- [S80] Rawlings Funeral Home, (http://www.rawlingsfuneralhome.com/), 13 Jan 2004.
Kate Reagan Wade obituary
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 27 Jul 2004.
NASHVILLE - Judge Gary R. Wade has been appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to a panel of criminal justice officials charged with making recommendations to preserve the use of enhancement factors in Tennessee's criminal sentencing laws, according to state officials.
Wade is a Court of Criminal Appeals judge, Eastern Section; president of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and a former Sevierville mayor.
The governor's Task Force on the Use of Enhancement Factors in Criminal Sentencing will determine if a special session of the General Assembly is necessary to protect the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act. The act was called into question by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and the task force will determine what legislation, if any, might be necessary.
In Blakely v. Washington, the nation's highest court struck down part of the sentencing structure used by the state of Washington, a system that - like Tennessee's - is based on presumptive sentences and the determination of enhancement and mitigating factors by judges.
"We must preserve the ability of the judicial branch to make sentencing determinations based on the facts of each case and the circumstances of each person convicted," Bredesen said. "Our state's sentencing laws, which allow sentences to be enhanced based on certain aggravating factors, have served us well, and we must do all we can to protect the Criminal Sentencing Act so that the punishment fits not just the crime, but the criminal as well."
Wade said that the Supreme Court ruling would affect about 4 percent of criminal cases. There are a few possible remedies the board may suggest, including bifurcated hearings, he said.
The 13-member task force will consist of the attorney general and reporter or his designee, the commissioner of the Department of Correction, the chairman of the Board of Probation and Parole, and one member from each house of the legislature, to be appointed by the speakers.
Eight additional members will include at least one each of the following groups: appellate judges, criminal trial judges, general sessions court judges, district attorneys, public defenders, criminal defense lawyers, and victims of crimes.
The task force will report to the governor no later than August 27 on whether a special session of the legislature is necessary to revise the state's sentencing laws.
The group is also charged with recommending legislation even if it's determined a special session is not necessary. In that case, the panel will have until November 15 to recommend legislation for next year's session of the legislature.
The Mountain Press Staff Writer Craig Mintz contributed to this report.
Local judge to serve on state board
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 8 Aug 2005.
Judge's life full of success, commitment to his ideals
By: STAN VOIT, Editor August 08, 2005
Gary and Sandy Wade visit with U.S. Rep. Jim Quillen in Washington in 1978. Wade, then mayor of Sevierville, was seeking Quillen’s support for a federal grant.
He was raised in privilege, yet he cites as his proudest achievement as mayor of Sevierville a project that brought together the haves and the have-nots.
He is an appellate court judge for the state of Tennessee, a serious job in which he can affect people's lives, yet he willingly and whimsically played the role of Dolly Parton's boyfriend on her TV show.
Just when he left his role as mayor and was dug in at a growing and prosperous law practice, he got a call asking if he'd like to be a judge.
He's a Democrat, a proud Democrat, in the reddest county in Tennessee.
He has a street named after him, a major street that runs alongside City Hall, and, as he likes to joke, he isn't even dead yet.
He seems to have it all: A life filled with good fortune, a loving family, a commitment to public service and enormous respect from everyone. Yet he has had to deal with the death of a younger brother.
He had been out of the mayor's office three months when then-Gov. Ned McWherter - the creator of TennCare - called him out of the blue and asked if he'd like to be a judge. Wade applied, was among the top three recommended to the governor by the selection committee and got the job on Oct. 29, 1987. He was not yet 40 years old. He's now the presiding judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
Alderman at 26. Mayor at 28. Judge at 39. Father of three.
His causes are many, and whatever he chooses to get involved with invariably becomes a success. He's the guy chiefly responsible for attracting the Class AA baseball team to Sevierville. The Boys & Girls Clubs. Leadership Sevier County.
"If Gary put all his efforts that he puts forth for the city into private enterprise," Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley said, "he'd be OK at that too."
"He's one of the finest men I've ever met," said Robbie Fox, currently director of safety and security at Dollywood but Sevierville's police chief under Wade. "I can truthfully say that. He went out on a limb to hire me."
