WILKS, Larry DeanAge 56 of Springfield, died Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, September 3rd, at First United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday, September 2nd from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday the 3rd from 10 a.m. until the service at 1 p.m. Following the service, Interment will be at Memorial Gardens. Mr. Wilks was born January 8, 1955 at Fort Jackson in South Carolina to the late Ray Dean Wilks and Jean Garrett Wilks. He grew up on the family farm, raising tobacco and working in his parents' grocery stores. He graduated from East Robertson High School in 1973. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he received his B.S. in Agricultural Economics in 1977 and his Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1980. He was admitted to practice law in 1981. Mr. Wilks began his legal career as an associate at Mayo & Norris in Nashville, but always wanted to come "home" to practice in Springfield, which he did for nearly 30 years. From 1982 to 1984, he was a solo practitioner, and in 1984, began a partnership as Walton, Jones & Wilks, thereafter known as Jones & Wilks until 1989. From 1989 until his death, he was in private practice as The Law Offices of Larry D. Wilks on the square in Springfield. Mr. Wilks received numerous honors, and served his community and the legal profession in many ways throughout his career as a trial attorney. In 2006, Mr. Wilks was chosen to serve as President of the Tennessee Bar Association. He also served as Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer 1999-2003; Board of Governors Member 1991-2008; Co-Chair, Leadership Law 2003-2004 and 2008-2010; Young Lawyers Division Lifetime Fellow; and President of the TBA YLD, as well as Editor of the Quarterly (1987-1988). He was also a member of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents. Mr. Wilks often said one of his proudest achievements was being "the lawyer to the lawyers" by serving as Assistant General Counsel and General Counsel to the TBA from 1994 to 1999. He served on the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, and was a member of the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Foundations, Tennessee and American Associations for Justice, the National and Tennessee Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America President's Club, as well as other professional organizations. He served on the Tennessee Supreme Court Board of Professional Responsibility and Tennessee Association for Justice (Board of Governors). He was President of the Robertson County Bar from 1993 to 1996. In addition, he served as Chairman of the Robertson County Democratic Party from 1986 to 1993, and President of the Robertson County University of Tennessee Alumni Association from 2003 to 2004. He joined the University of Tennessee President's Club in 1987. Mr. Wilks was also a Director at Commerce Union Bank, Springfield. His honors include American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 Lawyers (2010), Mid-South Super Lawyers (2009), Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers (2004-2011), and Best Lawyers in America (2006-2011). Of all these great successes, his pride and joy were his sons, John and Adam. Mr. Wilks is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jan McIllwain Wilks and their sons, John Ray and Adam Garrett; mother, Jean Garrett Wilks of Orlinda; a brother, Tom (Janis) Wilks of Springfield; brother-in-law, Steven (Beth) McIllwain of Palm Bay, FL; sisters-in-law, Lisa Merritt and Gina (Robert) Trent, both of Nashville; nephews, Brad, Ross and Alec Wilks, Al Merritt, Terrell and Andy McIllwain, Alex and Erik Trent; nieces, Sarah Merritt Wright and McKenzie Trent. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his son, Benjamin Dean Wilks. Brad Wilks, Ross Wilks, Alec Wilks, Al Merritt, Alex Trent, Erik Trent, John "Doc" Johnston, and Bill McKinney will serve as Pallbearers. The members of the Robertson County Bar Association will serve as Honorary Pallbearers. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the following: Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation Larry Wilks Memorial Fund, c/o Gary Wade, Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court, PO Box 444, Knoxville, TN 37901; First United Methodist Church, Springfield; or Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Orlinda. AUSTIN & BELL Springfield is in charge of these arrangements, (615) 384-1000. www.austinandbell.com
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Published by The Tennessean from Sep. 1 to Sep. 2, 2011.