15, 2006 - Prominent Knoxville lawyer and former Knoxville
Mayor Robert L. Crossley, 78, died December 15, 2006 at his home
in West Knoxville.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 18, 2006 at
3:00 p.m. at St. John's Cathedral (413 Cumberland Avenue). The family
will receive friends following the service at the church. In lieu
of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made either to
the Knoxville Bar Foundation or St. John's Cathedral.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Crossley moved to Knoxville with his
family in 1938. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1946
and entered the U.S. Navy, serving in Guam. After completion of
his military service, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee
and received a law degree in 1952. He was a member of Sigma Chi
fraternity, Phi Eta Sigma honorary society, Phi Delta Phi legal
fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa honorary society, and was elected
to the Order of the Coif. He was editor-in-chief of the Tennessee
Law Review in 1952.
After graduation from law school, he worked as a tax advisor for
the accounting firm Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery in New
York City for two years. He returned to Knoxville in 1954, and began
his practice of law with the firm Morton and Morton. Several years
later, he joined Fowler, Rowntree and Fowler where he practiced
He served as Knoxville City Law Director from 1962 to 1965. In
1964, when Mayor John Duncan was elected to the U.S. Congress, Crossley
was appointed acting mayor. He served 31 days until Leonard Rogers
took office as mayor in early January of 1965.
Crossley then returned to the private practice of law, joining
the firm Baker, Worthington, Barnett and Crossley in 1965. Over
the next thirty years, the firm, which came to be known as Baker,
Worthington, Crossley, Stansberry & Woolf, grew to become one
of the largest and most prestigious in the state.
In 1995, desiring to return to a smaller and more personal practice
of law, Crossley joined the firm Long, Ragsdale and Waters. He later
formed The Crossley Law Firm and enjoyed the solo practice of law.
At the time of his death, he was a member of the firm Lacy, Moseley
In 1959, Crossley was asked to teach a class to help prepare U.T.
law school graduates for the bar exams. At that time there was no
established bar study program. Crossley started the Crossley Bar
Review that year with a little over a dozen students. The program
eventually was taken statewide, and over the next 38 years prepared
over 10,000 future lawyers, judges and law professors for the state
bar examination. Crossley sold the program in 1997 to a national
bar review company.
Crossley was a member of the Knoxville, Tennessee and American
Bar Associations. He served as president of the Knoxville Bar Association
in 1975. The local association twice honored him for his service,
giving him the prestigious Governors Award, the Associations
highest honor, in 2005, and naming him a fellow of the Knoxville
Bar Foundation in 2003. He served as a member of the Tennessee Supreme
Court Commission on the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System,
and was certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Tennessee Commission
on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. He was also nominated
for appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1998 by the Tennessee
Judicial Selection Commission.
Crossley was a longtime member of the old Knoxville City Club,
Cherokee Country Club and Club LeConte. He was active in community
affairs, including service as the Chairman of the Board of The Webb
School of Knoxville. He was an active member of St. Johns
Cathedral, serving as a lay reader and usher. In his spare time,
he enjoyed golf, travel, family and friends.
Crossley was preceded in death by his parents, W. J. and Elva Crossley.
He is survived by his wife, Janet Testerman Crossley; a brother,
W. J. (Bud) Crossley, Jr. and wife, Lib; a sister, Nancy Crossley
Dean and husband, Scott; children, R. Louis Crossley, Jr. and wife,
Laurie; Catherine E. (Trinka) OFallon and husband, Jim, and
Mary A. Crossley and husband, Tom Juring; step-children, Muffet
Testerman Buckner and husband, Jimmy; Ben Testerman and wife, Ramona;
Janet Testerman Cleary and husband, Dennis; six grandchildren, six
step-grandchildren and several nephews and nieces.