The political years
Sevierville didn't have tracks, so you weren't born on the wrong side or right side of them. Sevierville's "tracks" was Middle Creek, and it divided the haves from the have-nots. Wade was a "have." He's the eighth generation of his family to live here. Timothy Reagan fought in the Revolutionary War and settled in the Middle Creek area. Wade graduated from Sevier County High in 1966, got his degree in English and psychology from The University of Tennessee in 1970 and finished law school in 1973.
He was settled into a law practice with Bob Ogle until, in 1975, he was elected an alderman. He was 26.
Two years later, at the urging of friends, he took on incumbent mayor Cliff Davis. It was the kid against the veteran. Davis was 70. Wade won a close race, and stayed as mayor for 10 years. Hulet Chaney was city administrator, and six months after Wade took office, Chaney left to join Tennessee Farm Bureau. He was replaced by Russell Treadway, who was all of 24.
"I was walking down the street not long after we hired Russell and a friend stopped me," Wade recalled. "He said, 'Gary, who's this young man you hired as city administrator? Tell me about him.' I did, and he asked me how old he was. I told him Russell was 24. 'He's a little bit young to be running a city, isn't he?' the guy asked. And to be honest that was the first time I had thought about him being so young. It never struck me then that someone 24 could not be accountable and responsible."
The community center
As kids Wade and his friends used to climb through the second story window of an old WPA gym to play basketball. Sevierville had no recreation or community center. It did have Frog Alley, a low-income section east of Middle Creek that was so notorious Wade used to be asked by police to declare a curfew on Halloween so the Frog Alley kids wouldn't be out at night.
Sevierville needed a community center, and Wade thought it needed one near the creek so the wealthy could play together with the poor and low-income people. Wade convinced a majority of the board to support a $1.5 million bond issue in 1978, conditional on the city raising at least $500,000 from private donations.
"Cherokee Textile Mills and the Blalocks each gave lead gifts of $100,000," Wade said. "Within 90 days, we had 33 gifts that added up to $750,000."
The city bought the property on Highway 441 and built what was for its time a state-of-the-art community center. And as Wade hoped, it brought the community together in a socioeconomic way. So did the development that followed, from the electric system to City Hall to the Chamber, all centered on this 22-acre piece of property the city got for $238,000.
"Developing that area made east Sevierville more a part of the rest of Sevierville," he said. "Suddenly, it became indistinguishable from the rest of the community."
Atchley, who was on the Board of Aldermen then, said it was Wade who single-handedly raised most of the money to go with the bond issue.
"The community center unified everybody," Atchley said.
On to the courts
Wade didn't run for a sixth term in 1987. He had made it clear after his fifth election he wouldn't run again because of all the time it took from his family and his desire not to stay so long that he lost friends and effectiveness. But instead of easing up on his time, practicing law made him work harder.
"I couldn't get away from the office," he said. The law practice was booming, and he was Pigeon Forge's city attorney to boot.
Then came the call.
Wade and Gov. McWherter went way back. Both were Democrats. Wade had raised money for McWherter's first run for governor. Even though Sevier County has never, ever, been a Democratic county, Wade has always been a Democrat. But he's never had to run in a partisan election. The call from McWherter came in August, three months after he left office as mayor.
In Tennessee, vacancies on state courts are filled through an application process. A screening committee evaluates the applicants, reviewing their judicial history, their writings, their demeanor. Three names are sent up to the governor, who picks one. Then the judges stand for a yes-or-no vote every eight years, right after they are evaluated on how well they've done.
On the day of his interview before the committee, a newspaper had a big story on the front page about Dolly Parton filming a Thanksgiving special for her TV show at the time. Wade was two years behind Parton at SCHS, but over the years, especially after he became mayor, she had joked on TV and in interviews that he had been her boyfriend. Not true, but Wade played along.
Parton wanted Wade to play her boyfriend in the TV special, and he agreed. She had just lost a lot of weight, and during the taping Wade, asked by Dolly how she looked, said, "I think I liked you better when there was more of you." The newspaper picked it up and played the quote big on the front page - the day of Wade's judicial interview. It didn't matter. He got the job.
Sid was a year and a half younger than Gary. The two younger Wades were close, so close that even at age 6 Gary knew his little brother was different. He just didn't know why.
