Bits of Stone for Sunday, Sept. 15
By Dean Stone | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Three honored attorneys are from Blountfamilies long on community leadership
Three attorneys, native Blount Countians whose families have long records of community leadership, have been honored.
Martha “Marty” S. Lowe Black, David T. Black and, now Judge, Neal McBrayer.
My main intent is not to list all their achievements but to remind readers of some of their personal and family community history and achievement.
Marty and David Black compose a husband and wife team heading the Kizer and Black group of attorneys.
For more than the last 10 years Marty and David have been selected as Best Lawyers nationally by the oldest and highly respected peer review guide to the national practice of law, each being honored as “Super Lawyers.”
Both graduated at Maryville High, David in 1962 and Marty in 1963.
David completed his undergraduate work at UT and earned his law degree there in 1967. In 2012, he was Knoxville Lawyer of the Year in estate and trust litigation and received a similar honor for real estate litigation in 2013. He was vice president of the Blount County Bar Association in 1979 and President of the Tennessee Bar Association in 1980.
He is a member and has served as chairman of the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency, chairman of the Blount County Planning commission, vice chairman of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, member of the Blount Industrial Development Board and is a director of the Pellissippi State College Foundation.
Marty has served as UT professor of law
Marty earned her undergraduate degree, cum laude, at Mount Holyoke; ranked No. 1 in her class and was Graduate of the Year at UT College of Law in 1973. She served as adjunct professor of law at UT and is a certified specialist in elder law and estate planning.
Marty was president of the Blount County Bar Association in 1987 and was an organizer and chair of the Blount County Foster Care Board. She was president of Blount County Childrens’ Home and has been involved as a leader in the Blount County Historic Trust, Foothills Land Conservancy, and both the Blount County Public Library and its foundation.
The Black’s two daughters, both graduates of Webb School, have followed them in the legal profession. Charlotte Grzebien is a graduate of UT and University of Virginia College of Law. She serves as General Counsel for Community Oriented Policing System, a division of the U.S. Justice Department. Elizabeth earned a B.S. from Middlebury College in Vermont, a masters in international relations from Yale and her law degree from Georgetown. She is a lawyer in Seattle, Wash., practicing environmental litigation.
David’s mother, Ruth, taught 30 years at Fairview Elementary School. His father Tom was a machinist, employed in Knoxville.
I was pleased to learn, when talking to David, that when his family lived on Crest Road he delivered The Daily Times. He picked up his papers at the grocery store owned by my parents, the A.H. Stones, at the nearby corner of Everett High and Sevierville roads. Enjoy learning every day!
Marty’s parents, Ernie and Esther Lowe, were active in the community. Esther was the first airline stewardess from Rhode Island when they were initially required to be nurses in the 1930s. Ernie served as president of the Maryville College Alumni Association and was active in the community. He was a manufacturer representative for a firm which produced diplomas and related college memorabilia.
Neal McBrayer is appointed appeals judge
A Nashville attorney, W. Neal McBrayer, native Blount Countian, was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to the Tennessee Court of Appeals Middle Section Friday, Aug. 23. It occurred only four days after the death of Neal’s father, William James “Bill” McBrayer, 81.
Bill knew that his son was one of three attorneys who had been nominated by the Tennessee Bar House of Delegates from which the governor was to select the judge. Neal said he was surprised by the appointment.
Bill is survived by his wife of 53 years, Bess, and three sons Neal, Brett and Steve. Brett was head of ALCOA’s South Smelting Plant until it was permanently closed. He continues to live in Knoxville. Steve resides in Bristol.
A graduate of Everett High, Bill completed some of his college work at Maryville College prior to World War II and then earned his degree at UT. A Realtor for 40 years, he was founder of Realty Mart. Active supporter of Maryville Little League he attended Maryville First Baptist Church. His brothers Ken and Keith has been active in the community.
Neal was a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Maryville College and received his juris doctorate from the College of William and Mary in 1989, having served as editor of the Law Review.
McBrayer serves Brentwood community
His law practice has concentrated on areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy.
Neal has served as a 20th Judicial Circuit Delegate to the Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates since 2001, is a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation, has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America and as a Mid-South Super Lawyer. He is a past president of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute.
He and his wife, Kelly, live in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood where he serves on the planning commission and the city’s environmental advisory board.
Readers appreciate knowing more about families who have over the years contributed to making Blount County a better place in which to live, work, raise and educate a family.
Weather storms better
Consumer Reports recently noted some of the unexpected problems when storms hit an area:
• Storms don’t bring out the best of everyone. The National Insurance Crime Bureau screened more than 26,000 fraud complaints after Hurricane Katrina. Phony charities and contractor scams topped the list in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
• Park your car on high ground but not beneath a tree. Two feet of flood water can carry a car away. Driving in water just 8 inches deep can ruin the engine if the water seeps through the air intake.
• Secure outdoor items. High winds can turn lawn chairs, potted plants and trash cans into deadly projectiles. Move them into the garage or basement.
• Keep a corded phone handy. Cordless phones require power. However, the post-Sandy survey found cell phones more dependable than land lines.
Dean Stone is editor of The Times.