Retired TN Supreme Court Justice Frank Drowota dies, age 79

Frank F. Drowota III, who served 25 years on the Tennessee Supreme Court before retiring in 2006, has died at age 79.

As a Nashville lawyer, Drowota was first elected to judicial position in 1970 – Davidison County Chancery Court —  and was appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 1974.

In 1980, Democrat Drowota won a seat on the Supreme Court by defeating Republican George Brown, who had been appointed to the high court by then-Gov. Lamar Alexander on a temporary basis following the sudden death of Justice Joe Henry.

He was subsequently reelected to new eight-year terms both before and after the selection of justices was shifted in 1998 from contested elections to the “Tennessee plan” that has high court judges elected on a “yes-or-no” referendum on whether they should have new terms. He served two terms as chief justice.

Upon his retirement in 2006, the Tennessee Bar Association created an annual Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award and made him the first recipient of the annual award honoring a Tennessee judge for exceptional service.

Clay Stauffer, senior pastor of Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville (where the judge’s father was founding pastor), says in an email to church members that Drowota “passed away Sunday evening surrounded by his family” and that a funeral service will be held Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m., preceded by visitation at 12:30 p.m.

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