Tag Archives: obituary

A roundup of tributes to the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Collected comments on the passing of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson:

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
“Very few people can light up the room the way Fred Thompson did. He used his magic as a lawyer, actor, Watergate counsel, and United States senator to become one of our country’s most principled and effective public servants. He was my friend for nearly fifty years. I will miss him greatly. Honey and I and our entire family send our love and sympathy to Jeri and the Thompson family.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
“Fred Thompson served the people of Tennessee and America with great honor and distinction … From the courtroom to Capitol Hill to Hollywood, his larger than life personality was infectious and had a way of making all of those around him strive to be better. Through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from, and our state and country miss his common sense approach to public service. I greatly appreciated his friendship and am saddened to learn of his passing. Elizabeth and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Jeri, the Thompson family and all those who were impacted by Fred’s life.”

Former Vice President Al Gore Jr.
“At a moment of history’s choosing, Fred’s extraordinary integrity while working with Senator Howard Baker on the Watergate Committee helped our nation find its way. I was deeply inspired by his matter-of-fact, no-nonsense moral courage in that crucible.”

Ryan Haynes, Tennessee GOP chairman
“The news of Senator Thompson’s passing gives me a heavy heart. This is a sad moment for all of us as our state has lost a larger-than-life figure. His quick wit, his hospitality, and his conservative beliefs reflected the best attributes of Tennessee. Senator Thompson was a statesman in every sense of the word. He will be missed as much for his friendship as he will for his leadership.”

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
“Working at his side in the Senate for eight years, Fred embodied what has always been the best of Tennessee politics — he listened carefully and was happy to work across the aisle for causes that he believed were right.”

Craig Fitzhugh, state House Democratic leader
“Pam & I were sad to learn about the passing of Senator Fred Thompson. From his time as a young attorney on the Watergate Committee to his years in the United States Senate, Fred Thompson leaves behind an honorable legacy of public service. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family, especially his son Tony, during this difficult time.”
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Tributes to Lois DeBerry

Here are some comments on the passing of state Rep. Lois DeBerry:

From House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh:

“I have known Lois DeBerry since 1974 when I was first elected to the House of Representatives. She had been elected just two years earlier and we were best friends from the very beginning. 

“Lois is a true Tennessee stateswoman. In the Legislature she led the way on a number of issues important to all Tennesseans including healthcare, education, corrections oversight, and economic development. The Lois DeBerry Center in Nashville, named after her, revolutionized the way we dealt with our incarcerated population and she deserves much of the credit for bringing our prison system out from under federal oversight and into the 21st century.  

She served with, worked with and provided advice not only to legislators but also to seven Tennessee Governors including Governors Haslam, Bredesen, Sundquist, McWherter, Alexander, Blanton and Dunn.  They all respected her opinion and listened closely to her advice.   

During my 18 years as Speaker of the House, Lois served as Speaker Pro Tempore–the first African American woman to fill this role. She was my constant helpmate and someone I could count on during those difficult days in the legislature. In 2000, the National Conference of State Legislators recognized Lois with the William Bulger Award for Legislative Leadership. This prestigious prize is given to one legislator each year who promotes the good of legislative institutions by displaying real leadership qualities, including honesty, integrity and hard work. That was the Lois we all knew. 

 Lois loved this state. She loved the people of this state.  She was the voice for people all across this state, who could not speak out for themselves in our governmental process; the poor, the oppressed, the proverbial people standing in the shadows of life.   She rebuffed repeated calls to run for higher office. In 1994 she even turned down a prestigious federal appointment from President Clinton, telling him that her work in Tennessee was simply not finished. 

I will miss Lois DeBerry. I will miss sitting with her on the floor of the House Chamber. I will miss her laughter and her great sense of humor that I saw so often in our daily discussions. I will miss her example and her leadership for our state. But most of all, I will miss my best friend.”

From House Speaker Beth Harwell:

“Lois DeBerry dedicated her life to service. From the Civil Rights Movement, to becoming the first female African-American Speaker Pro Tempore, Lois always made public service a priority. The impact she has had on this great state, the lives of countless Tennesseans, and people all across the country is astounding. She certainly made her mark on history, and it was an honor to know her and serve alongside her in Tennessee General Assembly. I valued our friendship, and will deeply miss her sage advice, and her remarkable sprit and smile. Her dedication to children’s issues, women’s issues, and criminal justice reform have resulted in a better Tennessee. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

From House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh:

“Lois DeBerry was my friend and my mentor. From my first day on the hill in 1994, she was someone I could turn to in every situation. She taught me the importance of working across party lines to get things done for the state, but also to never be afraid to stand up for a cause–even if sometimes you stand alone. Lois was a fighter. She always fought and fought hardest for children. She fought for those on the margins of society and for the city of Memphis which she loved so dearly. Most recently she waged a courageous battle against cancer, inspiring everyone with her upbeat attitude and her determination to survive. I loved Lois DeBerry. Her absence will leave a hole in the House that no one can fill; we are a better state for the service she provided. God rest her soul and be with her family during this difficult time.”

