“Sam was truly a visionary. He blazed a trail in the way law firms serve their clients and build their businesses. He always had an eye focused on the future. He touched countless lives and was a trusted counselor to political leaders and captains of industry. He was a man of deep faith and devoted himself to God, his country and his family. We will miss him always, but we are so glad we knew him.” - Gif Thornton, Managing Partner
Samuel W. Bartholomew, Jr.
July 6, 1944 - January 18, 2019
We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, colleague, philanthropist and leader, Samuel W. Bartholomew, Jr. on Friday, January 18, 2019. Sam was “larger than life” and was a powerful influence and inspiration to everyone who knew him personally and professionally. As a long-time trusted advisor and caring mentor, his guidance and contributions will remain as a legacy for us all.
“Sam Bartholomew had a tremendous impact on my life. I admired his strong faith and how he led by example in giving back to the community. He provided the highest level of service-above-self and will be dearly missed.”- Lynn Morrow, Partner
Sam was a native of Kingsport, Tennessee where he played football at Dobyns-Bennett High School on two state championship teams. He was recruited by Coach Paul Dietzel to play college football at the United States Military Academy where he became captain of the first Army team to play in Neyland Stadium in 1965.
At West Point, Sam was Cadet Captain, Battalion Commander and assistant football coach in 1966. Sam graduated from West Point, and attended Airborne School and Ranger School. He was commissioned as an Armored Cavalry Officer, serving tours of duty in Europe, Panama and Vietnam. In Vietnam, Sam was a decorated Airborne Ranger Officer serving with the 3/4 Armored Cavalry Squadron (1968-1969). He then attended Vanderbilt Law School, where he was a Law Review editor and graduated in 1973 Order of the Coif and continued to teach there (1974-1984). He served as Chairman of the Vanderbilt Law School Dean's Council and also served on the Law School Alumni Board and several Dean Search Committees.
In 1977, Sam was a founder and served as chairman of Stokes Bartholomew, which quickly became one of Nashville’s most well-known and respected law firms. The Firm later merged with Evans and Petree becoming Stokes Bartholomew Evans & Petree, P.A. under Sam’s leadership.
In 2005, Sam led his law firm into a regional expansion with the merger of Stokes Bartholomew and Adams and Reese, which today has nearly 300 attorneys. Always with an eye to the future, Sam recalled one of the reasons Stokes Bartholomew was drawn to the law firm of Adams and Reese was due to the longevity of the firm’s relationship with their clients. “That was a sign to us that superior client service is as much a cornerstone of Adams and Reese as it is for us at Stokes Bartholomew.”
Sam was a trailblazer in business and enjoyed a long, distinguished legal career. His diversified practice encompassed corporate, government relations, economic development, health care and aviation.
Sam was recognized and well-known on local, state and national platforms. In 1984, Sam was appointed by President Reagan to the Board of Directors of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). He served on the Board of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and was appointed as a Federal Land Commissioner by the U.S. District Court. He also served on the Board of Regions Financial Corporation, and had previously served on corporate boards including SunTrust Bank of Tennessee, Corrections Corporation of America and Union Planters Bank.
Sam was active in state economic development and served as the Director-General of the first Tennessee Trade Mission to France and also served on the Board of the Tennessee European Economic Alliance. He was a Trustee of the Tennessee Technology Foundation, served as a member of the Tennessee Economic Education Council and was Chairman of the Nashville Business Incubation Center. He also served as a board member and general counsel to Tennessee Tomorrow, Inc.
Sam’s civic and community endeavors were unsurpassed. He served as the past chairman of numerous organizations, including the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, St. Thomas Hospital Lay Board, Salvation Army Nashville Board, Nashville Rotary Club, West Point Society and the Tennessee U.S. Olympic Committee. He chaired the City of Nashville’s “Blue Ribbon” Committee to reset Mayor and Council compensation in 2001. He was the Chamber Committee Chair and the spokesman that opposed and defeated pari-mutuel gambling in Nashville in 1986. Sam was Vice Chairman of the 2000 Billy Graham Crusade in Nashville. He also served as the Tennessee Reagan-Bush Chairman in 1984 and was Co-Chair of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s Campaign in 2000.
Sam was a co-author of “God’s Role in America,” a book about America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. He was awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Tennessean Award in 1984, and in 1997, he was awarded the Nashville Chamber’s “Gold Record” Award for chairing the suite sales for the new Titans stadium and served on the Executive Committee of the TENNFL Committee.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to Sam’s wife, Vicki Hurd Bartholomew, and their children, Bo, Anne, Will and Ben. He will be deeply missed, but always with us.
Visitation with the family will be at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Thursday, January 24, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon with a memorial service to follow at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests that gifts be made to Abe’s Garden, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or the Sam Bartholomew Vanderbilt Law Scholarship for Veterans.