John Chiles, former House GOP leader, dies age 83

John G. Chiles, a Nashville Republican who served 16 years in the state legislature including eight years as House Minority Leader, has died at age 83.

His tenure as House Republican leader came when Democrat Ned McWherter was governor and Democrats held a majority in both the House and Senate. In that capacity, he was occasionally combative on partisan issues but sometimes willing to compromise as well — and he regularly displayed a quick wit in both situations.

Chiles, who ran a family-owned Nashville restaurant and then worked as a banker, is survived by his wife, Beth, two daughters, a stepdaughter, six grandchildren and two stepchildren, according to the published obituary. (Note: It’s HERE.) A service is scheduled for Wednesday.

An excerpt:

After his restaurant career, John served as Vice President of Business Development for United American Bank. It was during this time that he became interested in politics. In 1976, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives serving House District 57. He served as the minority whip in the 91st and 92nd General Assemblies. He was elected House Republican Leader in 1986 where he continued to serve through 1992. He was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council and served as the organization’s Tennessee State Chairman from 1988 – 1991. He also served as a member of the Tennessee Republican Executive Committee and in 1993, he was named the Tennessee Republican Statesman of the Year.

…A gathering of family and friends will be held at Donelson Presbyterian Church at 2305 Lebanon Road from noon until 2:00pm on Wednesday, March 29th. A Celebration of Life will follow immediately at the church with Dr. Paul Casner officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Donelson Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice.

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