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Prominent attorney dies at 83
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Prominent local attorney and church leader Harry Camp died Tuesday at age 83.
He was well known in Warren County for his law firm, which he established here in 1961 with his father. What was first known as Camp and Camp later became Camp and Roney when he partnered with Harold Roney for years. Mr. Camp would retire in 2005.
“One of the things I admired about him was how much he was admired by other attorneys,” said Jean Gilley, who served as his secretary for 40 years. “He was a very smart man and you’d be surprised at how many lawyers came in to ask his advice about a case or a lawsuit, provided he wasn’t going against them. He was known as a lawyer’s lawyer.”
After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1957, Mr. Camp secured his first law-related job with a firm in Memphis. When he moved to McMinnville, his office was first located at the old Badger Arcade. After a short time there, he moved to the Professional Building on Court Square where his office remained until his retirement.
“He was just starting out when I was starting out and we became fast friends,” said attorney and former judge Chuck Haston. “He was the thinking man’s lawyer. You could go to him and ask his opinion on law and he would be glad to give you his interpretation and it would usually be right.”
Mr. Camp was known for his religious devotion as much as legal prowess. He would close his law office on a daily basis in order to squeeze in Bible study.
“We’d lock the front door so nobody could get in and go to a back office for Bible study,” said Gilley. “We did that for years and years until we finally got too busy and it became too difficult to find time every day.”
Mr. Camp was active with his church, First United Methodist, where he was a Sunday school teacher for around 50 years.
“He was a voracious reader when it came to religion and spirituality,” said his son, Scott. “He was a true Southern gentleman, a loving husband and a loving dad. He always found time for us.”
While Mr. Camp never worked as a full-time minister, but he would regularly visit rural churches in Warren County with small congregations and preach there.
At First United Methodist, he worked with the Good Neighbors Food Ministry which distributes food to those in need. He also served with the Methodist Church on a national level as president of the Board of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries.
As a young couple, Mr. Camp and his wife, Jane, made their home in Westwood during a simpler time. They were good friends with Bill and Jean Gilley who lived nearby.
“We had a color TV before they did so they would come over for dinner and we would watch that,” said Jean. “Harry really loved homemade rolls. He’d put three or four on his plate and use a whole stick of butter. He had a dry sense of humor a lot of people didn’t know how to take. But once people got it figured out, they thought he was funny.”
Obitiary information for Mr. Camp is available on 2A.