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Class of 1978

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

Do you have news you would like to share or just want to let everyone know what you are up to these days? Submit your class note online, email Class Notes or call 615-322-2606.

Steven Craig Grosland, age 72, from Elgin, IL formerly from Albert Lea, MN, passed away on May 1st. He was born April 20, 1950 in Mason City, Iowa to LaVon and Talora (Throne) Grosland. He is survived by his daughter Dr. Sarah Perkins (Brad). You can read his full obituary here.

JohnCurry  Judge John Curry was sworn in for his second term as a Circuit Judge in Cook County, Illinois in December 2020.  He won his retention election in November, obtaining over 1.6 million votes favoring his retention as judge.  He was evaluated by 19 local bar associations throughout the Chicago area and was found qualified by all of them.  Judge Curry presides in the Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies Section of the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  He is a member of the American, Illinois, and Chicago Bar Associations and is a member of the American Judges Association and the Illinois Judges Association. Posted 2.12.21

 Charles S. Dunn 66, of South Charleston, WV, and Largo, FL, passed away Monday, June 29, 2020, in Largo, FL. Read his full obituary herePosted 12.2.20.

Steve Feldman has retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after 40 years of service.  The Chief of Engineers awarded him the Bronze Order of de Fleury Medal for his outstanding contributions to the Corps’ legal services mission.  In addition to keeping his treatises updated, such as  the Tennessee Practice Series, Tennessee Contract Law and  Practice, his most recent article,  “Actual Agreement, Shared Meaning Analysis, and the Invalidation of Boilerplate:  A Response to Professors Kar and Radin,” will appear in the Summer 2019 issue of the Missouri Law Review. He is currently Of Counsel to Lanier Ford Shaver and Payne, in Huntsville, Alabama, where he specializes in  federal government contracts. Posted 3.25.19

Stuart Campbell, was honored by the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” award. Stuart is a member of Stites & Harbison. Posted 5.9.18

John P. Kelly is practicing of counsel to the Soto Law Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but living in Park City, Utah, and Georgetown, Grand Cayman, British West Indies. Posted 12.15.17

WillmanPhilip L. Willman, of Saint Louis, Missouri has been elected First Vice President of DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago. With 22,000 members, DRI is the largest professional organization in the country exclusively representing defense bar attorneys. Philip is in line to become DRI president in 2019. Posted 10.25.17



Ben Fordham has been appointed interim general counsel of Community Healthy Systems, Inc. upon the retirement of Rachel A. Seifert as executive vice president, secretary and general counsel March 2017. Posted 2.21.17

Philip Willman, principal at Brown and James in Saint Louis, was elected second vice president of the DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar. With 22,000 members, the 56-year old DRI is one of the three most prominent professional organizations for attorneys in the country, and the largest to exclusively represent defense bar attorneys. Phil has been a member of DRI for 30 years and has served on the DRI Board since 2013. Posted 11.28.16

Simon Kimmelman is senior vice president and general counsel for Woods Resources in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Woods' mission is to support children and adults with disabilities or challenges to achieve their highest potential and independence through innovative and individualized approaches that promote learning and personal fulfillment. Previously, Simon was managing partner of the Princeton, New Jersey office of Sills Cummis & Gross where he chaired the Creditors’ Rights/Bankruptcy Reorganization Practice Group. Posted 7.25.16

Gerald D. “Gerry” Neenan died June 6, 2016. He was 62. Originally from East Bloomfield, New York, Gerry graduated from Cornell University in 1975 before earning his J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1978, where he was Order of the Coif. Gerry was a member at Neal & Harwell as well as a member of the Nashville Bar Association and a fellow of both the Nashville Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation. He was the current President of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce and active member of the Nashville Rotary Club. Gerry is survived by his wife and two sons. Posted 7.25.16

Stephen C. Morton (BA’71)  of Dallas died December 28, 2015. He was 66. Steve was raised in Memphis, Tennessee before going to Vanderbilt for his undergraduate education. After service as a Naval Supply and Disbursing Officer in San Diego, California he returned to Vanderbilt for his J.D. After graduation he practiced law in Memphis for three years before moving to Dallas where he worked with several firms as a corporate and securities attorney, eventually founding Morton PLLC in 2001 where he worked until his death. He was active in his church and the Christian Legal Society. He is survived by his wife, two children, two granddaughters, three grandsons, and his sister.   Posted 1.27.16

John J. Curry Jr. was sworn in as a circuit judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Before his election, John was a partner in the litigation department of the Chicago office of Polsinelli and a vice president of the Cook County Republican Party.  He resides with his wife, Jamie, in Barrington, Illinois. Posted 1.27.16

Gilbert Hahn III has written a new book, Four Score and Four: America in 1860 (2014, Gil Hahn) that provides a panoramic view of 1860 America on the eve of the Civil War. Gil serves as general counsel and chief compliance officer for Marvin & Palmer Associates, a global equity management company. Posted 7.8.15

Robert S. Patterson, Sr. was included on the 2015 “Best of the Bar” awards list by the Nashville Business Journal. Bob is a partner in the Nashville, Tennessee office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings where he represents businesses in complex litigation. Posted 5.15.15

A. Stuart Campbell was included on the 2015 “Best of the Bar” awards list by the Nashville Business Journal. Stuart is a partner in the Nashville, Tennessee office of Stites & Harbison and a member of the firm’s business services group. Posted 5.15.15

