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Obituaries
The Honorable Robert E. Burch
Date of Death or Service Nov 2, 2016
The Honorable Robert E. Burch
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Honorable Robert E. Burch, age 69, passed from this life Oct. 28, 2016.  Visitation will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 from 1pm until 4pm and 6pm until 8pm at the Taylor Funeral Home.  A funeral service is scheduled for Wed., Nov. 2, 2016 at 1pm at the First Baptist Church.  The family will receive friends at the church from 11am until the time of service.  Place of rest will be in the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Bon Aqua, TN.  For those desiring, memorials may be made to the 23rd Judicial District Drug Court.

Born March 11, 1947, Judge Burch was raised in Hughes, Arkansas. His father was a farmer and Judge Burch started at an early age achieving accomplishments by being named Outstanding Young Farmer of Arkansas in 1957 by the Jaycees.

Judge Burch graduated High School from the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri in 1965 while achieving status of Cadet First Lieutenant and Battalion Adjutant. He was the Captain of the Swimming Team and held two school swimming records (100 yard breaststroke and medley relay). A member of The Fusileers and Missouri state champion crack drill team and recipient of the Reserve Officers Association medal for outstanding patriotism, leadership and performance of duties.

Judge Burch attended and graduated from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina in 1969 with a B.A. in Political Science. While in college he was Commander of Cadet Choir, made Dean’s List, made Freshman letter in swimming (1,650 yard freestyle), was a member of The Citadel Sport Parachute Team, and a licensed Expert Parachutist and Jumpmaster.

Continuing his education, he graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1972 with a J.D. and was a Student Investigator for the Davidson County Public Defender.

During his enrollment at Vanderbilt he graduated from the American Flyers Airline Academy, Ardmore, OK in 1970 and became a licensed Commercial Pilot with an Instrument Rating and worked for Capitol Airways in Nashville, Tennessee from 1969 to 1972 as a flight instructor and charter pilot.

Judge Burch was a Licensed Airline Transport Pilot, Licensed Flight Instructor - Airplane and Instrument, Licensed Ground Instructor - Basic, Advanced, and Instrument, flew as co-pilot on Learjet 23, and was a Certified S.C.U.B.A. diver.

After graduating from Vanderbilt Law he began practicing law as an associate for White & Regen, Attorneys in Dickson, Tennessee in 1972 and subsequently as partner for White, Regen, Burch & Beasley from 1975 to 1980. He was named Outstanding Young Man of America in 1980 by the Jaycees. During his years of practicing law he was elected president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1979, was Referee of Juvenile Court of Dickson County, Tennessee from 1973 to 1980, and Chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Tort Law Reform. A notable achievement while practicing was when he was Counsel for the Defendant in State v. Dearborne, 575 S.W. 2d 259 (Tenn. 1978) 4 A.L.R. 138 which became the lead case in American Law Reports annotation on use of the common law writ of certiorari. Judge Burch is author of the Trial Handbook for Tennessee Lawyers published by Thomson - West Publishing Co. beginning in 1980 and has written updates each year for the past thirty-four years.

He served as Chairman of the Board of the Middle Tennessee Heart Association in 1979 and 1980.

He was appointed as Circuit Judge on January 29, 1980 and subsequently elected to the position in 1980, 1982, 1990, 1998, and 2006. He is the longest serving circuit judge in the history of the district (going back to 1834). Judge Burch is the only candidate elected to district office (Circuit Judge, Chancellor, Attorney General and Public Defender) who was not a native of the district. He has served on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Judicial Conference and Secretary of the Tennessee Judicial Conference. He is a graduate of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, founded Drug Court of the 23rd Judicial District in 2000, and was ABOTA Tennessee Trial Judge of the Year in 2002.

During his tenor as Circuit Court Judge, he graduated with Highest Honors from Nashville State Community College in 1996 with an A.S. in Computer Information Systems with a 4.0 GPA.

Judge Burch was a humble servant of Jesus Christ and a member of the First Baptist Church, Dickson, TN, where he taught Sunday School for over 20 years.  He had served his church in many capacities throughout the years such as being a member of the church Security Team, former director of Church Training, Deacon, choir member and Chairman of the Personnel Committee.

He is survived by his wife, Frieda Spencer Burch; his children, Dr. William E. Burch (Jennifer), Ashley Burch Grant (Greg), Daniel S. Burch (Robin), Richard W. Green (Lisa), Jeffrey S. Green (Jenny); his brother, Dr. Lan F. Burch; 15 grandchildren, ENS Wallace E. Burch, Rebecca H. Lessel, LCpl Reed E. Burch, Clayton E. Burch, Michael L. Burch, Hannah E. Grant, Ellen C. Grant, Chloe L. Burch, Hunter S. Burch, Tiana R. Green, Evan B. Green, Allyssa R. Green, Morgan A. Green, Layla A. Green, Kylee J. Green; 2 great grandchildren, Garrett, and Harper; mother-in-law, Daisy Atchison.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Luke Eugene Burch Jr., and Lurline Freeland Burch; and his beloved pet pug, Prissy.

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