Although retired Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young Jr. died on Saturday, May 21, those who followed him say the standards he set will live on in how they conduct themselves.
General Sessions Judge William R. Brewer said Judge Young set a standard for justice that all of the judges who came after him strive to follow. “I know I try to do that. I believe he was a well-respected jurist and a gentleman above all,” Brewer said.
Brewer said Young was someone Brewer felt he could always talk to about judicial problems or ask advice about cases. “He was just a great fellow to sit around and talk to, so it is a sad day for the judiciary in Blount County and Tennessee,” Brewer said.
A celebration of Judge Young’s life will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at Grandview Cemetery with Rev. Charles Ballard officiating. The eulogy will be given by former Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham.
Friends may register at their convenience at Smith Funeral & Cremation Service.
Juvenile Court Judge William Terry Denton said Young was a wonderful jurist. “His knowledge of the law and legal capability will be sadly missed,” Denton said. “He was a great Blount Countian and provided untold hours of service to this community and to the people.”
Circuit Court Judge David Duggan said he knew Young for 35 years and considered him to be a very close friend and a judge from whom he learned a great deal.
“I first got to know him through Republican Party activities in the 1970s, before he was a judge,” said Duggan. “I’ve had a good relationship with him. He was always very courteous. You didn’t always prevail in front of him, but he was always courteous and treated everyone with respect. I’m really going to miss his counsel and friendship and being able to talk with him.”
General Sessions Judge Robert Headrick said, “Our debt to Judge Young as a community can never be repaid. His formidable footprint will long survive. I will strive to repay my personal debt to him by always conducting myself in the gentlemanly manner for which he was so famous. Like everyone, I pray for the peaceful repose of his immortal soul.”
General Sessions Judge Mike Gallegos said Judge Young was a thoughtful, compassionate and generous man. “We loved him like family. My wife, Jane, and I will miss him dearly,” Gallegos said.
Judge Young, who just recently celebrated his 73rd birthday, was found at his home early Saturday evening, May 21. Friends had been trying to contact him on Saturday and went to check on him, finding him in his bed.
“He apparently died in his sleep very peacefully,” said friend and Blount County Commissioner Peggy Lambert. “We have lost a great man, a dear friend and someone who has enriched all of our lives just by knowing him.”
One of his close friends, former Mayor Jerry Cunningham, said, “He was one of my best friends, an outstanding jurist and a wonderful Blount Countian. We are going to miss him.”
Judge Young retired on Jan. 16, 2011, after the swearing-in of Governor Bill Haslam. The governor last week approved the appointment of Tammy Harrington to fill the circuit court seat.
Judge Young was the Division I judge and was in public service for 32 years. A graduate of Maryville High School, he received a B. A. Degree from Maryville College and an L. L.B. and JD (Doctor of Jurisprudence) Degree from the University of Tennessee in 1963. He attended Security and Exchange schools, several banking schools and graduated from the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Judicial Academy.
Judge Young engaged in the private practice of law for some eight years before joining The Winfield Dunn for Governor Campaign as East Tennessee Manager in 1969.
While in private practice, he served on several boards and commissions for the City of Maryville, for County Government and the Blount Chamber of Commerce. He was a member (“Squire”) of the Blount County Quarterly Court (Blount County Commission).
After returning home from Nashville, Young served as House counsel for a bank holding company and was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable James H. Jarvis who was elevated to the Federal Bench.
Judge Young told Blount Today at his retirement that among his great joys on the bench were Adoption Days. Adoption Days were special days set aside where the court would do 20 to 30 adoptions on those days. He said it gave him such pleasure to see “children who needed good homes go to good homes where they would be cared for and loved.”
He is survived by his brother Norman W. Young of Reno, Nevada; nephews Tom Young and wife Marina, and John Young; great-nieces Amanda Young, who is a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force serving in Germany; Elizabeth Young and Patricia Young.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Harmony Adoptions, 131 Cherokee Heights Drive, Maryville, or Haven House, Ste 210, 101 West Broadway Avenue Maryville.