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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Judge Richard Vance obit
Judge Richard Vance of the Fourth Judicial District died Sunday following a lengthy battle with cancer. In May he had celebrated 20 years on the bench. Vance was first appointed to the Judgeship by Governor Don Sundquist in 1997 to fill the vacancy following the retirement of Judge William R. Holt, Jr. retired. A native East Tennesseean, born in Knoxville, Judge Vance was a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He had a great love for the Smoky Mountains and was a supporter of the Friends of the Smokies. Judge Vance also was an accomplished photographer of the outdoors. Upon graduation from law school, he served in the United States Air Force, serving in the Judge Advocate Generalís Department and as a Military Judge, presiding over court-martial cases. He was a member of American Legion Post 104 and an organizer of the Sevier County Veteranís Monument Committee which created the Veteranís Monument in Sevier County. After service in the Air Force, Vance served with the City of Knoxville Law Department and practiced law in Sevier and Knox counties. He served as Chief Assistant District Attorney General on Al Schmutzerís staff for over 18 years, and also taught Criminal Law and Procedure at Walters State Community College. In October of this year, Gov. Bill Haslam appointed James L. Gass of Dandridge as special judge for Circuit Court in the 4th Judicial District after Judge Vance took a leave of absence due to his illness. Gass will continue serving as a special judge until the governor names a replacement. Retired Circuit Court Judge Ben Hooper knew Judge Vance for a long time and he recalled Vance's years as an Assistant Attorney General DA. "He was an excellent prosecutor. When I practiced criminal law I always hated to have a case in front of him because he could get a conviction," Hooper said. As for his judgeship, Hooper said Judge Vance and the four other judges in the district had a very good working arrangement. "I don't know that you could have brought five other people together that would have gotten along better than we did. It was a remarkable comradeship that existed," he said. The family will receive friends 3:00 PM Ė 5:45 PM Thursday with funeral service to immediately follow at 6 PM at First Baptist Church, Sevierville. Rev. Jerry Hyder and Dr. Rich Liner will officiate. Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post # 104. Serving as Honorary Pallbearers will be Paul Whaley, Lt. Commander Andrew Paul Whaley (US Navy), Dickís longtime Administrative Assistant Deborah McMahan, Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade (ret), Paul Whaley, Judges Norma Ogle, Carter Moore, James Gass, Rex Henry Ogle, Duane Slone, Ben Hooper (ret), Kenneth Porter (ret), Chancellor Telford Forgety, Judges Dwight Stokes, Jeff Rader, District Attorney Generals James Dunn and Al Schmutzer (ret), Public Defender Ed Miller, Child Support Referee Melissa Moore, members of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and members of the Sevier County, Cocke County, Grainger County and Jefferson County Bar Associations. Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville.

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