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We were very saddened to hear the news that Jim Hawkins had passed away.

We began running Jim’s popular weekly newspaper column, Tennessee Legal, six years ago. Each week, Jim would share important information about a Tennessee law. His columns were interesting, easy to understand and included key points and tips. He wrote about laws on a variety of topics including marriage, family, insurance, pets, taxes and so much more.

Jim would start his columns with a quote – like this one from his column about Tennessee’s Dog bite law:

“Does your dog bite?” asks Inspector Clouseau of the hotel clerk, upon seeing a dog at the clerk’s feet. “No,” the clerk responds. Clouseau bends over to pet the dog, which quickly barks and bites Clouseau in the hand. “I thought you said your dog doesn't bite!” he remarks angrily. Replies the clerk, “That is not my dog.” ~ from the 1976 film, “The Pink Panther Strikes Again”

Speaking of pets, Jim’s most popular column was from the summer of 2015 when he wrote about Tennessee’s new Hot Car Law, that allowed persons to smash a window or otherwise forcibly enter a parked car without liability to rescue a child or animal who is at risk unless immediately removed from the vehicle.

Jim let us know that Tennessee was the first state in the nation to pass such a law and he explained the conditions under which the person would not be financially liable for damages from forcibly entering a vehicle.

Another note of interest about Jim’s columns – they were EXACTLY 300 words. Not 299 or 301, but exactly 300. Those who know Jim are probably nodding their heads, smiling and saying, “That sounds just like Jim.”

Of the hundreds of columns Jim submitted over the years none of our editors can ever remember a misspelled word or a typo or a mistake. He was an editor’s dream.

Of course, this is just a very small part of who Jim Hawkins was and the part of him we knew best. But he was also a committed lawyer, a devoted family man, a thoughtful public servant, a dedicated community advocate and a devout church-goer who walked the talk all the time where his faith was concerned.

Like scores of others, we will miss Jim. His impact on those he came into contact with was significant and will be long lasting. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him over the years. 

What we wouldn’t give for just one more Tennessee Legal column.


The Main Street Media editorial board is comprised of Publisher Dave Gould, News Editor Sherry Mitchell and reporters Tena Lee and Josh Cross.

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