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Class of 1963

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(Notes posted in the order they were received, with the newest posts on top.)

John G. Doak, Sr. (BA ’60) died Nov.20, 2017. A Nashville native, John graduated fourth in his class from law school, where he was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and inducted into the Order of the Coif. He served in Vietnam as a pilot and attained the rank of Major in the Tennessee National Guard. Admitted to the Bar in 1963, he worked as a research assistant for Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Weldon White and as analyst for the Tennessee Legislative Council Committee before entering private practiced with the firm of Warfield Entrekin and Jones. After the firm dissolved, he moved to Donelson and started his own firm and over the years had several associates. He recently retired as a sole practitioner. He was chair of Community Education Advisory Council for Metro Schools in 1995, chartered and served as chair of the Luton Mental Health Center in Nashville, and chartered the Percy Priest Sports Fishing Club. John did pro bono work for every church he was involved in, for U.S. military personnel and those in need who couldn't afford a lawyer. John is survived by his wife, Mary, five children, and three grandchildren. Posted 12.15.17

Frederick F. Ehrsam Jr. died March 6. He was 79. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt. Frederick owned his own law practice in Trumbull, Connecticut. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Brown Ehrsam, three children and six grandchildren. Posted 3.22.17

Pierce Winningham (BA ’60) died August 4 in Georgia after an extended illness. He spent his legal career in Nashville. He is survived by four children and several grandchildren. Posted 8.23.16

Robert S. Benham (BA’61) has been appointed as a new member of the board of trustees for William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, CA. Robert worked in Memphis, TN in private practice before serving as a probate court judge for 15 years. Posted 5.23.16

Lew Conner (BA’60) , who practices as counsel with the Nashville office of Waller, received the Nashville Bar Association’s (NBA) John C. Tune Public Service Award. Lew served for four years as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and has practiced law in Nashville for 45 years. He has also served as chief justice of Tennessee’s Special Supreme Court when the validity of the then-existing court was challenged in 1979. He was also a pioneering mediator in the early 1990s and has since medicated more than 800 disputes. Lew also served as NBA president in 1987. Posted 12.17.15

Robert G. Johnston was honored by the Bolivar County Law Association for his fifty years of service.  He serves as city prosecutor in the municipal court of Cleveland. Posted 12.3.15

Thomas H. Peebles III died May 9 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 80 years old. Tom was a member of the Law Review at Vanderbilt Law School, and after graduation he practiced with Trabue, Sturdivant, and DeWitt for 39 years until his retirement. He served as president of the Nashville Bar Association in 1983 and was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Tom is survived by his wife and three sons. Posted 5.15.15

Carlton B. Tarkington died January 20. He was 78. A Nashville native, Tarkington graduated from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College in 1959 before applying to Vanderbilt Law School at the suggestion of a family friend and mentor, Judge Benson Trimble of Davidson County’s Fourth Circuit Court. He was not only admitted, but was also awarded a scholarship. After law school, Tarkington had a successful sales career with West Publishing and then founded a boutique investment firm, Edinburgh Investments, at which he continued to work until shortly before his death. His son, Bruce Tarkington (BA’98), joined the firm after his graduation from Vanderbilt Law School in 2001. Read morePosted 1.26.15

Vincent K. Hubbard (BA'60) died March 4, after an extended illness and injury. He was an accomplished attorney, author, and lifelong learner. Vincent lived in numerous countries, loving the island of Nevis. He established a number of businesses and lived life to its fullest. Posted 3.25.14

Harvey C. Couch III (MA'62), retired Professor of Law at Tulane University, died November 7. Harvey graduated from Hendrix College before receiving his masters and law degrees from Vanderbilt. He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, practiced law in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School before coming to Tulane. He is the author of A Brief History of the Fifth Circuit 1891-1981. An avid reader and Anglophile, Harvey touched the lives of countless acquaintances, colleagues, and former students with his intelligence, wit, and kind, gentle heart. He is survived by his beloved wife, Duane Eagan Couch; three sons; one daughter; and five grandchildren. Posted 11.14.13

Larimore Burton Jr., age 75, of Brentwood, Tennessee, died November 29, 2012. Larry is survived by his wife, Patty; three daughters; and two grandsons. Posted 3.1.13

