Visitation and Services
Arrangements are being handled by Neal Funeral Home, 231 N. Military Ave., Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, where the family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Sunday, September 12, 2010 and from 11:AM to 1:PM Monday, September 13,2010. Funeral services will be conducted at Neal Funeral Home at 1:00 PM Monday, September 13, 2010, with Bro. Jim Gardner and Bro. Jeff Foster officiating. Interment will follow at Glenwood Cemetery in Maury County, Tennessee.
Judge James L. (Jim) Weatherford, age 79, died Friday, September 10, 2010, at his home in Lawrenceburg, TN, after a long illness. He was born May 24, 1931, in Columbia, Tennessee. He was the 10 lb 10 oz son of the late Cleveland Sullivan Weatherford and the late Dessie Lee Ozburn Weatherford. Jim was preceded in death by his sister, Peggy Weatherford Poag and only son, William Bailey “Bill” Weatherford who died in 2008 at the age of 48.
Jim is survived by his wife, Diane Martin Weatherford, one step-daughter Kelli (Michael) Olin, one step-son Dana (Kelly Ann Clark) Wilkerson, four grandchildren Joshua Weatherford, Blake Olin, Ashley Olin and Ross Wilkerson. He is also survived by one brother, Jack (Mary) Weatherford, Murfreesboro, TN, brother in law, Joe Poag, and many nieces and nephews.
Jim attended public school in Maury County where he was president of his senior class at Central High School. After attending Middle Tennessee State College (MTSU), he enlisted in the United States Army and served from 1952-54 where he attained the rank of sergeant, was decorated with the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and received an honorable discharge. He then enrolled and graduated pre-law at Northwestern University, entered Cumberland Law School graduating in 1957 successfully passing the bar in December 1958.
Jim began his distinguished law career in Lawrenceburg as an assistant District Attorney and soon thereafter joined the firm Harwell & Boston where he advanced to partner within a short period of time. Jim was the Lawrence County Representative for the Tennessee Constitutional Convention in 1965. In 1978 Jim left the firm Boston & Weatherford to run for Circuit Judge of the 11th (now 22nd) judicial district and was elected and sworn into office in September 1978. He was reelected for two additional eight year terms. In 1998 Jim was appointed to senior judge status where he served the judiciary traveling the entire state until he fully retired in 2006. In 2000 Jim was chosen by his peers as Judge of the Year. Judge Weatherford had a brilliant legal mind, was much loved by most and respected by all. He loved trying lawsuits and his special temperament made him a great judge.
Jim was an active member of the American Legion, Past President of the Civitan Club and the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceburg where he served as a trustee and on many church committees throughout his life. Second to his faith in God, Jim’s greatest love was his family, especially his wife Diane. They dated for 22 years (a world-record as they called it) before marrying in 1999.
Jim was an avid world traveler and was especially thrilled to have been to Israel where he delighted in walking the Via del Rosa, the same steps where Jesus carried the cross. He and Diane also traveled all over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Caribbean, and many states in the U.S.
Jim was an avid horse racing fan, loved fishing with his grandchildren, was a huge University of Tennessee Volunteer football fan and was proud to be a “yellow-dog” democrat. Jim had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed his friends from all walks of life. Jim loved to remember the “way it was” in his younger days.
Diane expresses special thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Sosman and Dr. Ginger Holt, special caretakers Melanie Brown, Sonya Brooks, Jennifer Heatherly and all the nurses and staff at NHC-Scott.
Preferred Charities and Donations
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to Lawrenceburg First United Methodist Church, (212 Waterloo Street, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464) Judge James L. Weatherford Memorial Scholarship % Lawrence County Education Foundation (P.O. Box 357, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464), or Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital.