John T. Nixon died December 19, 2019. Nixon earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and served in the U.S. Army before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt in 1960. He practiced law in Anniston, Alabama, for two years and then served as Anniston’s city attorney for two years before joining the CIvil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1964.
After returning to private practice, he served as a staff attorney in Tennessee’s Office of the State Comptroller from 1971 to 1976, when he moved to Nashville to practice law.
Nixon served as a Tennessee Circuit Court judge from 1977 to 1978 and then as a judge in the Tennessee Court of General Sessions from 1978 to 1980 before he was appointed to a seat on the Middle District of Tennessee in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. He served as the district’s chief judge from 1991 to 1998, when he took senior status. He took inactive senior status in 2016.
Judge Nixon is survived by two daughters. Read his full obituary here. Posted 3.19.20
Richard H. Crawford of Memphis, Tennessee, died May 31. Dick earned his undergraduate degree at Rhodes College. After law school, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and attended Officer Candidate School, serving as a commander of the local Memphis Coast Guard Reserve during the 1960s. Dick practiced law in Memphis and served as a juvenile court judge. In 1989, he went to Washington, D.C. for service during the Gulf War, retiring to Memphis in 1996. In retirement, Dick was a commander in the Military Officers Association of America and the Military Order of the World Wars. Dick is survived by three children. Posted 12.3.19
Charles H. McWherter died October 16. He was a resident of Martin, Tennessee. Charles attended University of Tennessee at Martin, and Union University on a basketball scholarship. He also attended University of Tennessee at Knoxville before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt. In addition, Charles served in the United States Navy. Posted 11.28.16
Shirley Zeitlin Lubetkin (BA’59) died January 21. She was 77. Shirley was the only woman in her graduating class at Vanderbilt Law. An attorney for almost 50 years, she worked at local firm Trabue, Sturdivant and Dewitt for a period of time. She practiced law in Nashville, Tennessee, Detroit, Louisville, Kentucky, Hallandale, Florida, and was a member of the Legal Aid Society. In 1970, she ran for congress in Kentucky. She is survived by her husband, Phil, and her son. Posted 9.17.15
Patrick Henry Mann Jr. was recently named “Man of the Year” in Brownsville, Tennessee. He and his wife, Ann Rule Mann (BA’60) have lived in Brownsville since graduation with their four children, one of whom is Dr. Elizabeth Mann (BS’88). The Manns were honored for their many charitable contributions to the community. Posted 2.25.15
Harris E. Coleman of Olney, Maryland, died December 31. He was 78. Harris earned his undergraduate degree at Penn State and earned an LL.M. at George Washington University after earning his law degree at Vanderbilt. He served in the Judge Advocate General Corps from 1960-64 and then spent his entire career in government service, working at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he developed a specialty in procurement law as a trial attorney in the Federal Highway Administration before transferring to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, from which he retired in 1999. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Benita Lewis Coleman; three sons; and five grandchildren. Posted 1.26.14
Judge Paul Barry Jones died May 12. He was 77. Judge Jones served as Circuit Judge for 18 years for Adair, Casey, Cumberland and Monroe counties in Kentucky. He was District Judge of Adair and Casey counties for two years. He practiced law for 20 years as an attorney with Hurt & Jones Law Office and then with Jones and Jones Law Office. He was also a retired farmer and a former instructor at Lindsey Wilson College. Judge Jones was a member of Columbia Masonic Lodge #96 for over 50 years, member of Columbia Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon for many years and also served as choir/music director. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Kathy Carter Jones; one son; two daughters; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Posted 5.27.14
David Ford Hunt, 82, died March 16. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas, David served as a special agent in the counter-intelligence corps in the U.S. Army from 1954-56. From 1956-58 he served Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity as traveling secretary and served his home chapter at UNT and at SMU as 'High Pi' and president of the house corporations. After graduating from law school, he clerked for a U.S. district judge in Texas before beginning the practice of law in Dallas, specializing in commercial litigation. He was admitted to practice in various federal courts, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as chairman, District 6, Committee on Bar Admissions, State Board of Law Examiners from 1978-87. He served as a past member of Vanderbilt Law School's advisory committee, development committee, and alumni board. He retired from active practice with Jenkins and Gilchrist, in Dallas, in 1995. Posted 3.25.14
