JAMES C. BRADFORD JR.
Dealmaker, partner, J.C. Bradford & Co.
E. Thomas Wood
By the time James C. Bradford Jr. died at home of cancer, at age 76, his family name symbolized Nashville's bygone era as the "Wall Street of the South." A graduate of Princeton University, Bradford joined J.C. Bradford & Co. in 1959 after serving in the U.S. Air Force and working at Lehman Brothers in New York. As a partner in the brokerage his father had founded in 1927, he presided over a period of substantial growth for Bradford & Co.
Among the local companies for which the firm handled stock offerings were Shoney's, AmSurg, HCA, Central Parking, Healthways, Corrections Corporation of America, and Ingram Industries. By 1996, the firm had 850 brokers in 88 offices. It managed or co-managed 50 public offerings that year.
As the securities industry evolved in the 1990s, Bradford and his partners came to believe that smaller firms could not compete effectively with Wall Street's titans. Rumors that the firm might be sold first emerged in January 2000. On April 27 of that year, it revealed plans for a $620 million cash sale to PaineWebber, which itself was purchased by Swiss bank UBS months later. Jimmy Bradford and his family reaped more than $70 million in the deal.
Bradford was active in the leadership of the National Association of Securities Dealers and served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange from 1987 to 1993. He served as a trustee of both Montgomery Bell Academy and Ensworth School, chairing the latter institution's board in the 1980s. He also served on the boards of Baptist Hospital, the Nashville Opera Association and Peabody College.
JAMES F. NEAL
Attorney; prosecutor of Hoffa and Nixon; defender of Dr. Nick, Exxon and Gore
Aubrey B. Harwell Jr.
James Foster Neal was viewed by many as the greatest, most successful trial lawyer in the last 50 years. Like many great trial lawyers, he had phenomenal success in the cases he tried. He tried more major lawsuits for a longer period of time than any other lawyer in America.
Jim Neal began his career as a deputy to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and in that position prosecuted Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa. He subsequently was named U.S. Attorney, where he prosecuted a number of very high-profile cases.
He joined the Watergate Special Prosecution Force in 1973, successfully prosecuting Attorney General John Mitchell, senior White House aides, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman and others. A nationally known journalist said that Neal's closing argument in the Watergate case was the best he had ever heard.
Neal then returned to private practice in Nashville. His successful defense of the Ford Motor Company in what came to be known as the Pinto Case, his representation of George Nichopoulos, personal physician of Elvis Presley, his defense of movie director John Landis, his work for Exxon in the litigation arising out of the Valdez oil spill, were all noteworthy cases, but they were but a few of the jury trials that Jim Neal successfully handled during his phenomenal career.
In the Neal & Harwell law firm he co-founded with his good friend Aubrey Harwell, he was a mentor, a strong leader, an inspiration to young lawyers, and a role model to everyone in the firm. He was charming, articulate, and had huge credibility.
He was a man of great integrity and phenomenal ability. He was also a man who absolutely could not stand to lose. Be it a major trial or a coin flipped to see who would buy lunch, he was dedicated to winning, and win he did.
From a farm family in Oak Grove, Tenn., to representation of major corporations, governors, senators, other public officials and CEOs as well, Jim Neal achieved his goal — "He joined the battle and did the best he could with what he had."
BUSINESS & LAW REMEMBERED
ELBERT "HUTCH" CARLOCK
Record distributor and retailer; founded Music City Record Distributors, parent company of the once-influential Cat's Records retail chain
WILLIAM P. ORTALE
Mediator, arbitrator, attorney; co-founder, Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford
JAMES H. REED III
Chairman and former president, Jim Reed Chevrolet; dedicated to propagation of bur oak seedlings, which he planted to commemorate births
DeWITT CLINTON THOMPSON III
He was "DeWitt" to friends and business associates at the family Caterpillar dealership, Thompson Machinery, and "Pop" to his 16 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. His passions included golf, flying, Vandy sports, beagles and, above all, family. Surviving him, in addition to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, is his wife of 68 years, Diana Roberts Thompson.
WILLIAM "BILL" WILLIS JR.
Respected First Amendment attorney; former chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Hospitals who oversaw the merger of Meharry-Hubbard and Metro General
ROBERT K. ZELLE
Founder, WZTV-Channel 17, Nashville's first independent TV station; philanthropist who co-founded The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
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