmes III, who practiced corporate law for 47 years at what is now Armstrong Allen in Memphis, died July 25, 2005, of a heart attack. Elmore was also an artist who painted birds, nature scenes and people in watercolors. His daughter, Sally Holmes Thomas of Memphis, said her father considered his paintings a "private indulgence." "His friends and family will remember him with affection as, simultaneously, a corporate lawyer moonlighting as an artist and an artist moonlighting as a corporate lawyer," she wrote. After graduated first in his law class, he returned to his hometown of Memphis to practice law. His last day at work was the Friday before his death on Saturday. "He would have been at work Monday if he had been on his feet," said his wife, Sara Matthews Holmes. A founder of the Community Legal Center, he was honored for his work with the center in 1997 with the Tennessee Bar Association's Pro Bono Award. "He was a stickler and a perfectionist," his wife said. "But he also had a light touch with everyone. He was a mentor to many younger lawyers and he enjoyed the teaching role."