Sid was gay, and he was gay in a southern town in the 1960s and 1970s when such a lifestyle wasn't so acceptable. Sid kept it from his family, although big brother knew.
"He really struggled with it," Gary Wade said. "I hurt for him for all he went through, trying to struggle within himself to be the son his parents wanted him to be and live up to the image of his brothers, having to live with the fact he was failing, in a sense, yet to be so prideful. He had to let his family know he was as successful as the rest of us, and he was. In many ways he was more successful."
Gary says he was mowing grass one day in the early 1970s when it came to him what he should do and how he should act toward his little brother. He had been worrying about Sid.
"I finally said to myself, does this really make a difference. Once I decided it really didn't as far as the way I felt about him, it was easy from then on. It did make a difference to others, and it made a difference to him because it made a difference to others."
Sid moved to Atlanta where he could live his own life in his own way, and when he came back to visit he lived the life his family expected. Sid died of AIDS in 1989. Gary was probably the only family member who knew what Sid was going through.
"I hated to lose him so young," Gary said.
The baseball cards
Wade and his son began collecting baseball cards as a special father-son Saturday activity. That little weekend fun has expanded just a little. Today Wade owns every Topps baseball card produced since 1952. He bought them one at a time for 30 years, attending card shows and flea markets, but now he just buys the whole set every year.
His prized possession: Mickey Mantle's rookie card. It's sold for as much as a quarter of a million dollars. Wade doesn't buy and sell. He just likes to have them around. They are boxed, not on display.
"I was such a huge Mickey Mantle fan and Yankees fan," he said. "If I really could have fulfilled my life's ambition, I would have been the designated hitter for the Yankees."
That love of baseball led to his involvement in getting the Smokies Stadium built and the team headquartered in Sevierville. He's a co-owner of that team.
So all and all it's been a great life. He has a great legacy, from the community center to a baseball team. At 57 he has a lot more he wants to do. His judicial review is this year, and if he gets a favorable one as expected he'll stand for another eight-year term on the ballot next year.
After that, who knows?
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 8 Jun 2006.
Selection of Wade historic
Judge first from Sevier to be named to high court
Now you can call him Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade. Well, in a few months you can.
The Sevierville resident was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court Tuesday by Gov. Phil Bredesen, elevating Wade from a seat on the criminal appeals court which he has held since 1987. He has been presiding judge of the appeals court for the last eight years.
He thus becomes the first Sevier County resident ever to be named to the five-member Tennessee Supreme Court - just as he was the first from here to be named to a state appeals court.
"I'm honored to receive this appointment and appreciate the confidence Gov. Bredesen has shown in me," Wade said. "I have developed a judicial philosophy in my career of due process to litigants, courtesy to counsel, faithfulness to the law and accountability to the people.
"I believe our Supreme Court is in the best possible position to inspire the confidence of our citizens in the state's legal system," Wade said, "and I will apply my philosophy to the Supreme Court to help achieve that goal."
Wade will be sworn in Sept. 1, filling one of two vacancies created by the retirements of Justice E. Riley Anderson and Adolpho A. Birch Jr. Wade will continue to serve on the appeals court until he is sworn in.
Though an admitted Democrat who got the nod from a Democratic governor, that political connection wasn't the deciding factor. One of the three men being considered by Bredesen was J. Houston Gordon, who once headed the Tennessee Democratic Party and ran against Republican Fred Thompson for the U.S. Senate.
Bredesen called Wade Monday afternoon and told him of the selection. The governor made a public announcement Tuesday.
"Gary Wade is a highly qualified judge who has proven himself in the practice of law and his service on the Court of Criminal Appeals," Bredesen said. "His reputation for fairness and consistency, his strong commitment to the law and his dedication to the timely and faithful dispensation of justice will serve the Tennessee Supreme Court and the citizens of our state well."
Wade said he wanted a seat on the Supreme Court for two reasons. He mentioned a conversation he had last summer with fellow appeals court judge Norma Ogle. She's from Sevier County and is married to Circuit Judge Rex Ogle. When Supreme Court Justice Riley Anderson told Wade and others he planned to retire in 2006, "Norma looked at me and said, 'Gary, you've got to do this for Sevier County,'" Wade said.
And there was the influence of his late mother, Kate Wade.
