Harold Wimberly, Jr. was a truly unique man, a treasured friend to those lucky enough to have earned his friendship. Harold Wimberly was a jurist who occupied a bench in Knox County for forty years. That alone is quite a feat yet there was so much more to Harold Wimberly, Jr.
I always enjoyed seeing Harold at Litton’s, a place where we both enjoyed a great meal. I cherished those occasions when he would ask me to join him and his party for lunch.
I will readily confess I was in awe of Judge Wimberly’s intellect, but as Ray Hill wrote in this edition of The Focus, there was no artifice about Harold Wimberly. Despite possessing a towering intellect, Harold put on no airs nor did he think he was better than anybody else.
A brilliant photographer who relished every opportunity to travel and see the country and the world firsthand, Harold Wimberly was a man of many talents and abilities.
Like many public officials who stay for quite some time, Harold Wimberly knew both victory and defeat. Judge Wimberly was as gracious in defeat as he was modest in victory.
Knox County will be lucky to have another judge of Harold Wimberly’s quality and caliber. Judge Wimberly’s ability and personality transcended mere politics and party. Harold Wimberly made a difference and gave of himself to serve the people of Knox County.
When an election defeat came in 2014, it was not because Harold Wimberly had failed the people or made a terrible mistake. The electorate didn’t for a moment consider his ability, judicial temperament, or his honesty and integrity. Defeat came because voters chose to elect someone of the majority party in Knox County.
Harold Wimberly’s defeat hurt, I am sure, but in the long run, I imagine the people being deprived of his thoughtfulness and respect and love for the law were the worse for it.
I was proud to know Judge Harold Wimberly and we all ought to stop for a moment to say a little prayer of thanks for his life and service to our community.
Harold Wimberly was a wonderful person and will be missed by all who knew him.