James Elliott "Jim" Bondurant, 84, of Union City, Tenn., formerly of Hodgenville, passed away Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, at Union City Baptist Memorial Hospital.
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He was born Oct. 19, 1929, to James Willie and Zula Powell Bondurant. He grew up in Brandenburg and graduated from Meade County High School in 1948. From childhood on, Jim was a hard worker and held many jobs during his early years in Meade County, including milking cows at a dairy before and after school every day, working on a barge on the Ohio River and helping hang wallpaper. His favorite job was driving his granddaddy, James Henry Bondurant, around the area beginning at about age 13.
In 1952, he married Katherine "Kaye" Keyes of Lexington and they started a family with the births of their two children, Jane Elizabeth and James Bourbon Bondurant.
Bondurant worked in the banking field then began a full-time practice of law in Hodgenville in 1962. He was elected as state representative in 1963 and during his second term worked diligently to pass the Kentucky Civil Rights Act which gave every Kentuckian the right to attend school, eat at restaurants, stay in motels and enjoy other civil rights regardless of their color, creed, race or religion.
In 1964, he and others chartered a new bank in Elizabethtown, originally called Citizens Bank of Elizabethtown which now is First Citizens Bank. He was on the bank's board of directors for 45 years, serving as chairman of the board for many of those years. He served on LaRue County Fair Board, was attorney for LaRue County Board of Education and was active in Hodgenville United Methodist Church and the Democratic Party. He also served on the board of directors of Methodist Evangelical Hospital then after its merger, on the board of Norton Hospital, where he chaired the ethics committee.
In 1985, he was elected District Judge for Hart and LaRue counties and continued in this position until his retirement. In January 2000, the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court appointed him as the first senior judge in Kentucky. As senior judge, he held court throughout the state and served on various courts including district courts, circuit courts, probate courts and the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
One of his most rewarding positions was as chairman of the board of trustees for Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, where he contributed greatly to its operations and expansion. He joined its board in 1979 and held many positions until his recent illness. The college awarded Bondurant an honorary doctorate degree for his services as well as a distinguished service award.
Upon retirement, he and Kaye moved to Union City, Tenn., where he enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Peggy Penas; and a brother, Joe Bondurant.
He is survived by his wife, Kaye Bondurant; a daughter, Jane Bondurant; a son, Jim Bondurant and his wife, Mary Nita; a grandson, Dylan Bondurant and his wife, Courtney; a granddaughter, Katie Creech and her husband, Jeremy; four great-grandchildren, Rylan Ali and Bo Bondurant and Charlie and Hattie Grace Creech; and three sisters, Alice Scott, Mary Jones and Eleanor Newman.
The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, in the upper courtroom of the LaRue County Courthouse with the Rev. Rachel Marshall officiating. Burial follows in Red Hill Cemetery.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and continues from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home in Hodgenville.
Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home
208 West Water Street
Hodgenville, KY 42748
Published in The News-Enterprise on Dec. 27, 2013