"My dear mother was the inspiration in our family," he said. "I mean that in the warmest way possible. Sometimes she used a carrot, sometimes a stick. She would have rolled over in her grave if she thought this appointment was a possibility and I didn't reach for it."
Wade's 99-year-old father, Dwight Sr., got a call from his son Tuesday telling him of the appointment.
Wade had a lot of support. When the three nominees were sent to the governor April 21 by the judicial commission, all three got supporters to send letters on their behalf. Wade received support from, among others, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters; U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr.; Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam; Wade McCamey, president of Walters State; Jack Campbell, retired Walters State president; DAs from the 6th and 8th Judicial District; several fellow appeals court judges; former Sevierville city administrator Russell Treadway; and Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer.
Lloyd Daugherty of The Tennessee Conservative Union described Wade as a "moderate to conservative Democrat" and noted his "great sensitivity to the victims of crimes." Daugherty, whose organization endorsed Wade's nomination, said, "Judge Wade's legal philosophy is straight down the middle and faithful to the law above all else."
In his 2006 judicial evaluation, Wade was rated as excellent by appellate judges, trial judges, attorneys and court personnel. The Evaluation Commission said his "oral argument and appropriate judicial temperament were particularly noteworthy." The commission also noted "Judge Wade's excellent leadership as presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals."
Because Wade won't be sworn in until after the Aug. 3 general election, he will remain on the ballot for another eight-year term on the appeals court.
The Supreme Court hears appeals in both civil and criminal cases. The five justices are nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission, appointed by the governor and retained by a "yes-no" vote for eight-year terms. Wade was successfully elected twice to the appeals court.
Wade was named Appellate Judge of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2004 and received the Judicial Excellence Award from the Knoxville Bar Association in 2005. He is a member and former president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and a founder of the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, on which he serves as secretary of the board. The foundation is responsible for endowing five need-based scholarships a year for aspiring law students.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 8 Jun 2006.
Wade lauded for work ethic, love of community
Local people and seemingly everyone associated with him were quick to praise Gary Wade after Gov. Phil Bredesen selected him to fill one of two vacancies on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Wade is the first Sevier County resident to be named to the state's top judicial body, and that was something that made many local folks proud.
"I think not only an honor to Judge Wade, but to all the citizens of Sevier County," District Attorney General Al Schmutzer Jr. said. "I'm sure he'll do a good job and I wish him well."
Circuit Court Judge Rex Henry Ogle grew up with Wade and served with him as an attorney and as a judge. That doesn't mean he expects Wade to rule in his favor if he reviews a case from Ogle's court.
"Even though we have been lifelong friends, he was the first judge to overturn one of my rulings as a trial judge," Ogle said.
"Gary is recognized as first among equals as a judge," he added. "He is simply one of the most widely respected individuals I have ever known. I am proud he includes me among his friends."
Wade is as well-known for his civic mindedness as his judicial acumen.
He served as mayor of the city of Sevierville for two terms, and was a founder of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Russell Treadway was city administrator in Sevierville during Wade's tenure as mayor.
"The entire city staff was inspired by his dedication, work ethic, and love for his community - traits he not only encouraged, but also modeled on a day-to-day basis," Treadway said.
James Hart, president of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, noted Wade has chaired the board of that organization since it started in 1993.
"Because of his volunteer leadership efforts, thousands of schoolchildren have participated in the invaluable educational experience of the Parks as Classrooms programs, trails have been restored, historic structures have been preserved, a new science center is being built, and hundreds of new species have been identified under the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory," Hart said.
Wade's influence on the city has lasted long past his time as mayor. Alderman Claude Ownby said he often seeks Wade's input on issues facing the city today.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Ownby said.
- [S51] The Seymour Herald, (www.smokymountainherald.com), 7 Jun 2006.
One of Sevier County’s favorite sons, Criminal Appeals Court Judge Gary Wade, was selected by Gov. Phil Bredesen as the state’s newest Supreme Court Justice.
“I’m thankful for the governor for giving this opportunity to a Sevier County boy,” said Wade. “This is not only a good time for me but for also for the people of Sevier County with whom I’ve lived and loved and grown up—nothing this positive happens without a whole lot of help.”
Wade is not only the county’s first Supreme Court appointee; he was also the first Sevier Countian to be appointed to the appeals court.
