William Henry Haile, II.

Born on September 22, 1943

Departed on February 19, 2020 and resided in Nashville, TN

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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.


35 Comments to Mr. William Henry Haile, II.

  1. Judy Raby says:

    Please know that my prayers are with you and his family….he led a full life and seemed to enjoy every bit of it! God whispered in his ear that it was time to come home….and HOME is where he is….know that we will be with our loved ones that have gone home before us….that, we have to look forward to.
    Love you like a sister, Bette
    Judy Raby

  2. Jane Marsh says:

    Dear Bette,
    Please know how very sad my heart is for you and Henry’s family. I think of you so often, and especially now. With prayers and love,
    Jane Marsh

  3. Bill Austin says:

    I am sure going to miss him. Always a smile and a wonderful attitude. I was lucky to call him friend. God bless you and your wonderful family. I know how heartbroken they are. Godspeed pal. We will meet again

    • Bette says:

      Bill, Thanks for your note. He thought the world of you also. He always told a story about your airplanes. Thanks again. Bette

  4. Cathy Ecker says:

    Bette, he certainly led a full, active, interesting life. May your family find comfort in the memories you share. Thinking of you my friend, Cathy Lyle Ecker

  5. Brenda Blanton says:

    Dear Bette,

    I am so sorry to learn of your husband’s passing. Thank you for letting us know. Patty, Paul, Jeff, and I will be praying for you and your family.

    With Love, Brenda Osborne Blanton

  6. Karen Tallmn says:

    Bette, l am deeply saddened to hear of Henry’s death. His successes were notable and he obviously had a love for life. He is to be admired for his successful legacy. May God comfort you in your loss. In Christ, Karen

  7. Robert Thurman says:

    Henry was a good friend of mine growing up in Cookeville. We spent a lot of time in Scouting and enjoying the camping trips. I lost track of him when I left Cookeville for Nashville around the end of 1962, until he moved to Nashville. Had not seen him in quite some time. His parents were great people. Go in peace Henry!

  8. Laine Barley says:

    Dearest Bette, my heart breaks for you and what you are going thru. Henry loved you so much. I too pray that you find comfort in the coming weeks. I love you sweet friend, Laine

  9. Nancy Cummings says:

    Sorry to hear that will keep you on my prayers

  10. Don Stanrton says:

    Hey Bette, it is with sincere sadness that I send my condolences at the passing of your husband. I too was diagnosed a few years ago with Parkinson’s but started out as having anxiety and did not attribute it to Parkinson’s but developed a right handed tremor and some drooling of the mouth. The tremor is under control, but the drooling not so much. I now have some balance issues but only require one medication to help control it. I have always been curious how the two of you met. Maybe some day you can fill in the blanks of the story, All my best, Don

    • Bette says:

      Thanks for your note and so sorry to hear that you have Parkinson’s. Henry exercised everyday in his effort to fight the disease. Yes, we will touch base. My thoughts with you also.

  11. Carlene Waller says:


    Randy and I are saddened to hear of your loss. We are praying that God will provide comfort in your soul and that of Henry’s family knowing that your precious beloved is no longer in pain. What an accomplished man he was! Grief is the price of love; may you work through yours with the help of God, friends, and family.

    Carlene and Randy Waller

    • Bette says:

      Carlene and Randy,
      Thank you so much for your kind note. Henry and I had a wonder life together and I know he is pain free and watching over us. I hope you are both well.
      Thanks again,

  12. Bill Gibson says:

    I remember Henry from my earliest childhood; loved and respected him throughout my life. Our families were best lifelong friends and he and my sister Ella married. When I was in 3rd grade they had Ella Marie. They lived in D.C. for a time and gave us the royal tour when we would visit. One time I wanted to climb the Washington Monument by stairs. My parents thought it was a dumb idea but Henry stepped up and took me over to climb it. He thought I should get to give it a try and I did. Hank always stood strong for things and people he believed in. I never saw him back down. He loved life and his family and he battled Parkinson’s like a champ. We will miss you brother

  13. Mike Medley says:

    What a wonderful and brilliant person. We finished Cookeville High School together (Class of 1961) is then on to Tennessee Tech. Henry had a great career and was well respected in the study of law. Hope to be able to attend his memorial service Saturday.

  14. Mike Medley says:

    What a wonderful and brilliant person. We finished Cookeville High School together (Class of 1961) then on to Tennessee Tech. Henry had a great career and was well respected in the study of law. Hope to be able to attend his memorial service Saturday.

  15. Steve Huddleston says:

    Our Dad’s were classmates at the City School in Cookeville. After a stint in the Navy, Dr. Haile moved his wife and son to Cookeville and set up his s medical practice.

    Hank and I first me when we were three years old. The Haile family moved into their new home on Whitson Street. We were Childhood friends and playmates. He was a good friend and an even better man. man.

    I last talked with him at Mrs. Virginia Gibson’s 100th birthday party.

    My condolences to his is wife Bette, friends and family Kenny, Jim, John and Sarah, his daughter
    Ella and his extended family.

  16. Steve Huddlestom says:

    Rest in Peace my friend

  17. KRISTIN HILL says:


    I am sorry for your loss. I know what an influence he had on your life. I know this is a very sad and difficult time for you and your family. No matter where you are he will be with you. The lessons he taught and the love you shared will be with you forever. You have my very deepest sympathy

  18. Mell Mashburn says:

    Rosa and I are very sorry to hear about your loss. Seems like you have had a lot of good times together. Hope those memories will help you find peace in your time of despair. May God bless and keep you. Our prayers are with you and your family. Mell and Rosa Mashburn

    • Bette says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Yes, we had a wonderful life together and I know he is now well and with no pain.
      All my best,

  19. Rufus King III says:

    What a sad shock to learn that Hank is gone! As you probably recall, he and I were close during our years together at Georgetown Law, and you both and I lived close on the edge of Capitol Hill. I will always remember his thoughtful perspective and wisdom on legal issues as we were struggling along together. After too long of having lost touch, a recent mention of Nashville held out for me the prospect of talking and catching up. I will miss him a lot.
    Rufus King

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