From Gov. Bill Haslam:

Coming in as a new governor, Lois quickly became one of my favorite people on Capitol Hill because of her wit, charm and dedication to her constituents. Lois was a history maker, a wonderful woman, a great legislator and a true friend. I will miss her.”

From Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron:

“Speaker Lois DeBerry was one of America’s Heroes and one of God’s Saints. “So many of us owe her so much. Speaker DeBerry led, she inspired, she witnessed with a spirit filled with The Spirit.
“Much will be said in the days ahead. Not enough can be said. We mourn her passing and celebrate her life.”
From U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:
“Lois DeBerry will be remembered as a tireless advocate for her community, and as one of the longest-serving women lawmakers in the nation and the first African-American female speaker pro tempore in the House, Lois’ legacy will be remembered in Memphis and across our state for generations to come,” said Corker. “I appreciate her many years of public service and her friendship and kindness. My heart goes out to her family during this difficult time.”
From Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle:
“Lois DeBerry was a peerless leader for her community, her city and for all women. It’s a uniquely American story – a woman who became frustrated with the conditions in her community and dedicated her life to making it better, rising to heights that no African American woman had seen before in Tennessee. We are deeply saddened by her passing.”
From Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney:
“Before I ever ran for office, I was motivated and inspired by the leadership of Lois DeBerry. She intentionally focused on tough issues, daring others to join her, and by her words could inspire people to take action and get involved. Tennessee has lost a great leader today.”
From House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus Lois DeBerry, a legendary figure in Tennessee political history. I had the distinct privilege to serve with Lois in the House of Representatives for 9 years and I enjoyed our friendship. Her knowledge, experience and delightful personality will surely be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen (via CA story, HERE)
“Forget Democrat. Forget African-American. Forget state legislator. Lois is one of the individuals I trust the most for her counsel and advice,”
 

Rev. Will Campbell, Country Preacher and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 88

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Rev. Will Campbell, a white minister who drew acclaim for his involvement in the civil rights movement, has died at the age of 88.
John Egerton, a close friend of Campbell’s for nearly 50 years, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Campbell died Monday night from complications following a stroke he had about two years ago. Egerton said he was contacted by Campbell’s son, who was at the minister’s bedside in Nashville when he died.
“He never really recovered from it,” Egerton said of the stroke.
Campbell was born in 1924 in Amite County, Miss.
After a stint in the military, he attended Yale, where he got a divinity degree in 1952 and then headed to Taylor, La., to preach at Taylor Southern Baptist Church.
He later came to Nashville, where he was described as a staunch leader for civil rights, and was well respected by others in the movement.

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Charlie Galbreath, Former Judge, Dies at Age 88

From The Tennessean:
Charles Galbreath, an appeals judge, state legislator and defender of the downtrodden who was widely regarded as one of the most flamboyant power brokers of his generation, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville.
He was 88.
Mr. Galbreath, who went by Charlie, had been ill with Alzheimer’s disease and recently developed pneumonia, Joyce Galbreath, his wife of 63 years, said Thursday.
A Nashville native and the son of a man who owned a chain of grocery stores, Mr. Galbreath had aspirations in theater that preceded his storied legal and political career. In the 1940s, he studied drama at Carnegie Hall in New York before attending Cumberland University of Law. Throughout his career, he blended the stage and the gavel — often to the chagrin of colleagues and opponents alike.
A 1968 Tennessean profile, written before he was elected to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, described Mr. Galbreath as a “loud, elusive enigma” and said he “has always made the legal profession a little nervous.”
He performed weddings in oddball places, including on a Ferris wheel and in a bar.
Although his theatrics often garnered more attention than his accomplishments, many said Mr. Galbreath’s contributions to the state’s judicial system were substantial. They began when he served as a state legislator from 1960 until his election to the bench. He switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party before he sought the appeals court seat.
…Perhaps most notably, Mr. Galbreath in 1963 pushed a bill in the legislature that created the state’s public defender post. He then became Tennessee’s first public defender.
…His notoriety reached its peak in the mid-1970s, when Mr. Galbreath, a sitting Court of Criminal Appeals judge, wrote a letter to the editor of Hustler (he was a close friend of Larry Flynt, the pornographic magazine’s publisher) that said a certain sex act was still considered “unnatural and illegal” in some states. The letter, which used gutter slang that shocked and appalled the state’s legal establishment, reverberated for years among Tennessee lawyers.
…Mr. Galbreath also made headlines after being arrested for jaywalking in Columbus, Ohio, and for selling Cuban cigars out of his law office.