After conducting interviews and public hearings on each candidate who applied for the Supreme Court Seat, Judicial Selection Commission members selected three nominees for recommendation to the governor. Other choices the governor had for the position were Davidson County Chancellor Richard Dinkins and Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon.
“They are two very fine nominees,” Wade said.
“Gary Wade is a highly qualified judge who has proven himself in the practice of law and his service on the Court of Criminal Appeals,” Bredesen said. “His reputation for fairness and consistency, his strong commitment to the law and his dedication to the timely and faithful dispensation of justice will serve the Tennessee Supreme Court and the citizens of our state well.”
Wade was the mayor of Sevierville from 1977 until 1987, the same year he was appointed to his current position on the appeals court. He was subsequently reelected to the bench in 1990 and 1998. He served as city attorney for the City of Pigeon Forge from 1973 to 1987.
“When I was 26 years old, running for City Council, I never imagined that I’d be serving the public for 32 years,” Wade said.
Wade graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1970 and earned his law degree from the UT College of Law.
He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Wade has been a strong advocate for the Smokies as Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park President. He is also a member of the Walters State Community College Foundation Board of Trustees and the Pellissippi State Technical Community College President’s Associates.
Wade was in private law practice from 1973 to 1987, including eight years as managing partner of Ogle, Wade & Wynn in Sevier County. Wade also serves on the Board of Directors of The United Way of Sevier County and the Sevier County Library Foundation.
“I have developed a judicial philsophy in my career of due process to litigants, courtesy to counsel, faithfulness to the law and accountability to the people. I believe our supreme court is in the best possible position to inspire the confidence of our citizens in the state’s legal system, and I will apply my philosophy to the Supreme Court to help achieve that goal.”
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 29 Sep 2006.
New Justice Gary Wade reflects on recent ceremony
September 29, 2006
The Sevier County Courthouse has witnessed several memorable events since the turn of the last century. Some were ominous: the public executions at the conclusion of the White Cap Era, a rally by the Ku Klux Klan, the fire which engulfed Temple Mill, and the floods of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Some were downright fun: the appearance of former U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver in a coonskin cap, congressional candidate and favorite son John Waters riding an elephant down Court Avenue, Lamar Alexander and his checked shirt, child singer Dolly Parton on the courthouse steps, and election nights as votes were tallied on a chalk board while effigies of the losing candidates were being prepared for public display.
Presidents, vice presidents, U.S. senators and congressional representatives have visited Court Avenue or walked through the portals of our historic courthouse. For example, on Sept. 2, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was chauffeured to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for the dedication ceremony. Along the way, he was driven through the streets of Sevierville, traversing Main Street, Park Road, Bruce Street, Court Avenue, and Joy Street before accessing U.S. 441 for his trip through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on the way to Newfound Gap (legend has it that his chauffeur was directed to pick up Postmaster Ralph Murphy, who at that time was the closest thing to a Democratic office holder in the county!).
That I had planned a public investiture at our courthouse last Friday was in the spirit of this tradition. Judges Rex and Norma Ogle and Mayors Larry Waters and Bryan Atchley organized a splendid event featuring the governor and his staff, our supreme court justices and two former chief justices, and city, county, and state officials throughout Tennessee (even Park Superintendents Dale Ditmanson of the Smokies and Phil Francis of Blue Ridge were on hand).
Nature intervened in the form of rain and, in this case, it was perhaps divine. Through the generosity of Pastor Randy Davis, Business Administrator David Goode and the congregation at First Baptist Church of Sevierville, our county's largest place of worship became the site of the official swearing-in ceremony. My father, who is 99 years old and the oldest living member of that church, held our family Bible as Gov. Bredesen administered the oath.
When all of the 40 or so dignitaries were appropriately seated in the space ordinarily reserved for the church musicians and vocalists, Mayor Atchley, after taking his turn at the microphone, quipped, "If the ministers of this county knew all of you were here, they would be lined out the door for the opportunity to preach to this choir!"
The Baptists had saved the day. All of those present put a huge smile on my face. There is simply no better place to be than in Sevier County.
If all assembled overindulged a bit on the provincial theme, so be it. The memories are precious and everlasting. I am grateful to all who took part.
