Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon has died from what appears to be a massive heart attack, according to courthouse officials and secretarial staff.
Staff members said it appears Moon died between last night and early this morning at his home.
Moon was found at his computer by his wife, said Hamilton County Commissioner Mitch McClure.
Members of the legal community expressed shock when they learned the news.
"He had a larger than life personality, both in his outdoor accomplishments and in his strongly held position at the courthouse," said Lee Davis, former prosecutor, now private defense attorney. "You expect to see him like you would the walls of this building. The idea of Judge Moon being gone today is like having the courthouse crumble."
Hamilton County District Attorney General Bill Cox described Moon's death as a "terrible tragedy."
"I've known him for years and years. He's been a tremendous public servant. He'll be missed in the courthouse. We're just all shocked," he said.
Moon was a lifelong resident of Hamilton County. He graduated from Chattanooga High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He earned his law degree at Memphis State, graduating cum laude in 1976.
When Moon was running for re-election, he said the following about sessions court: "The General Sessions Court is one of the most important courts in our legal system. The court disposes of both civil and criminal cases and personally touches the lives of more citizens in a single day than any other court. It is truly the people's court and formulates the opinions of more people about our judicial system than any other court."
This month, Moon was reprimanded by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary on three separate complaints, including that he didn't allow a defendant to receive proper counsel in his courtroom.
Moon responded to the reprimands.
"Although, there is a respectful, but definitive, difference of opinion in the interpretation and applicablity of the law and legal opinions relevant to these issues, the Court of the Judiciary is there to assist us and to make us better judges," Moon said in a statement.
Services for Judge Moon have been set for Saturday at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue with Dr. Fred Steelman and the Rev. Chris Ehlers officiating.
Burial will be in Hamilton Memorial Gardens.
The funeral announcement said that the family on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. will receive friends at the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home and then on Saturday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.