Judiciary Mourns The Loss Of Retired Judge James W. McKenzie

January 4, 2021

Former Rhea County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge James W. McKenzie passed away January 2. He was 76.

Judge McKenzie had been in private legal practice in his hometown of Dayton for 26 years when he was elected to the Rhea County bench in 1998. He served there until his retirement in 2014. At the time of his death he served as city judge for Dayton. Judge McKenzie had also previously served as city judge for the City of Graysville and the Town of Spring City.

A life in service to the legal profession was a natural for Judge McKenzie. His father, Oliver Wendell McKenzie, was a longtime attorney. His uncle, Gordon McKenzie, was a Rhea County judge and a special attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. His paternal grandfather, Ben G. McKenzie, was a prosecuting attorney in the famous Scopes Trial.

Judge McKenzie joined the legal profession in 1972, after having earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Prior to that, he graduated from the Tennessee Military Institute in 1962 and received a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1968.

He was a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and a former member of the National Association of Juvenile Judges as well as the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference.

Read more about Judge McKenzie’s life and career here.