Gary R. Wade
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 24 Sep 2006.
Congratulations, Justice Wade
By: JOEL DAVIS
September 24, 2006
Local official newest Tennessee Supreme Court Justice
SEVIERVILLE - Rain didn't dampen the spirits of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade or his well-wishers during a swearing-in ceremony Friday at the First Baptist Church.
Weather had forced the ceremony, which had been planned for the steps of the Sevier County Courthouse, indoors.
Gov. Phil Bredesen administered the oath of office to Wade during the ceremony. Speaking beforehand, the governor stressed the importance of good character in those chosen for the State Supreme Court.
"They must bear themselves ethically beyond reproach," Bredesen said. "Gary Wade absolutely and easily meets this standard of excellence . . . I know his time in our court will be characterized by grace and distinction."
Wade's 99-year-old father, Dwight, held the Bible that his son swore the oath upon. Afterwards, the now-Justice Wade kissed his father fondly on the cheek.
Judge Norma Ogle of the Court of Criminal Appeals then helped Wade don the robes of his office.
"Are you ready for this new adventure?" she said.
"I am," said Wade, simply.
Wade, a native son of Sevier County, took a moment to express pride in his community after the ceremony.
"I wish that I had the right words to capture what I am feeling for the people of Sevier County," he said. "I will do my best at all times to honor you."
Previously, Wade had served on the criminal appeals court since 1987. He was presiding judge of the appeals court for the last eight years.
Wade is the first Sevier County resident ever to be named to the five-member Tennessee Supreme Court.
Technically sworn in Sept. 1, Wade filled one of two vacancies created by the retirements of Justices Anderson and Adolpho A. Birch Jr.
The Supreme Court hears appeals in both civil and criminal cases. The five justices are nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission, appointed by the governor and retained by a "yes-no" vote for eight-year terms. Wade was successfully elected twice to the appeals court.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 23 Sep 2006.
Wade's swearing-in a great day for state
September 23, 2006
It's largely ceremonial, to be sure. After all, he's been serving as a Tennessee Supreme Court justice since Sept. 1. But today's swearing-in of Gary Wade by Gov. Phil Bredesen is, nonetheless, a special, significant occasion. It was important for Wade to have a swearing-in event in his hometown, so friends and family could more easily be on hand to see it.
Wade has brought much pride and honor on Sevier County, and not just with his selection as a state court justice. From his days as mayor of Sevierville to his years as a Court of Criminal Appeals judge to his varied community service work, Wade has been a force for good both in Sevier County and throughout the state. He rose to become presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, a testament to the respect in which he is held by his colleagues.
When a vacancy came up on the Supreme Court for which an East Tennessee resident would be considered, Wade applied. He was one of three persons recommended to Bredesen by the Judicial Selection Commission, and the governor chose Wade.
It's been quite a whirlwind of activity for Wade, who's one of five Supreme Court justices. But he's not too busy to spend a Friday in his hometown enjoying the recognition and having a swearing-in ceremony in the shadows of the courthouse, across the street from where he practiced law before earning a court appointment. He'll have three dozen or so of his colleagues on hand, judges and justices and attorneys from all over Tennessee who will be in Sevierville for the occasion.
Today is a great day for Sevier County and for the state. The swearing-in takes place at 2 p.m. on the courthouse lawn, or inside First Baptist Church in case of rain. Make plans to attend.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 6 Dec 2007.
Wade asks for public support for new library
By: DAVID KLEIN Staff Writer
December 06, 2007
SEVIERVILLE - Gary Wade has gotten sound advice from predecessors over the years. From "blame it on your predecessor" to "make a plan," Wade has followed a path from attorney and later mayor of Sevierville to his current post as a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The advice came from former Sevierville Mayor Cliff Davis who lost to Wade in 1977, but told Wade if he got into trouble about policy decision he could blame it on Davis. Wade may not have always followed Davis' advice, but he continued the tradition by passing along advice to his eventual successor, Charlie Johnson.
That is just one piece to the puzzle that Wade revealed to the Sevierville Rotary Club Tuesday as he encouraged local residents to donate to the new library planned for Sevierville and explained some of the decision facing the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The last days of fund raising for the library will end Dec. 31, and Wade urged Rotary Club members and the public to raise the necessary funds to reach to $8.5 million goal. The city of Sevierville has raised $2 million and the county has pledged $2.5 million.