Dixie Taylor-Huff, Democratic Activist, Dies at Age 71

Dixie Taylor-Huff, president and CEO of Quality Health Care and Rehabilitation and an activist Democrat in politics, has died in Lebanon at age 71.
From the Wilson Post obituary:
Mrs. Taylor-Huff of Castalian Springs died Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at Centennial Medical Center following an extended illness.
Her sphere of influence touched a broad range of individuals from high ranking public officials to blue collar factory workers.
Several Tennessee governors were friends with her and she was a frequent visitor on healthcare issues in Washington.
…A leader on a number of political issues related to health care, she was very active in the American Health Care Association, Tennessee Health Care Association, Nashville Women’s Political Caucus, and the White House Conference on Aging.
Mrs. Taylor-Huff also served on numerous boards and organizations on the national, state and local level. During her career she received numerous awards for her hard work and dedication to different causes near and dear to her heart.


See also the tribute to Taylor-Huff at the Tennessee Democratic Party blog

James DuBois (father of Tom) Dies, Age 68

The father of State Election Commission Chairman Tom DuBois, a former state representative, has died. From the obituary notice:
James T. DuBois, 68, well-known Columbia attorney and community activist, died Tuesday, May 15, 2012.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with The Rev. Richard Zalesak and The Rev. Thomas Wilson officiating. Burial will follow in St. John’s Churchyard at Ashwood. The family will visit with friends Friday from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to service time on St. Peter’s Parish House lawn.


Also in Columbia, my hometown, Maury County Commissioner Tom Primm died unexpectedly this week. The Daily Herald story is HERE.
(Note: With hat tip to a lady who helps me keep in touch with a place where my multiple kinfolk are not politically oriented.)

Joyce Burchett, Mother of Knox Mayor, Dies at Age 87

Joyce Hicks Burchett, mother of Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, died in her sleep at Tennova Residential Hospice on Wednesday after a three-year battle with heart and lung ailments. She was 87.
From the News Sentinel obituary
She was a Christian, an educator, an airplane pilot and a friend to the “roughnecks” who hung out with her youngest son, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.
She prayed for people she had never met, she always rooted for the underdog and she once beat cancer.
“My momma was an incredible woman,” the mayor said. “She wasn’t one of those people that you had any doubt about.”

Parents Blame Son’s Suicide on TennCare Cuts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The parents of a schizophrenic man who committed suicide blame TennCare cuts for his death in an obituary they placed to draw attention to the impact of reducing public-funded mental health care in Tennessee.
Frank and Ann Zingheim, who live in Cumberland County, placed the obituary in Sunday’s edition of The Tennessean newspaper for their 48-year-old son, Francis Scott Zingheim, and noted that he was no longer eligible for a case management program after he was dropped from the state’s expanded Medicaid program during major cuts in 2005.
The younger Zingheim, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, died after jumping from the 12th floor of his Knoxville apartment building on March 31, his family said.
His parents wrote their sadness was compounded by the lack of effective mental health treatment.

Ned Died Peacefully with Son at His Side (From Obit Prepared by Family)

(Note: This obituary was distributed by the McWherter family late Monday afternoon.)
Ned McWherter, who was born a sharecropper’s son in the Great Depression and went on to a career as a successful businessman, House speaker, Tennessee governor and confidant to presidents, died today at age 80, his family announced.
McWherter, who had battled cancer in recent months, died peacefully at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville at 1 p.m. today with his son, Mike McWherter, and his longtime personal physician, Karl Van Devender, at his side.
Services arrangements were incomplete. Members of the McWherter family said they were planning a public memorial service in Nashville and a private funeral in McWherter’s hometown of Dresden in West Tennessee.
McWherter’s life in many ways was the quintessential American success story. He learned to read in a one-room school with a wood-burning stove, bussed tables for his family’s restaurant, and began his career as a traveling shoe salesman. He parlayed a strong work ethic, a large physical presence and an engaging personality into a career that included several successful businesses and nearly three decades as one of Tennessee most prominent leaders in state government.
Asked years later the secret to his accomplishments, McWherter answered with typical simplicity, “My parents and the people I came in contact with growing up gave me the foundation to be successful, and I took it from there.”

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