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Memphis Funeral Home

5599 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN

OBITUARY

Thomas Bouse Avery

March 13, 1930September 10, 2019
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Attorney Tom Avery, 89, left this life exactly as he would have wished when he closed his briefcase and prepared to leave the Memphis courthouse on September 10, 2019. His heart simply refused to make another beat. He was reputed to be the oldest practicing attorney in Shelby County.

He began life on March 13, 1930 in Memphis, the son of a transplanted Connecticut Yankee, Christopher Lester Avery, and a native Arkansan, Hester Avery, neé Anderson. Tom attended Memphis public schools and the University of Memphis prior to obtaining his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1955. Outside the home, the practice of law and public service were his passions. At Vanderbilt, Tom met his dear friend and future law partner, William H. Fisher III, and in 1965 they founded the firm of Robinson, Fisher and Avery. Tom became active local and state politics and served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. In 1973, he was a lobbyist and chief draftsman for the Shelby County Restructure Act, which provided the foundation for the current County Commission form of government. Subsequently, Tom served three terms on the Shelby County Election Commission, and in 1981 was appointed by Lamar Alexander to serve as Judge of the Circuit Court Division VIII.

After the years of public service, Tom returned to private practice where he was passionate for serving others through the application of law. He truly enjoyed all aspects of the legal community — deputies, bailiffs, court clerks and secretaries, fellow attorneys and his many dear clients.

Tom was married for forty-one years to his late wife, Anne Dooley, and he was so enamored with the institution that he officiated at the weddings of his daughter, grand-daughter and other dear friends and relatives. Tom enjoyed Civil War history and family genealogy, especially when he visited his rural retreat in Hardeman County. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Charlie Ivey; his son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Angie Avery; his grandchildren Thomas (Candace), Mary Agnes, and Anna Jane Avery; and Savannah (Trevor) Bell, and Mallory and Olivia Ivey. He is also survived by his friend and law partner, Valerie Fisher, his friend and long-serving secretary, Pamela Stewart, and his delightful friend and companion, Barbara Kleitsch and her son Lee.

Family and friends will gather on Monday, September 16th from two o’clock in the afternoon until a celebration of Tom’s life begins an hour later at three o’clock all in the sanctuary of Independent Presbyterian Church led by Rev. Mike Malone.

Financial gifts in Mr. Avery’s name may be offered to the organization of your choice. Online condolences, floral offerings and directions may be found through www.memphisfuneralhome.net.

  • FAMILY

  • Elizabeth Ivey (Charlie), Daughter
  • Thomas Avery (Angie), Son
  • Thomas Avery (Candace), Grandchild
  • Mary Agnes Avery, Grandchild
  • Anna Jane Avery, Grandchild
  • Savannah Bell (Trevor), Grandchild
  • Mallory Ivey, Grandchild
  • Olivia Ivey, Grandchild
  • Valerie Fisherr, Friend
  • Pamela Stewart, Friend
  • Barbara Kleitsch, Friend and Companion
  • Lee Kleitsch, Friend
  • He was preceded in death by his parents, Christopher Lester Avery, and Hester Avery, neé Anderson and his wife, Anne Dooley Avery.

Services

  • Family and Friends Will Gather Monday, September 16, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Service Monday, September 16, 2019

Memories

Thomas Bouse Avery

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Susan Wilson

September 14, 2019

It is with a sense of “sad thankfulness “ that John Charles and I bid this precious friend adieu. We will always treasure the sweet times we shared with him in our church family. He blessed us with his kindness and he exhibited an elegant gentility we don’t see much of anymore. We’ll miss that joy that emanated from him. But most of all we are thankful to know where he is and that we will be with him again forever! Our love to his family. Love, John Charles and Susan Wilson.

Deena Weathers

September 13, 2019

I was one of many who witnessed this precious soul take his last breath. I am praying for the family and friends of this dear man, and I am grateful for the time that we were able to work together.
Sincerely,
Deena Weathers (Probate Deputy Court Clerk)

Annita Sawyer-Hamilton

September 13, 2019

During my 30 years in Probate Court, I did not meet a finer attorney than Thomas Avery. He was always nice, friendly, polite and treated everyone exactly the same. RIP Attorney AVERY, YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED BY EVERYONE.

Leigh Kendrick

September 12, 2019

Confirming my e-mail address. I have already send sympathy.

Leigh Kendrick

September 12, 2019

To Tom's family I send my love and sympathy for your loss. He is resting in the arms of Jesus now. His last breath on earth and the next one in Heaven.
Tom and I graduated high school together. He also was my attorney. He celebrated my 90 birthday with me on March 3, 2019. He was one of my best friends and we talked on the phone quite often as well as e-mailed each other.
Tom was a great supporter of me while I was chairman of our high school annual reunions. The committee meet at his home until he sold it and then we met at my home. He was a wonderful man and friend and I will see him and Ann again when God calls me home.

Frederick Regenold

September 12, 2019

Tom and I were starting guards on the 1948 Tech High basketball team. He was a talented teammate and a gentleman in all respects. Several months ago I reconnected with him via email. It was a thrill to hear from him, but now very sad to learn of his passing. God will surely bless him. His emails confirmed Tom was an exemplary Christian and a fine human being.

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Biography

Attorney Tom Avery, 89, left this life exactly as he would have wished when he closed his briefcase and prepared to leave the Memphis courthouse on September 10, 2019. His heart simply refused to make another beat. He was reputed to be the oldest practicing attorney in Shelby County.

He began life on March 13, 1930 in Memphis, the son of a transplanted Connecticut Yankee, Christopher Lester Avery, and a native Arkansan, Hester Avery, neé Anderson. Tom attended Memphis public schools and the University of Memphis prior to obtaining his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1955. Outside the home, the practice of law and public service were his passions. At Vanderbilt, Tom met his dear friend and future law partner, William H. Fisher III, and in 1965 they founded the firm of Robinson, Fisher and Avery. Tom became active local and state politics and served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. In 1973, he was a lobbyist and chief draftsman for the Shelby County Restructure Act, which provided the foundation for the current County Commission form of government. Subsequently, Tom served three terms on the Shelby County Election Commission, and in 1981 was appointed by Lamar Alexander to serve as Judge of the Circuit Court Division VIII.

After the years of public service, Tom returned to private practice where he was passionate for serving others through the application of law. He truly enjoyed all aspects of the legal community — deputies, bailiffs, court clerks and secretaries, fellow attorneys and his many dear clients.

Tom was married for forty-one years to his late wife, Anne Dooley, and he was so enamored with the institution that he officiated at the weddings of his daughter, grand-daughter and other dear friends and relatives. Tom enjoyed Civil War history and family genealogy, especially when he visited his rural retreat in Hardeman County. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Charlie Ivey; his son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Angie Avery; his grandchildren Thomas (Candace), Mary Agnes, and Anna Jane Avery; and Savannah (Trevor) Bell, and Mallory and Olivia Ivey. He is also survived by his friend and law partner, Valerie Fisher, his friend and long-serving secretary, Pamela Stewart, and his delightful friend and companion, Barbara Kleitsch and her son Lee.

Family and friends will gather on Monday, September 16th from two o’clock in the afternoon until a celebration of Tom’s life begins an hour later at three o’clock all in the sanctuary of Independent Presbyterian Church led by Rev. Mike Malone.

Financial gifts in Mr. Avery’s name may be offered to the organization of your choice. Online condolences, floral offerings and directions may be found through www.memphisfuneralhome.net.