W. Mitchell Crawford III (BA'58) died December 19, 2011 in Fayetteville, Tennessee following an extended illness. Mitchell was born February 10, 1936 in Fayetteville, TN. He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at Vanderbilt.At Vanderbilt, Mitchell was an officer of the Kappa Sigma men's fraternity, president of the Young Democrats Club, editor of the Tower, and on the staff of the Dean of Men. He was president of the Vanderbilt University Theater Group from 1963-64 and appeared in several productions. Later, he was a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1960-66. He became a partner of Chambliss Bahner & Crawford in 1965 and established a private practice in Franklin, Tennessee, from 1975-85. He served on many local and state commissions and was very active in the Democratic Party. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Tennessee Department of Employment Security in 1987-96. He retired in 2009 as Assistant District Attorney for Child Support Enforcement of the 17th Judicial district (TN). Mitchell is survived by two sons; seven grandchildren; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; and a host of friends.
Ben F. Loeb, Jr. (BA'55) died September 11, 2011 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ben was Professor of Public Law and Government and Assistant Director of the University of North Carolina's Institute of Government for more than 35 years. Over the course of his long academic and legal career, Ben served as counsel to several committees of the North Carolina General Assembly, including Highway Safety, Wildlife Resources and Transportation. He also wrote numerous books and articles on such topics as motor vehicle law, alcohol beverage control and eminent domain. A native of Nashville, he earned both his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt and then spent two years on active duty as an Army intelligence officer during the Korean conflict. He completed the Military Intelligence School at Fort Riley, Kansas, and the Artillery and Guided Missile School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and was then assigned to the 525th Military Intelligence Group. After his Army service, he returned to Vanderbilt to attend law school. He was an associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity. He is survived by two sons and five grandchildren.
John Goodall Crutchfield died June 28, 2011, at the age of 82. After earning a degree in agriculture from the University of Kentucky, he returned home to transform the family farm in Trenton into a dairy farm. John joined the Navy as an officer and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander serving as an aviator, flying jets and helicopters off of aircraft carriers. After earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, he practiced law for over 50 years rising to partner in the law firm of MacKenzie and Peden. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; two daughters; two brothers; and two sisters.
Jerry Martin died peacefully at home February 3, 2009, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born June 18, 1933 in Crossett, Arkansas. Jerry attended Memphis State University and after graduation entered the Air Force, where he served as a first lieutenant, eventually earning the rank of captain and becoming a navigation school instructor. Encouraged by a former professor, he then entered Vanderbilt Law School, where he was selected for the Vanderbilt Law Review. In 1960, he started a general law practice in Memphis, where he spent a long, successful career representing his clients with his trademark style of engaging professionalism until just a few months before his death and achieved Martindale-Hubbell's Preeminent Rating for attorneys. Always a leader chosen by his peers, Jerry was vice president of his college fraternity, elected president of his law school fraternity, president of the Memphis Junior Bar Association and president of the University Club. He excelled at anything athletic beginning with his first love, high school football, followed by tennis and golf. His competitive tenacity was evidenced both in his pursuit of the game and in his struggle against cancer. Ultimately, however, Jerry's defining characteristics were his love for and his loyalty to his family and friends. Jerry is survived by his wife of 34 years, Carolyn; his three children, Jerry Martin Jr. and Lee Rantzow of Memphis and Kevin Ogilby of Gainesville, Florida, and six grandchildren. Jerry's last two years were enhanced by the compassionate care of his law partner and Vanderbilt classmate, Don Pemberton.