William Henry Haile II was born September 22, 1943 in Nashville, Tennessee, and lived most of his young life in Cookeville, Tennessee. He went to be with the Lord on February 19, 2020 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease and a short illness, complicated by Parkinson’s.
Growing up in Cookeville, Henry was involved in sports and numerous youth activities including reaching the level of Eagle Scout. After graduating from Central High School in 1961and Tennessee Technological University in 1965, Henry later graduated from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C. After working for Albert Gore Sr. and living in Washington, D.C., he returned to Nashville in 1972
Henry served as Assistant Attorney General of Tennessee from 1972 to 1976, representing Tennessee in several controversial cases in state and federal courts, including the UT Nashville-TSU merger case, and school busing cases. Henry represented Tennessee against James Earl Ray and led a trial team that successfully proved that Ray killed Dr. Martin Luther King, litigation that began in Memphis and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court. Henry practiced law in Nashville from 1976 until his retirement, practicing a wide variety of law involving civil, criminal and federal issues.
Henry enjoyed high profile cases, and often represented clients fighting discrimination and unfair treatment in employment. He represented several local school boards across Tennessee, and wrote a column about school law for the Tennessee School Boards Association. He ran a notably close race for Congress in 1978 as an independent from the Fifth Congressional District in Nashville. He successfully argued a case in 1983 that resulted in invalidation of the redistricting process for the Tennessee legislature. He taught law classes at the Nashville School of Law. Henry was recognized and awarded for his work on behalf of indigent defendants in federal criminal cases.
Henry studied French with a private tutor and loved to travel to various locations to practice his language skills including France, Morocco, and Corsica. When he was not practicing his French, he traveled to Asia, South America, the Middle East and numerous European countries. His love for travel never ceased and he spent his last summer in Colmar enjoying all things French and watching the Tour de France with his family.
Henry was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Kenneth Haile, Sr., and Mary Josephine Griffin Haile. He is survived by his wife, Bette Osborne Wiley, three children, Ella Haile Dunn of Franklin, Porter and Perry Haile of Nashville, a son-in-law, Jeff Dunn, of Franklin, and three grandchildren, Karley Dunn of Franklin, and Eden and Griffin Haile of Nashville. Henry is also survived by brothers Dr. Kenneth Haile, Jr. and wife Jyotsna Vanapalli (Marietta, Ga), John G. Haile and wife Emma Jane (Cleveland, Tn), James J. Haile (Washington, DC), a sister, Sara Haile Deppen and husband John (Martinez, GA), in-laws Judy Jan Osborne Davis and husband Henry (Maryville, Tn), and thirteen nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the following Parkinson’s Foundation:
A Celebration of Henry’s life will be on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 1PM, at West Harpeth Funeral Home (Charlotte Pike @ Davidson Drive). Following the service, the family will have a reception in the Celebration Hall.