Robert Martin Harper of Auburn, Ala., died peacefully at his home on Dec. 22, 2011, after a long battle with lymphoma. He was surrounded by family. Judge Harper was a prominent member of the Lee County community. He was elected Circuit Judge for Lee County in 1986 and served three terms before his retirement on Jan. 1, 2005. Judge Harper was born in Opelika, Ala., on April 16, 1938, the son of the late Martin Gilmer Harper and Kathryn Summers Harper Rush. He graduated from Auburn High School in 1956 and Auburn University in 1960. At Auburn, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Scabbard & Blade, Delta Sigma Pi, Plainsman staff and a Distinguished Military Graduate. He attended Vanderbilt University Law School for one year, and graduated from the University of Alabama Law School in 1963. While there, he was a member of the Alabama Law Review, Bench & Bar Legal Honorary and Phi Alpha Delta. Following law school, he served three years in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Captain. He then served as a law clerk to Alabama Supreme Court Justice John L. Goodwyn for a year before joining a Mobile, Ala., law firm. Three years later, he moved to Birmingham, Ala., and practiced law there for four years before returning to Auburn, where he started his own firm, Harper & Meadows. During that time, he served as part-time Assistant District Attorney, Lee County Bar Commissioner and president of the Lee County Bar Association. After his retirement from the bench, Judge Harper practiced law with the firm of Haygood, Cleveland and Pierce for two years. At the request of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he then accepted an assignment as a special Circuit Judge for Shelby County, Ala., where he continued to serve for nearly four years assisting the judges there in keeping pace with a large docket in that fast-growing county. He founded the Hat in the Ring Club, was a member of the Lee County Kiwanis Club and served on the board of directors for Auburn National Bank. Judge Harper was a loving father and devoted husband, brother, uncle and friend. Judge Harper is survived by his wife, Sheree Farrar Harper; daughter, Kathryn Harper Doss (Alex) of Auburn; brother Vandy Harper (Marie) of Auburn; sisters Mary Fraser Harper Torres (Bryan) of Dadeville and Kathryn Rush Hoffman (Shawn) of Seattle, WA; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; Dee Dee Harper, the mother of Kathryn; and his beloved dogs, Haylee and Murphy. Posted 1.10.12

William Crutchfield, Jr., of Chattanooga, passed away April 30, 2011, after a lengthy battle with illness. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, Bill was the son of noted local architect and artist William Crutchfield and Mary Mitchell Crutchfield whose ancestors were pioneer families in Chattanooga. Bill graduated with honors from Baylor School and became one of the earlier under-graduate Morehead Scholars at the University of North Carolina. After earning his JD at Vanderbilt, he began law practice with Chambliss Chambliss & Hodge in 1963, then took a leave of absence for military service. He was a Judge Advocate with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea and spent his final three years of active duty as Depot Judge Advocate of Anniston Alabama Army Depot. He was also an Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. His love for the military continued until his retirement with the rank of colonel. Bill returned to active practice with the same firm in 1968 and was a partner for many years. He is survived by his wife, Pat; his son, Neal Crutchfield; his daughter, Mary Katherine Harper; six grandsons; a granddaughter; and a great-granddaughter. Posted 5.5.11

Stephen Daniel Keeffe died peacefully on June 26 at Manor Care in Bethesda, Maryland at the age of 74 after a valiant two-year battle with cancer. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Ithaca, New York, he earned a B.A. in political science from George Washington University before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt. He had a private law practice in Washington, D.C. for over 35 years. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Mary Ann; two sons, and two daughters. Posted 7.6.10

Wallace Stuart McCloy Jr. died peacefully at his home on December 15, 2008. He was 70. Stuart graduated from Princeton University before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt. He was an avid tennis player who won the Tennessee state championship at age 15, played at Princeton, and continued to play with many Memphis friends. Stuart attained the rank of Captain in the United States Army and then practiced as an attorney in Memphis. His love of great literature accompanied him throughout his life, and he wrote many original plays and poems. Stuart is survived by his five children - Susan Crosby McCloy, Wallace Stuart McCloy III, Elisabeth Keenon McCloy, Wilson Walker McCloy, Margaret Mary Elise McCloy, as well as a step-daughter, Elizabeth McCloy Thompson, and three grandchildren.

Thomas Morombe Black passed away June 3, 2006.

Sylvan Ray Zbinden died peacefully on May 10, 2006. He was born July 4, 1938, to Mildred and Louis Zbinden of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was a graduate of McCallie School, Chattanooga; Rhodes College, Memphis, where he was a Kappa Alpha; and Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville.


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