Gerald D. Neenan, a member at Neal & Harwell, has been elected a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. Gerald focuses his legal practice on business and personal injury litigation, real estate leases and the general representation of closely held businesses. Posted 2.18.15

Deborah Hill Biggers was elected District Court Judge of Macon County, Alabama on July 15, 2014. She becomes the first female state court judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Alabama.
Posted 8.12.2014

Francis Lacey, who taught International and Contract Law at Vanderbilt from 1975-78, passed away on December 8. In 1978, Frank took a position with Phillips Petroleum as an international and domestic contracts attorney where he worked until his retirement. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and their four children. Posted 12.16.13

Patterson,Robert S.Robert S. Patterson, managing partner of the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, has been named to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. An active community leader, Bob also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Arts at the Airport Foundation; and he has served as chairman of the board of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Nashville Convention and Visitors' Bureau, Kids on the Block, and McNeily Center for Children. Posted 8.19.13



Stephenie Kay Cook of Manchester, Maine, died April 1, 2012 surrounded by family at home, ending a brave and dignified journey of nearly three years with ovarian cancer. She was 60. She graduated from Valparaiso University before earning her law degree at Vanderbilt, where she met her husband, Rick Cook (JD'79). She began her legal practice as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. Stephenie successfully transitioned from lawyer to educational leader, with particular dedication to helping and seeing public school students fulfill their aspirations. She served as an elected school committee member for nine years in Sudbury, twice chairing the committee. She then worked with various school districts throughout the Commonwealth, guiding them through challenging leadership projects and issues. Stephenie came to Maine full-time in 2002, serving as executive director of the Maine Educational Leadership Consortium. Most recently she worked with the MELMAC Education Foundation, actively assisting a host of high schools and their students throughout the state. In addition to her husband, Rick, Stephenie is survived by her son and daughter and one grandson.

Charles William "Chet" Gerdts III died peacefully February 16, 2012 in New York City. Chet was a member of the law school's Board of Advisors and had served as the U.S.-based general counsel of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) since 2002. Before becoming head of PwC's U.S. corporate legal staff, Chet was a partner at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he served as the managing partner of the firm's litigation department and on its executive committee. He began his legal career in 1978 at Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine in Manhattan, where he became a partner in 1986. He was featured in an article focusing on Vanderbilt Law alumni serving as general counselsin the fall 2011 Vanderbilt Lawyer. Chet was a member of the New York City Bar Association's 2006 Task Force on the Lawyer's Role in Corporate Governance, served on the ABA's Presidential Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, and was a member of the board of directors for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, where he joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was a member of the Michigama honor society. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth Hume Gerdts, whom he met while both were students at the University of Michigan; their children, Emily and Charles; and a large extended family.

Jay B. Angoff has been announced acting regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region VII, based in Kansas City, Missouri. Jay will join the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs as a senior advisor. Posted 4.17.12

Hoy, ThomasThomas A. Hoy (BA '71), a partner in the Louisville office of Dinsmore, has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors at Seven Counties Services, Inc. Posted 1.27.12




Taylor George '78 George M. Taylor, Class of 1978, is the co-author of the new edition of the BNA portfolio, "Negotiated Acquisitions," released nationwide in March 2011. The new portfolio is part of BNA's acclaimed Corporate Practice Library. George is a partner at Burr & Forman. Posted 3.29.11





Huckstep_Ann '78 WEB

Ann Huckstep, the partner in charge at Adams and Reese Birmingham office has been elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees of YMCA Birmingham. She will serve a three-year term. At Adams and Reese, Ann serves as a member of the firm's health care, real estate, corporate/securities/mergers and acquisitions and economic development teams. For more than 25 years, she has guided companies in cutting-edge issues in health care, real estate and corporate law. Posted 2.2.11



John P. Kelly
, Fort Lauderdale, FL has been selected as a Fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society limited to 3,500 Fellows, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Posted 1.3.11

Stephen Mark Miller died peacefully in his home in Eagleville, Tennessee, on July 27, 2009 after a long battle with cancer. Stephen began his career in Nashville, but established his own practice in Eagleville in 2006, centered on Entertainment and Music law as it involved entertainment and intellectual properties. He was an avid Vanderbilt fan, and an excellent tennis and basketball player. 

George LeCroy Taylor, 55, died in March 2006 at his home. Born September 13, 1950 in El Dorado, Arkansas , he was the son of William Clayton Taylor and Gladys Martha LeCroy Taylor. Past president of South Arkansas Youth Services, he was a member of the Union County Bar Association and Arkansas Bar Association and active in community activities. He was an Eagle Scout, and member and deacon at First Christian Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents; maternal grandparents, Judge George M. and Elizabeth Adair LeCroy; and paternal grandparents, William Washington and Harriet Ellis Taylor.

Mr. Taylor is survived by his wife, Cecile Shackleford Taylor of El Dorado; a son, William Clayton Taylor II of Fayetteville ; a daughter, Claudia Elizabeth Taylor of Little Rock; four sisters, Julia McCleve and her husband Victor of Gilbert, Arizona, Martha McGahey of Columbus, Mississippi, Joyce Robustelli and her husband David of Sheridan, and Ruth Berry and her husband Scott, also of Columbus, Mississippi; 14 nieces and nephews, and numerous other relatives and friends.