Justice W. Joel Blass

Judge W. Joel Blass, having enjoyed a lengthy and productive legal practice, served as a justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and subsequently returned to private practice. Judge Blass was born in Clinton, Mississippi, in 1940 and upon graduating from Louisiana State University Law School moved to Stone County, Mississippi; however, his legal career was interrupted as well by World War II, which prompted him to join the United States Army. He was decorated for valor for his actions during World War II. He also served honorably during the Korean conflict.

After his active military service, the Judge set up his law practice in Wiggins, Mississippi, and was elected to the state legislature in 1953 and again in 1957. Judge Blass taught law at the University of Mississippi Law School from 1965 through 1991 whereupon he returned to Ole Miss to assume the Whitten Chair of Law & Government. Judge Blass has received numerous civic and professional awards and makes every effort to attend and participate in the programs of the chapter.

Justice Dan M. Russell, Jr.

The judge was born in 1913 in Magee, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1937. He began his law practice in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; however, his practice was interrupted by the out-break of World War II. He enlisted in the United States Navy and served with distinction as a Naval Intelligence officer. After the war, Judge Russell returned to Bay St. Louis and enjoyed a successful practice for over two decades.

He was appointed to the federal bench during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson. During his first two decades as a United States District judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, he was called to participate in the integration of the public schools of Mississippi; a duty which earned him the praise of few. At various times he presided over the reapportionment of the State Legislature and the redistricting of the various Boards of Supervisors. At this writing he sits as a Senior Status Judge and maintains a docket consistent with the guidelines of the implementing statutes. He is faithfully present at our meetings and can always be counted upon to contribute to the program.

Justice Harry G. Walker

A life long resident and distinguished citizen of Harrison County, Mississippi, Judge Harry G. Walker passed away April 15, 2000. Justice Walker was born in Ovette, Jones County, Mississippi, in 1924. His father, a physician, moved the family to Gulfport when the younger Walker was about six and he attended Gulfport High School until he reached the eleventh grade, at which time he joined the United States Coast Guard. His military service was cut short by an accident which eventually led to his becoming confined to a wheel chair. His injuries and paralysis would have stopped a lesser man; however, Judge Walker was a fighter and refused to be limited by his disability. He returned to civilian life and completed his education including graduation from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor and masters degree and in 1952, Walker graduated from the University of Mississippi Law School.

He then began his practice of law in Gulfport; a successful endeavor which he pursued for approximately twelve years before he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, he held this position for a year before resigning to accept an appointment as Harrison County Court Judge, a position he held until 1968, when he was appointed Circuit Judge for the Second Judicial District. Four years later, Judge Walker won election to the State Supreme Court. He served as associate justice from January 1973 to July 1982; as presiding justice from July 1982 to July 1986; and as Chief Justice from July 1986 until his retirement in October of 1987. Justice Walker made every effort to attend and participate in the American Inns of Court and will be sorely missed by the bench and bar.