01/09/08 - NNHS Newsletter - Nelson Overton

Judge Nelson Tilghman Overton
(07 Feb 1928 - 08 Jan 2008)

Newport News High School Class of June 1945

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   The sad news continues to mount.      The Honorable Nelson Tilghman Overton, Class of June 1945, husband of   Margaret Lee Payne Overton (June '45) passed away at his home in Hampton on Monday, January 7, 2008 at the age of 79.

   From Fred Field (June, '45) of CA - 01/09/08 - "   Nelson Overton Dies":

Wed. Feb. 9, 08:  To Charles Wicke, Kent Miller, Bill Smith
Our classmate (NNHS June 1945), Nelson Overton, died yesterday. 
The Daily Press article follows.  Has not yet reached the obituary section - I'll send a copy when it appears.
Bill Smith and I will remember Col. Overton, Nelson's father, who headed up the wartime Virginia State Guard.
Try to stay healthy,

   Thank you, Fred.  My sincerest condolences on the loss of your classmate.

From the Daily Press - 01/09/08:

Overton, judge who oversaw Iverson's trial, dies at age 79


6:09 AM EST, January 9, 2008
Nelson T. Overton, a prominent Peninsula judge who oversaw the trial of a young Allen Iverson, died on Tuesday in his Hampton home at age 79.

Overton spent 31 years as a Hampton circuit judge before rising to the State Court of Appeals in 1995, making him the first Peninsula judge to sit on the state's second-highest court.

"He was 100 percent a judge's judge," Hampton circuit court judge Christopher Hutton said of Overton. "He was a first-rate intellect with a very strong academic reputation. He could be stern -- maybe he was more stern than most judges -- but he was compassionate."

Overton took his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1952 and was appointed to the Circuit Court on Dec. 31, 1964. He took the oath of office to sit on the State Court of Appeals on Aug. 23, 1995.

He oversaw many prominent and sometimes controversial trials from the bench, but none garnered as much attention as the trial of Iverson, then a prep basketball and football star at Bethel High School, on charges related to a brawl at a Hampton bowling alley. Iverson was tried as an adult, convicted of maiming by mob and sentenced to 15 years. Gov. Douglas Wilder eventually granted Iverson clemency, and his conviction was overturned on appeal.

Overton's family has tentatively planned a service at 2 p.m. Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Newport News.

Judge who presided at Iverson's trial dies

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Hampton Roads judge who oversaw the trial of a young Allen Iverson has died.

Nelson T. Overton died on Tuesday at age 79. He spent 31 years as a Hampton circuit judge before rising to the State Court of Appeals in 1995.

Overton oversaw the trial of Iverson, then a prep basketball and football star at Bethel High School, on charges related to a brawl at a Hampton bowling alley.

Iverson was tried as an adult, convicted of maiming by mob and sentenced to 15 years. Then-Governor Doug Wilder eventually granted Iverson clemency, and his conviction was overturned on appeal.

Iverson now plays for Denver and is No. 2 in the NBA in scoring.

 From Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of VA - 01/09/08 - "   Judge Nelson Overton":

Hi Carol:

Judge Overton’s wife is on our Corporate Board (Virginia Choral Society) and they have been involved with us for a long time.  I wonder how    Fred (Field - '45 - of CA) got a hold of that article so soon?  There is nothing in the paper today!  He was a sweet man and we just love his wife!  Some of us are attending his funeral on Friday. 


   Thank you, Sarah.

   Fred's advantage over you was that he was reading the online edition of the Daily Press which could be updated as necessary throughout the day (and in this case, was), whereas you were reading one which had to go to print and be delivered hours in advance.

   Please express my sympathies to Mrs. Overton.  I remember the Overton and Tilghman families from my days at Trinity Methodist.  Judge Overton's mother, Lucile Tilghman Overton, was a friend of my own mama            the late Maxine Frix Buckley (John Marshall HS - '25).

From the Daily Press - 01/10/08:  

  Nelson Tilghman Overton  
  HAMPTON - The Honorable Nelson Tilghman Overton, 79, died unexpectedly at home on Monday, Jan. 7, 2008, with his bride of 55 years by his side.