In his time on the Tennessee Supreme Court, Wade can now speak about term limits in Knox County, where voters had elected term limits for local officials, and this vote was upheld in the Supreme Court. The Knox County sheriff, register of deeds, trustee, county clerk, and eight county commissioners were out of office. Wade wrote the opinion for the court's ruling.
Wade also explained that in a typical year, the Tennessee Supreme Court will deal with approximately 100 cases. One important case coming up is a collective bargaining process involving Tennessee's tenured teachers and their rights to be transferred or not to be transferred within a school system. Wade said, "The educational Improvement Act is in conflict with the Teacher Tenure Act."
Wade spoke after the meeting about a potential ruling on the Tennessee death penalty. Currently, Tennessee has a three step injection process for the death penalty. The first injection is to relax the criminal. The second injection puts the criminal to sleep, and the third one is supposed to kill the criminal. The U.S. district court has said that the three injections are unconstitutional. Tennessee may adopt one injection if the case goes to the Supreme Court, and the justices vote in favor of one injection.
Wade said two death penalty cases may be taken up by the state Supreme Court. It is likely that Governor Phil Bredesen will postpone those till the U.S. Supreme Court determines an action. Wade said, "We will have to follow whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides."
Wade was sworn in as a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sept. 1, 2006, by Governor Bredesen. He served 10 years as mayor of Sevierville before being appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987. He practiced law from 1973 to 1987 and served as city attorney for Pigeon Forge from 1973 to 1987. He also serves on the board of directors for Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 9 Mar 2009.
Family continues long association with SCB
SEVIERVILLE - As the county's oldest community bank, Sevier County Bank's history is intertwined with that of people who helped shape the area.
That includes the Wade family.
Gary Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court justice and former Sevierville mayor, can remember going to the bank to make deposits as soon as he was old enough to reach up to the tellers.
"I'm not quite old enough to remember when they started, but my dad might have if he were still alive," Wade said. His father, Dwight Wade Sr., died last year at the age of 101.
One of the first things he gave his sons was a piggy bank from Sevier County Bank.
"When we started having more than a dollar or two, he encouraged us to put it in a savings account at Sevier County Bank, so we did, and each of us did our own banking.
"I wish that lesson had taken. I don't do nearly as well at saving as my dad did. Hopefully that lesson took for my brothers," Gary Wade said.
He can still recall many of the tellers and employees from those days.
It helped that Dwight's uncle, Sanders Atchley, was cashier at the bank as the elder Wade was growing up. Dwight Wade would eventually serve on the board of directors.
Helping to hire Ross Summitt to serve at the bank was one of his father's proudest moments, Wade said.
Sevier County Bank has stood as a leader in helping improve the community, Wade said.
When he started raising money to build the Sevierville Community Center, Sevier County Bank was the first call he made, Wade said.
"I cannot remember a time since that I have asked for contributions to a cause that I haven't gone to Sevier County Bank and they've always said yes, so truly they are a community bank," he said.
Sevier County has a strong contingent of community banks, he said, but Sevier County Bank helped create the sense of commitment to the community that they share.
"There are other banks that are equally generous," he said, "but they set the standard."
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 3 Apr 2011.
Wade receives Good Scout award
by STAN VOIT
Banker Mike Comer, Circuit Judge Rex Ogle, Appeals Court Judge Norma Ogle and Gary Wade at the banquet honoring Wade with the first Good Scout Award.
PIGEON FORGE — By his own admission, Gary Wade was a lousy Boy Scout.
“After my first year, the scoutmaster quit,” he said.
But his brother Dwight and his son Zachary became Eagle Scouts, and Wade has spent much of his adult life supporting the scouting program.
For that, Wade was given the first Good Scout award for Sevier County during a banquet Thursday at Music Road Convention Center.
At times it was almost a roast, as a video featuring the likes of Jim Haslam, Phil and Vicky Fulmer and Sevierville Mayor Brian Atchley, among others, poked a little fun at Wade while praising his community involvement.
The evening also was a fundraiser for the Boy Scout program, which has some 1,200 boys involved in scouting in Sevier County and South Knoxville.
