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James Hunter Lane Jr.

from The Commercial Appeal

James Hunter Lane Jr., born 6 July 1929 to James Hunter Lane, Sr. and Lucille Barrow in Memphis, TN, died April 22, 2012 at Methodist Le Bonheur Hospice after a long illness. Hunter attended Idlewild Elementary School, Normal School, and Central High School where he achieved outstanding recognition in academics and sports. He was quarterback of the football team in 1949 when Central won the State Championship. His love for football followed him throughout his life. He was also President, Student Body Association. Hunter achieved the title of Eagle Scout with one of the oldest troops in Memphis at Grace St. Luke’s Church, Troop 34. He attended Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia 1947-1953 on an academic scholarship and was also involved in many extracurricular activities, such as writing for the school paper and as President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. Hunter graduated from Washington and Lee in 1951 Magna Cum Laude and continued to attend the W & L Law School where he served on the Editorial Board and was awarded a law degree in 1953 (Law Review).

Hunter entered the Marine Corps as Officer Candidate. He was commissioned 2nd Lt., December 1953. He served as legal officer with 1st Marine Air Wing, Pohang-dong, ROK, and Iwakuni, Japan 1954-1955. He was released from active duty November 1955. He served with various units of Organized Marine Corps Reserve 1956-1977 and retired as Lt. Col. July 1978. He began practicing law in Memphis in 1955 with his father but ran for office in 1963 and was elected Commissioner of Public Service. He served from 1964-1967. After his term in office, he worked with the Waring, Cox Law Firm for a time before forming his own firm in the 1970s. Hunter was elected to the Board of Education in 1971 and served 1972-1975 (President 1973). He was very active with the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis and acted diligently in many behind the scenes activities with Lucius Burch. Hunter was a lifelong member of the Wolf River Society and also supported the Wolf River Conservancy.

Hunter was a member of a canoe club and enjoyed many canoe trips on the rivers of Arkansas and Missouri with his club members. Hunter served as Director, Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce 1968-1971 and Secretary and Legal Counsel 1988-1990. Hunter was Director of Liberty Bowl Festival Association 1968-1975; Director, Memphis USO 1968-1971 (President 1971). He was Director, Goodwill Boy’s Club 1968-1971. He was Director, Northeast Mental Health Center 1968-1972 (President 1972). He was a member of the Executive Committee, Chickasaw Council, BSA, 1968-1971 and supported this organization all his life. Hunter was Director, Metropolitan Board, YMCA, 1968-1972 (Secretary 1972). He was Director, Memphis Better Schools Committee 1976-1979 (President 1977). He was Director, Midtown Mental Health Center 1981-1985 (President 1983-1984). He was a member of the Downtown Kiwanis Club most of his adult life and was presented a Lifetime Member Certificate when he was no longer able to attend meetings in 2011 (President 1972-1973).

He was a Life Member, Board of Directors, National Conference of Christians and Jews; Protestant Co-Chairman 1976 and Chairman, Committee on Race 1990-1991. He was a member of the Board of Trustees, Edward J. Meeman Foundation 1963-2013. He was President of the Booster Club for Central High School 1978. Member, Board of Commissioners, Memphis Housing Authority 1992-2000. He was a lifelong member of Idlewild Presbyterian Church where he served on Board of Deacons 1960-1963 and Board of Elders 1978-1984 (active), 1984-2012 (inactive); Chairman, Every Member Canvas Committee 1978. He worked as a volunteer mentor for the Memphis City Schools for many years and also mentored children for The Dream Academy for several years. He loved children and did all he could to help many succeed. Hunter served as a volunteer for the Community Legal Center after his retirement, helping people who could not afford an attorney and was awarded the Elmer Roane Award for his service to the people of Memphis.

His love of writing led to many articles being published in magazines and newspapers; he was a member of the Compass Club writing group for many years. Hunter supported the University of Memphis football and basketball programs as a member of the Highland Hundred and the Rebounders Clubs. As a member of the Grey Eagles Hiking Club, he climbed many mountains in the United States and Canada with this group during his retirement. Hunter’s love for travel led him on trips with his wife, Susan, to every state except North Dakota and to other countries on five continents. With Hunter, every trip was a special adventure to meet new people in exciting places. As one friend stated “Hunter lived more in one lifetime than most people would live in two lifetimes.” He loved friends, family, and the Marine Corps.

Hunter was preceded in death by his mother, Lucille Barrow Lane, and his father, James Hunter Lane, Sr. He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife, Susan Bowen Lane; and three children, Dorothy Lane McClure (John), James Hunter Lane III (Linda), and William Martin Lane; two stepsons, Charles Michael Bowen (Suzie) and Robert Kenneth Bowen (Sandy). He leaves four grandchildren, Corrinne Lane McClure, Anna Currie Lane, Berkley Battes Lane, and James Hunter Lane IV; two step-grandchildren, Colby Thompson Bowen and Michael Kenneth Bowen. He leaves three sisters, Mydelle Lane Wilson, Lucille Lane Floyd, and Camille Lane Gotten; along with many nieces and nephews whom he dearly loved. Condolences may be offered at

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