Born in Newport News, Va., on Feb. 7, 1928, he was a native of the Peninsula and the son of the late Nelson Chilcoat Overton and Lucile Tilghman Overton. He attended local schools and was graduated from Newport News High School in 1945. He attended The Virginia Military Institute graduating with a BA in English in 1949. While at VMI, he was a Cadet Captain, the Regimental S-3, and the Vice President of the Student Government, of the Honor Court, and of the First Class. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate, a member of the Beta Commission, and a member of Kappa Alpha Order. His portrait hangs in the Library at VMI, the only portrait of a cadet in full regimental dress.
Nelson Overton Judge Nelson T. Overton sits
in his office in 1980.
(Daily Press / January 14, 1980)

He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1952. While at the University, he was a member of Phi Delta Phi, the Editorial Board of Virginia Law Review, the Raven Society and the Order of the Coif. Upon graduating he entered practice with the firm of Montague, Ferguson and Holt in June 1952 and remained with that firm and its successors, Montague, Cumming, Watkins and Overton. From 1953 to 1955, he served with the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry, and 1st Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, serving in the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C. He continued in the U.S. Army Reserve until 1968, when he was discharged at the rank of Major. While in the Army, he received the Army Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant.

In 1964, at the age of 36, he was appointed to the bench of the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, where he served as the Judge for the Circuit Court for the City of Hampton from 1964 until 1995. In 1995, he was appointed as a Judge for the Court of Appeals of Virginia and served until 1999 when he took on Senior Status. Until his death he was a settlement mediator for the Court.

Judge Overton was a lifelong member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Newport News where he served on every committee, including the Board of Trustees, the Finance Committee, and the Administrative Board.

He was a member of the Lay Advisory Board of Mary Immaculate Hospital, a member of the American Legion Post 31 (Hampton), and a member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hampton Roads Unit of the Institute of Industrial and Commercial Ministries. He was a member of the Nelms Historical Society, the Hampton Yacht Club, and was a past President of both the German Club and The Hampton Roads Assembly.

A true officer and Southern gentleman, he was devoted to his wife, his family, and his church.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Lee Payne Overton; his daughter, Nancy Smith and her husband, Steve, of Hampton; his son, Waverly Overton and his wife, Amy, of Fresno, Calif.; and his daughter, Peggy Vaughan of Greenville, N.C. He is also survived by his five granddaughters (all of whom have provisional appointments to VMI), Jessica Vaughan, Caroline Vaughan, Abby Smith, Taylor Overton and Emily Overton; and his sister, Lucile Adams and her husband, Bob, of Mableton, Ga.

He was predeceased by his brother, James Hale Overton.

Judge Overton was an unreconstructed old fashioned lawyer and judge. He was devoted to the highest ideals of the practice of law and to the fairness of the judiciary. But he rejected computers and resisted reliance on law clerks. Instead, he listened to and obeyed the letter of the law and the compass of his own mind. He ignored the newspapers and made his decisions based upon the law and the evidence, not upon public opinion. In doing so, he won the respect and admiration of his colleagues on the bench and hundreds of lawyers and litigants who appeared before him. There was virtually no occasion, except a social meeting with his fellow VMI cadets, in which he did not relish the opportunity to discuss a point of law.

Off the bench he was a doting father and grandfather, committed to teaching his children and his grandchildren about their heritage and his pride about the community in which he lived. To his friends, he was a gracious host with a dry wit who took great delight in growing the hottest peppers north of Mexico, and including them in their food and drink without warning. Throughout his life he had the joy of being surrounded by hundreds of devoted friends and family. These prominently included his childhood friends from 'North End,' his VMI 'Brother Rats,' his fellow church members, judges, lawyers, politicians and many others.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 228 29th St., Newport News, Va. A reception will follow immediately after the service in the church fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the VMI Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450, or to the charity of choice.

Service arrangements are under the care of Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2551 N. Armistead Ave., Hampton.

Published in the Daily Press on 1/10/2008.
Guest Book


My memories of Nelson Overton are very special. As a young attorney, he helped me, he taught me by his example, and most importantly. he instilled in me a respect for the legal system. More importantly, he treated me with respect and fairness.
He was a gentleman and a friend. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, and children. I will always have very fond memories of the Judge.
Thomas Gallo (Valrico, FL) - January 10, 2008
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Margaret Lee: It was an honor and privilege to know your wonderful husband, Judge Overton. I have only the fondest memories of him and his warm, friendly, welcoming nature that belied his position and station in life. My sincerest and deepest sympathies to you and your family.
Michael Martin (Williamsburg, VA) - January 10, 2008
To: Mrs. Overton, Nancy, Steve, and Abby Smith, Waverly and his family, and Peggy and her family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Steve, Julie, and Elizabeth LoCicero
Julie LoCicero (Newport News, VA) - January 10, 2008
With deepest sympathies on the loss of your husband and father...
Laurel Tsirimokos (Virginia Choral Society, VA) - January 10, 2008
Margaret Lee: Sincere sympathy to you and the family on Nelson's passing.
Fred W. Field (Fullerton, CA) - January 10, 2008
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Dear Mrs. Overton, Nancy, Waverly and Peggy,
My heart and prayers are with you and your families.
Mary Beth (Morris) Scruggs (Williamsburg, VA) - January 10, 2008
To the family of Judge Overton: So sorry to hear of your loss as I had the pleasure of knowing Judge Overton and he will be greatly missed! May God Bless you all and your in my thoughts and prayers.
Shelly V. (Newport News, VA) - January 10, 2008 
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Waverly and Family-we're heartbroken that you've lost your Dad. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Janet (Dupont), Pat, Susan (Murray), Julie (Nicholls) The Piper's (Hampton, VA) - January 10, 2008 
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Dear Margaret,
Nelson will be sorely missed by his Brother Rats and the entire community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Carel and Ikey Humme
Carel Humme (Williamsburg, VA) - January 10, 2008 
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Nancy and family,
I was so sorry to hear about your dad. I know this is a very
difficult time and that words will not change that, but you have
wonderful memories that will carry on forever. Take care and know we are thinking of you
Sue Laughrun (Newport News, VA) - January 10, 2008  
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With heartfelt good wishes to you all and with enormous gratitude for Judge Overton's many acts and expressions of kindness and friendship to me over the years, I have been blessed by my association with this family. God bless and sustain you all.
Jim Powers (Wilson, NC) - January 10, 2008   
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Nancy and family,

