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Longtime Knox County Criminal Court Judge Dies

By: Brian Gregory Email
By: Brian Gregory Email

Knoxville (WVLT) A longtime Knox County Criminal Court judge has passed away.

Knoxville attorney Doug Trant confirms that Judge Ray Lee Jenkins died overnight at St. Mary's Hospice.

Trant, a longtime friend of Judge Jenkins, says he had been suffering from hypercalcemia.

He had been slowly recovering when, Trant says, all of a sudden he got worse and then slipped into a irreversible coma.

"His family was at his bedside when he died, " Trant said. "He suffered no pain and died peacefully."

Judge Jenkins was 71.

In early August, Judge Jenkins asked Governor Bredesen to appoint a temporary judge for him.

Judge Jenkins had held the post for 25 years.

Kenneth F. Irvine II was sworn in early this week as his temporary replacement.

"Judge Jenkins has been part of our judicial family for many years and will be missed," Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William M. Barker said. "He devoted a quarter-century of his life to public service as a judge. That is a wonderful legacy and something for which his family shoud be proud."

A memorial service will be held at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, but a date and time has not been set.

Much more on this developing story as we get new details here on volunteertv.com and Volunteer TV News.

Judge Ray Lee Jenkins (1936-2007) Obituary:

JENKINS, THE HONORABLE RAY L. – died August, 24, 2007. Judge Jenkins was born in Knoxville on April 23, 1936 to Erby Jenkins and his wife Nell. His father practiced with his uncle, Aubrey, and Ray H. Jenkins in the famed firm of Jenkins & Jenkins. Judge Jenkins attended Central High School and then the University of Tennessee where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and was class President in 1954. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1959 and was named in the Order of the Coif. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. He was appointed Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He has regaled many of his friends with stories of his prosecutions of moonshiners during his tenure. After the Republican Party lost the 1960 election, Judge Jenkins went into practice with his dad, uncle and Ray H. Jenkins in the firm of Jenkins & Jenkins. At the time of his election to the bench in 1982, he was in practice as a solo practitioner. He also practiced with Rom Meares. He took the oath of office on September 1, 1982 and was reelected three more times. September 1, 2007 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ascension to the bench. He became the Chief Judge of the Knox Criminal Court upon retirement of Judge Balitsaris in 1989. Judge Jenkins was a member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and was member of its Rules Committee. He was a member emeritus of American Inns of Court, Hamilton Burnett Chapter, as well as a former member of the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association. Judge Jenkins was a member of the Sons of the Revolution. He was a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite of the Freemasons at the Bright Hope Chapter 557. He was in the Kerbela Shriners and the Royal Order of Jesters, Court 057. He was a brother in Sigma Chi fraternity. He, along with Judge James Jarvis, Lou Woolf and John Lockridge, was a charter member of the Order of the Orange. A talented musician in his own right, Judge Jenkins was a member of the Knoxville’s Musicians Associations. Indicative of his intellect, he was a member of Mensa. He was a member of the bar associations of Knoxville, Tennessee and the American Bar Association. Judge Jenkins leaves his wife, Michele and stepson Robert Carter Ball, his wife Elizabeth; daughter Lee Ann Jenkins Workman and her husband Mark; son Ray Hal Jenkins and his wife Belynda; and daughter Linda Miriam Jenkins Hatcher and her husband Mark. His grandchildren are Rebecca Harman Workman Kilday and husband Derek Kilday, Margaret Leeann Workman, Ray Hoover Jenkins, Andrew Hodge Jenkins, Leah Katherine Jenkins, Bryan Alan Hatcher, Mark Cameron Hatcher, Caroline Rose Hatcher; and step-grandchildren Trevor Stephens Lockhart, Bryan Alan Hatcher and Alexandria Mary Ball. He also leaves behind his faithful friend, Chen. There will be a memorial service to be announced at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church with Dr. Bill Barron officiating. A private interment will be held at Highland’s Mortuary with a Masonic burial.


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