Wade served as Sevierville’s mayor, then spent 19 years on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals before being named to the Supreme Court in 2006. He has given money and time to several causes, from Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains to fundraising for King Family Library.
But it was scouting that dominated the evening.
“Whether you’ve been a Scout or not,” Wade said, “the principles espoused by the Scout oath ring true.”
“Scouting is such a worthy, worthy program,” Atchley said.
Bob Quilliams, representing the Sequoyah District of Boy Scouts, said Sevier County “is a better place to live because of Gary Wade.”
The Sequoyah District includes all of Sevier as well as South Knoxville. For every four scouts there is one adult volunteer.
The program always needs more volunteers, said Mark Janeway, district scout executive.
“Scouting is growing in Sevier County,” he said. “We have lots of good leaders, but there is always room for lots more. What we really need are adult volunteers. That way we could have more troops, more Cub Scout packs and more Venture crews.”
Venture is an outdoor program for older boys.
The video tribute also featured County Mayor Larry Waters, former city police chief Robbie Fox, businessman Sid Blalock, Jim Hart of Friends of the Smokies and others. Many joked about Wade’s reputation for aggressively asking for donations to worthy causes.
“Gary’s philosophy is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get,” Blalock said.
But Wade’s gift of raising money also is noteworthy for what he supports.
“Anything he’s ever done,” Atchley said, “has not been for himself but for the betterment of this community.”
Scouting is involved in a capital campaign to pay for improvements at two area scout camps.
Those interested in supporting the Boy Scout program in Sevier County can contact Janeway at 566-0642 or 250-7523.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 13 May 2011.
Blast from the past: Former Mayor Gary Wade donates historic parking meter to the city
By JEFF FARRELL
SEVIERVILLE —A small piece of Sevierville’s history now resides in the Civic Center — with a slight modification.
For decades, the city had parking meters downtown in an attempt to give customers at businesses there a chance to park near their destination, and to raise revenues for the city.
They were eventually removed after city officials determined the cost of having police officers check the meters was greater than the city actually made from the meters.
City officials had one of the old meters restored to its original condition, and presented it to former Mayor and current state Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade as a token of appreciation for his service.
Wade recently returned the meter — which has been converted into a lamp, with the City of Sevierville logo on the shade. It now sits in the lobby of the Civic Center, along with several historic images of Sevierville.
Wade and former City Manager Hewlett Chaney were present for a small dedication ceremony Monday.
Chaney said as a child he and friends used to climb onto the meters and stand on them, then wait for passersby to notice them — until an officer who would eventually be one of his employees caught them and made them stop. Wade said during his younger days they’d check the meters to see if there was any loose change they could take to buy treats or go to the movies.
Both said they thought the city had made the right decision by removing the meters, saying it saved taxpayers money and allowed police to focus on more important duties.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 7 Aug 2012.
Wade to serve as chief justice
by JEFF FARRELL
SEVIERVILLE — Justice Gary Wade will come home over the Labor Day weekend for a ceremony that marks his highest honor yet in his law career: He will be sworn in Sept. 1 as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The five justices vote among themselves to decide who will serve two-year terms as the leader of the state’s top court. They have selected the Sevierville native and former mayor to replace current Chief Justice Cornelia Clark.
The ceremony will be held at the Sevier County Courthouse at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Court Avenue will be closed between Bruce Street and Commerce Avenue from 8 until 11 a.m. for the ceremony.
“It is an absolutely huge honor,” Wade said.
The chief justice presides over hearings and acts as chair of the group during deliberations. Additional responsibilities include appointing special judges to cases where the local judges had to recuse themselves.
Wade said he regrets that the ceremony is set for a holiday weekend, but said that’s typically the day set for the event.
“It’ll be short and sweet,” he said. “I would be honored if any of my old friends have the time and inclination to come by and visit for a few minutes.”
One of Wade’s fellow justices will perform the ceremony here on Sept. 1. Gov. Bill Haslam will administer the ceremonial oath of office at the Knoxville Bar Association’s annual dinner honoring the Tennessee Supreme Court on Sept. 5.
Wade was mayor in Sevierville from 1977 to 1987, and still lives here. Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed him to the Supreme Court in 2006, after a 19-year tenure as an appellate judge