OBITUARY: Judge Jim Travis Hamilton


Judge Jim Travis Hamilton, 81, retired Circuit Court Judge, died Sunday, September 18, 2022 at his residence in Columbia.

Jim Travis Hamilton was born June 15, 1941, in Selmer, Tennessee, the oldest of four sons born to the late James and Jacqueline Travis Hamilton. His mother taught school at Selmer High School for 37 years, and his father ran the Hamilton family dry cleaners, which remained in business from 1916 until 1985.

Jim T. graduated from Selmer High School in 1959, accepted a football scholarship to MTSU, and graduated there in January 1963, with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in history. He enrolled in Memphis State University School of Law in 1963 and received his law degree in 1966. He returned to Selmer and started practicing law on September 1, 1966. He was elected Mayor of Selmer in 1967 at the age of 26, making him one of the youngest mayors in the United States.

He practiced law in Nashville until 1971 when he moved to Mt. Pleasant and opened his law office. He was appointed part-time Assistant District Attorney in 1973 and served in that capacity while maintaining a private law practice until his election to circuit Judge for the 4-county 22nd Judicial District in 1982. He was elected to this position in 1982 and served until May 2015.

He is a graduate of the National Judicial College, University of Nevada. He had for 15 years been Adjunct Professor for the Criminal Justice Department at Cumberland University and sat on the University Board of Trustees. He was Adjunct Professor at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee.

He was a TSSAA approved high school Football Official, a long-term member of the Mt. Pleasant Rotary, a Paul Harris Fellow, and a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award.

Survivors include his wife, whom he married May 1, 1999, Patty Wright Hamilton of Columbia; sons, John (Frances) Hamilton of Jackson; Jim (Beth) Hamilton of Columbia; Cheyenne (Jennifer) McNeese of Columbia; brothers, Tom (Beth) Hamilton of Selmer; Mike Hamilton of Tennessee; grandchildren, John Travis Hamilton, William Hamilton, Brennan McNeese, Chloe McNeese.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brother, William “Bill” Hamilton.

Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 11:00 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home with Ray Fraley and Randy McNeece officiating. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 3:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Active pallbearers will be Tony Edwards, Judge Bobby Holloway, Judge Russ Parkes, Ben Boston, Roy Story, Charlie Holt, Rogers Hays, and Joe Henry. Honorary pallbearers include Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee, members of the Bar Associations of Maury, Giles, Lawrence, and Wayne Counties, past and present Court Clerks and their staff, Jayne Gossett, and his most wonderful caregiver, Kristina Basenberg Berlin.

Condolences may be extended online at


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