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In Memoriam: HBS Partner Terrell W. Benton, Jr. Has Passed Away

Longtime Hall Booth Smith Partner and dedicated civic leader Terrell W. Benton, Jr. has passed away.

In a legal career that spanned half a century, Terrell represented numerous public school districts in Georgia. He served as General Counsel to the Clarke, Oconee and Walton County School Districts for several decades. He was deeply involved in educational and professional associations, and served on the Executive Committee of the Counsel of School Board Attorneys for the Georgia School Boards Association. He served two terms as president of the association.

Earlier in his career, he defended capital murder cases and a wide range of civil matters such as multi-million dollar corporate transactions and treated each client with respect, cementing his reputation as the consummate gentleman.

Terrell had been a partner at HBS since the early 2000s, and was based in the Athens office. A natural leader, he will be remembered for his kindness, devotion to his family and professionalism. He mentored many up-and-coming attorneys over the years, and clients and colleagues alike valued his wisdom and respected his opinions.

“He attended every partners meeting, and when he spoke everyone put down their phones and listened,” said Alex Booth, Managing Partner of HBS. “He never took himself too seriously, saying ‘I am the oldest rat in the barn.’ He would then go on to impart valuable advice and instruction from his years of experience. He spoke from the heart. He took his oath and obligations to his clients seriously. His loyalty to his colleagues was unfailing. His work was excellent.”

At the dawn of his career, Terrell spent a year traveling across the United States as a Future Farmers of America National Officer. He studied agriculture at the University of Georgia and then earned a Juris Doctorate degree from The University of Georgia School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1962.

He was a gifted storyteller, and loved to talk about how he drove around in a Volkswagen Beetle with his friend Jimmy Carter trying to secure votes in the gubernatorial race.

A native of Jackson County, Georgia, Terrell married his sweetheart Jo (Dunahoo) in 1960 and they celebrated 61 years of marriage. In addition to his wife, Terrell is also survived by his children Alice Benton and friend Jack Blackmon; and Terrell W. Benton, III, who goes by Chip and is a partner in the Atlanta office of HBS, and his wife Mary Benton; plus five grandchildren, numerous friends, countless colleagues and many other loved ones.