Gary Douglas Chamblee In Memoriam

June 30, 2011 

In memory of Gary Chamblee, husband, father, son and big brother; who we loved dearly and on whom we could always count. We miss you so much and are grateful for your love, life, humor, intellect and talents.

Gary Chamblee, age 59, of Charlotte, N.C., died March 30, 2011. He was born on January 17, 1952 in Raleigh, N.C., the son of Edythe Brooks Chamblee and Douglas Scales Chamblee. Gary is preceded in death by his mother, Edythe.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine Elizabeth Verdone, his two children, Katie, 26, and Abigail, 13, his father Douglas Scales Chamblee of Raleigh, and his twin sisters Gale and Marie Chamblee.

Gary grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina; he and his family also spent three years of his childhood in Lima, Peru. He graduated third in his class from Broughton High School in 1970. Gary graduated in 1973, Phi Beta Kappa, from UNC-Chapel Hill. He attended UNC Law School, where he graduated in 1978 with honors and as a member of the staff of the North Carolina Law Review and the Order of the Coif. Following graduation from Law School, Gary served as a judicial clerk for Chief Justice Susie Sharp at the North Carolina Supreme Court. Gary then settled in Charlotte and spent the rest of his career practicing law, first with Berry, Hogewood, Edwards & Freeman, P.A., and beginning in 1987, with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. For his contributions to the education of other members of the bar, Gary Chamblee was inducted as a Fellow and Member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers, a distinction that few North Carolina lawyers have achieved. Membership in the ACCFL is limited to those who have not only achieved preeminence in the field of commercial finance law, but who also have contributed significantly to the education of others through teaching, lecturing or published writings. He was also recognized as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation for his dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession.

Richard Brown, a Fellow of the College, presented the following tribute in memory of Gary at the College’s 2011 Annual Meeting:

"As many of you already know, we lost a treasured friend and colleague when Gary Chamblee, Co-Chair of the Syndications and Lender Relations Subcommittee and Chair of the Model Inter-creditor Agreement Task Force, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59.

As is too often the case, time is fleeting with those who have a great impact on our lives. I was lucky and privileged to work closely with Gary during the past few years on the Model Inter-creditor Agreement Task Force. Gary was a quiet, compassionate and selfless leader… He simply desired to involve as many people as possible and wanted the work of the Task Force to have a tangible, meaningful and lasting effect on practitioners. I recall the first time I spoke with Gary about joining the Task Force. He was gratified that I had taken the time to call him and encouraged me to become active. In fact, to seal the deal, he even suggested that I agree to help as Vice Chair to really become involved. How could I say no?

Gary ably led the Task Force through three plus years of sometimes difficult negotiations, never losing his direction or his patience... He loved his involvement in the Bar and never missed a chance to spread his knowledge to help others… No questions, no fanfare, no complaining, no asking for help. Just Gary.

Gary was the ultimate example of the type of leader and public servant of the law that each of us should strive to be. Our practices are extremely demanding, sometimes seeming like we are never “off-duty”. It is difficult to carve out the time to volunteer, to help educate others and make a meaningful contribution to our jurisprudence. People like Gary are what this organization is all about. Selfless, compassion for learning, teaching, becoming better. Better lawyers and better citizens.

I will never forget one of my last conversations with Gary. I had called him last December to inform him that the Court for the Southern District of New York had just issued its opinion in the Boston Generating bankruptcy case. The court praised the Model Inter-creditor Agreement as a model of clarity which other inter-creditor agreements should strive to duplicate. Gary was thrilled. Later that day, Gary sent an email to the entire Task Force to let them know about the Court’s decision; he ended the email with the comment “I guess we really did make a difference!” Yes, Gary, you did. You made a huge difference. God bless you."

Gary was a great lover of literature, music, nature, and above all, his family; a lifelong learner, and a great wit. In each of his passions, he invested his whole mind and heart. As a young man, he became an Eagle Scout. He loved poetry and literature, and would often spontaneously quote Shakespeare from memory. He had a deep appreciation for and knowledge of music, especially Bob Dylan. Gary was also a self-taught theologian, having read countless works of religious philosophy and biblical history.

We express our deepest appreciation to the doctors, nurses, and staff of Carolinas Medical Center for their care and compassion over the last year. We also thank family and friends who have supported Gary through his illness and throughout his life.

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