Charles Gearhiser

Hamilton County

Charles Josef Gearhiser died Monday, June 17, 2013, surrounded by his three children.He was born on Aug. 14, 1938 in Dyersburg, Tenn., to Josephine Plant Gearhiser Wickham and Charles Josef Gearhiser Sr.Charlie, as he was known his entire life, graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1956, where he was a scholar and athlete, and played baseball, football and wrestled. After his undergraduate studies at Austin Peay University, Charlie received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1961, where he was a member of the Tennessee Law Review and Order of the Coif.Charlie was a founding member of the firm of Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott and Cannon, PLLC. Charlie loved the practice of law and was a mentor to many young lawyers. Charlie litigated numerous complex and difficult cases during his career, and tried over 100 cases to a jury verdict. In the 1980s, he was lead counsel for a number of the officers and directors of the failed Butcher Banks of East Tennessee. Early in his career, Charles was law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frank W. Wilson, and served in that position during the historic Jimmy Hoffa trial in 1964. He served as Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Tennessee and then as part-time United States Magistrate from 1967- 1978 while engaged in private practice.Charlie worked to improve his community and profession, serving as chairman of the Chattanooga Charter Revision Commission and as president of both the Chattanooga Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association, and as chairman of the Chattanooga Bar Foundation. He was a member of the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary Club and also was a member of First Centenary Methodist Church.Charlie loved the outdoors, and he made numerous trips, usually by motorcycle, to the places he loved most: Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah and California. He also loved the University of Tennessee football team and the Lady Vols basketball team, and was a season ticket holder for both sports.Charlie was preceded in death by his wife, Joy; and his mother and father, and stepfather, Louis Wickham.Charlie is survived by his three children, Charles Josef Gearhiser III, Laura D. Gearhiser and Christy L. Gearhiser (husband Stanford Johnson); and four grandchildren, Alex Hardin, Cooper Hardin, Lochlin Hardin and Benjamin Gearhiser.Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, June 21, 2013, at Heritage Funeral Home, with the Rev. and Hon. Samuel H. Payne officiating and Judge Muecke Barker speaking.In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Charlies late wife, Joy, to the Alzheimers Association, 7625 Hamilton Park Drive, Suite 22, Chattanooga, TN 37421.Visit to share words of comfort to the family and view the memorial tribute.Visitation for family and friends will be from 4-8 p.m. today, June 20, 2013, at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.

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