Cover photo for Judge Wheeler Armston Rosenbalm's Obituary
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1937 Judge Wheeler 2024

Judge Wheeler Armston Rosenbalm

November 24, 1937 — April 21, 2024

Knoxville

The Honorable Judge Wheeler Armston Rosenbalm met his Lord and Savior on 4/21/2024. He passed peacefully with his daughter at his side at UTMC after a brief illness. He leaves behind his loving wife of almost 64 years, Betty Katherine (Smith) Rosenbalm of Chatsworth, Georgia, as well as his only child, Karla Anne Rosenbalm Jones, her husband Mark Andrew Jones, and two grandchildren, Harrison Armston Jones and Reagan McKinley Jones, as well as his brother Wendell Rosenbalm of Clinton, TN, and several nieces and nephews. Wheeler was born on 11/24/1937 and is preceded in death by his parents, Georgia (Fraker) and Zorrow Rosenbalm, his younger brother Vaughn Rosenbalm, as well as his nephew Mark Carr and niece Carolyn Carr.

Wheeler was born in Anderson County, TN, where he grew up tending the family farm and “learned the disciplines of farm life” while mainly farming tobacco and dairy. He attended a three-room elementary school, Mountain View Elementary, and jokingly would mention that he was held back in the first grade, which motivated him to apply himself even that much more to his future academic studies. He was a 1956 graduate of Clinton High School, where he served as the president of student council his senior year. He then continued his education at Lincoln Memorial University where he had a double major in accounting and economics, and a double minor in business administration and English. He was the president of his class every year while attending LMU and graduated in 1960. He is in the Hall of Fame at LMU for his outstanding career accomplishments.

Before entering law school at the University of Tennessee, he served for six months active duty in the Army Reserves with the 489th Civil Affairs Company. He then entered law school in the fall of 1961 and has quoted that his “experience in law school was one of the highlights of his life”. He graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence law degree in 1964 with high academic honors. Shortly thereafter he accepted a position as faculty and teacher with the UTK College of Law where he taught all procedural law courses for two years.

In September of 1966 he entered into private law practice at the law firm of Frantz, McConnell, and Seymour where he became a partner in 1967. He enjoyed his career as a trial lawyer with this firm for the 24 years he worked there, leaving the firm in 1990 to pursue a campaign for the elected position of Circuit Court Judge. During his time as a trial lawyer, he also served 10 years on the Tennessee Board of Bar Examiners, grading for the bar exam and developing questions for the bar exam. In 1986 he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. He and his wife Betty enjoyed meeting numerous people while campaigning for his elected position of Circuit Court Judge for Division III.  He was elected in 1990 and re-elected in 1998 and 2006. While serving on the bench as a judge from September 1990 to December 2013 it is estimated that he presided over 16,000 cases and countless adoptions. He retired as Circuit Court Judge for the city of Knoxville in December of 2013.

In addition to his outstanding career accomplishments in law, he was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was extremely active at his church, Wallace Memorial Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and a Sunday school teacher for a singles class for many years. In more recent years he and Betty attended First Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN. In his spare time Wheeler was an active sportsman and enjoyed dove hunting and fly fishing. He was featured in a video produced by the Tennessee Wildlife Authority while fishing in the Little Tennessee River, and a still shot photo of that experience graces the cover of the Tennessee Conservationist magazine publication. He and his wife Betty enjoyed playing tennis and in more recent year’s golfing became Wheeler’s favorite pastime.

The family would like to extend their love and gratitude to the staff at Morning Pointe in Powell, TN, where Wheeler and Betty recently resided. Additionally, the family extends their gratitude to the staff at UTMC as well as several of the UTK College of Nursing students that provided wonderful care to Wheeler in his final days. The family will receive friends preceding the service from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.  There will be a Celebration of Life held in his honor on May 4, 2024, at 7:00 pm at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church on Merchants Drive with Dr. James McCluskey and Rev. Kent Williams officiating.

Condolences can be left for the family at www.mynattfh.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judge Wheeler Armston Rosenbalm, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, May 4, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wallace Memorial Baptist Church

701 Merchant Dr, Knoxville, TN 37912

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Starts at 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wallace Memorial Baptist Church

701 Merchant Dr, Knoxville, TN 37912

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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