Judge Williams dies suddenly

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John Everett Williams

State Criminal Court of Appeals Judge John Everett Williams, 68, of Huntingdon, died suddenly while on a trip out West. Williams also maintained a home in the Beaver Dam community in Eva, where he spent much of his time.

Williams apparently had a massive heart attack during the morning hours on Monday, Aug. 29, while on a trip with his brother Bob. He was in Carroll County just the past weekend for funeral visitation for Tennessee Highway Patrolmen Sgt. Lee Russell, according to friends.

Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler and his father Walter Butler, president of Bethel University, were close friends with Williams and were deeply saddened to hear the news.

“He had reached the pinnacle of his career and had just been re-elected,” said J. Butler. “He so loved his son and daughter-in-law, and his granddaughters Emory and Everly.”

Gov. Don Sundquist appointed Williams to the Criminal Court of Appeals in 1998 and he has been re-elected every election since. Prior to that he was in private practice of Williams and Williams Attorneys at Law in Huntingdon from 1981-1998. In 2018, he was named presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, becoming the first judge from West Tennessee to hold that position in 25 years.

Williams held memberships in the Tenn. Bar Association, Tenn. Trial Lawyers Association, Carroll County Bar Association, and was past president of Huntingdon Jaycees.

His community involvement included Huntingdon Lions Club past president, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Carroll County Habitat for Humanity, Carroll County Ducks Unlimited, and Cumberland School of Law’s Cochairman. Tennessee Supreme Court officials said that Williams was well-known for his colorful dress, bowties, and summer seersucker suits. He was a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and an established actor who performed at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center. He was known for his humor and his magic shows that delighted children.

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