May 20, 1926 - July 28, 2008
Judge Thomas Gray Hull of Greeneville, Tennessee died Tuesday morning at his home after an extended illness. He was 82 years old. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and was surrounded by family at the time of his death.
Judge Hull was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, on May 20, 1926, to Hayes and Carrie Hull. He had one sister Mary Lou Hull Wexler, wife of Judge Ben K.Wexler of Greeneville. He was married to Joan Brandon Hull, mother of his four children for forty years. Mrs. Hull died in 1995. In 1999 he was married to Helge Hull who was devoted to his love and care throughout their lives together.
His children and his grandchildren were a great blessing to him. He is survived by his daughter Leslie Hull of Knoxville, Tennessee and her children Leslie Clare Hull Welsch and Thomas George Hull Welsch of Knoxville, and his son and daughter-in-law, Brandon and Paige Hull and their children Laura Caroline Hull, Meredith Grace Hull, and Thomas Gray Cordell Hull of Greeneville; stepson Dieter and his wife Shannon Woerz and grandchildren Heidi, Dieter, Emma and Brianna Woerz of Greeneville. He had two children to predecease him. His son Thomas Gray Hull II died on November 29, 1970, at the age of 12. His daughter Amy Hull Ransdell (wife of William Keith Ransdell) and granddaughter Emma Kathryn Ransdell died on December 9, 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Judge Hull was proud of his service in the United States Army during World War II. He is one of the Charter members of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He entered the service in October, 1944 and was a member of Company M 126th Infantry. He served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and fought in the Battle of Luzon. After the Japanese surrender he was sent into Okinawa as part of the occupation forces. He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with 1 Bronze Battle Star, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Battle Star, the Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the Army of Occupation Ribbon Japan.
Upon returning to his hometown of Greeneville in 1946, he attended Tusculum College and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he earned a degree in law. He returned to Greeneville to start his law practice. Along with his law practice, he was involved in the Republican Party politics, business, and banking.
He was active in many businesses. In 1979, he and his brother-in-law Carl Brandon bought controlling interest of a bank in Greeneville, now known as Andrew Johnson Bank. He also was instrumental in the formation of Greeneville Federal Bank, where his son serves as president.
Judge Hull served as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives where he was elected Chief Clerk at the time when his friend William Jenkins was elected Speaker. He was elected State Circuit Court Judge sitting in Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins County. In 1979, he was appointed legal counsel to Governor Lamar Alexander and worked in Nashville for many years. He was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Wilson Reagan upon the recommendation of his friend, United States Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr.(As a note: Judge Hull’s papers have been donated by the family to the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.} He was given primary responsibility for the Greeneville and Winchester courts; during his early tenure, he was responsible for the entire case load of the entire Eastern District of East Tennessee. He is believed to be the first native Greenevillian to serve in that position, Along with Congressman James H. Quillen, Judge Hull was the driving force in the securement and construction of the new federal court house in Greeneville later named to honor to his life long friend, Congressman Quillen.
He was designated senior judge status in 2002.
Judge Hull worshipped and served in many capacities at his family church, Asbury United Methodist, where his family is centurion members. Since his faith and the church were so important to his life, the family has chosen to receive friends at the church on Friday, August 1, 2008, from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon with a Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration to begin at 4:00. The Reverend David Woody and the Reverend Jeannie Higgins will officiate.
The Pallbearers are: Mr. Keith Ransdell, Lexington, Kentucky, the Honorable Thomas Wright, Mr. Paul Hite, Mr. Bob King, Mr. Richard Earl Tipton, Mr. Paul Moore, Jr., Mr. Charles Terry of Morristown, Mr. William Hickerson, Mr. John Welsch of Knoxville, his devoted caregiver Dale Fann, The Honorable Ronnie Greer, and United States Marshall Jeffrey Hedden.
The Honorary Pallbearers are: The United States Marshall Service, the United States District Court, Greeneville judiciary and staff, the Honorable Benjamin K. Wexler, Mr. John M. Jones, Sr., Mr. Nat Coleman, Mr. Carl Brandon, Mr.Tommy Thomas, Mr. Thomas Ingram of Knoxville and Washington, D.C., The Honorable William Jenkins of Rogersville, Mr. Gordon Sams of Knoxville and Dr. Frank Haws of Huntsville, Alabama.
After the funeral service, there will be a formal military burial at Greene Lawn Memorial
Gardens, Ashville Highway, Greeneville, Tennessee.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the following charities or one of your choice:
*The Children’s Tumor Foundation for Neurofibromatosis (in honor of Paige and her valiant fight to conquer the disease), 95 Pine Street, 16th Floor, New York, New York 10005, toll free 1-800-323-7938
*The Amy Hull Ransdell Scholarship Fund, (established in 1994 for Amy and Emma) 101 W. Summer Street, Greeneville, TN 37743
The Alzheimer’s Association, 4205 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 216, Nashville, TN 37215, or by phone: 1-800-272-3900 or www.alz.org
The family expresses thanks to many supportive friends, Dr. Maynard Austin, Dr. Diebold and Patricia Chesnut of Takoma Center, and two special and loving caregivers, Melissa Ricker and Dale Fann.