My deepest sympathy is with you during this most difficult time. I pray that mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

May God continue to bless you always.

Philiece & Family
Philiece Mills (Yokota, Japan) - January 11, 2008 
To the entire Overton family: I am so sorry for your loss. Judge Overton was one of the two judges I worked for when I started my career as a Probation and Parole Officer in 1976. I had the utmost respect for him, and have very fond memories of the 19 years in our working relationship.
Larry Beam (Hampton, VA) - January 11, 2008  
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As a police officer I knew and worked with Judge Overton for many years. He was always fair and consistent. He did what was right, not what was popular or politically correct. Judge Overton was one of the most honorable and respected men that I have ever known. We will miss him very much.
Nolan S. Cutler , III ' 72 (Hampton, Virginia, VA) - January 11, 2008   
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Our sincere condolences for your loss. Judge Overton was a delightful man whose loss will be felt by many. Love to you, Margaret and Peggy.
Pam and Calvin Geiss (Suffolk, VA) - January 11, 2008  
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Nels will be sorely missed by all of the VMI family, especially his brother rats and their wives. Our love, hugs, and deepest sympathy to you and your family. John and Mary Haggerty
John Haggerty (Carlsbad, CA) - January 11, 2008   
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I remember Nelson Overton from our Newport News High of 1945 at 17 as self-assuredly brilliant. When I last saw him about twenty years ago, as a warm and gracious host. My condolences to his wife and high school sweetheart, Margaret Lee, and family. He will be missed.
Charles Wicke (Victoria, BC) - January 12, 2008 
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My brother just told me the news of the passing of Judge Overton. There is a big heavy heart in a little school in St. Petersburg today.
B. Jones (St. Petersburg, FL) - January 14, 2008  
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Margaret Lee,

Nobbie and I were shocked and saddened to learn of Nelson's death. You may not know it, but when we were Cadets at VMI, I always regarded Nelly as the outstanding member of our class officers and a true friend and leader. He will be terribly missed by all of the Brother Rats at our 49B reunions.

Please express our condolences to all of the family.
James Patton (Melbourne, FL) - January 14, 2008  
Dear Margaret: I have read the beautiful remarks here in this guest book. and there is really nothing more left to say. Nelson, as the passing years and reunions moved on, became closer to me (as you did). He was a very special Bro Rat, but more importantly, a wonderful, kind and caring person. I will miss him a great deal, and reunions will never be the same again for me,
Love, Hotz
Hotz Lardon (San Diego, CA) - January 16, 2008 
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   Our deepest sympathies are extended to the Overton family and their friends.

    Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com

PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat


Carol Buckley Harty
219 Four Ply Lane
Fayetteville, NC 29311-9305

Nearer My God to Thee

Words: Sarah F. Adams, 1805-1848
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

1. Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

2. Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
yet in my dreams I'd be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

3. There let the way appear, steps unto heaven;
all that thou sendest me, in mercy given;
angels to beckon me
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

4. Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise,
out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
so by my woes to be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

5. Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

"Nearer My God to Thee" midi courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/2360/midi.html - 04/05/06

"Nearer My God to Thee" lyrics courtesy of http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh528.sht - 04/05/06

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of http://gregolsengallery.com – 01/27/05

Navy Seal clip art courtesy of http://www.onemileup.com/miniSeals.asp - 05/29/06

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04

Justice Scale clip art courtesy of Cheryl White Wilson (JMHS - '64) of VA - 10/13/05
Thanks, Cheryl!

Animated Army Flag clip art courtesy of http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/KevsGifsGalore/Patriotic.html - 06/18/03

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