Richard R. Baumgartner (Sign Guestbook)

Richard Ralph Baumgartner, 70, of Knoxville, died on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in the comfort of his home.

Born in 1947 in Ballston Spa, New York, Richard served for 18 years as a Knox County Criminal Court Judge. In that role, Baumgartner helped establish the Knox County Drug Court, which has served as a model throughout the state.

Richard was a valued member of both the judicial and local community, sharing his legal expertise, his passion for justice, and his compassion for his fellow residents of Knox County. Following his notable career, Richard’s later life was wrought with struggles associated with many years of health related conditions.

Richard served on the boards of several local nonprofit organizations, including the Joy of Music School, the American Red Cross, and Leadership Knoxville as well as volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank and Meals on Wheels during retirement.

An accomplished amateur pianist who accompanied services playing his father’s piano at the French Broad United Methodist Church, Richard was also a devoted gardener who took great joy in farming his land along the French Broad River and sharing its beauty with family and friends. He especially enjoyed spending time with his two lovely grandchildren who would frequently help him pick vegetables and till the garden.

The son of Ralph and Dorothea Baumgartner, Richard served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1970, serving on two carrier cruises to Southeast Asia, before attending East Tennessee State University and then earning his J.D. from the University of Tennessee in 1977.

Richard is survived by Vicki Williams Baumgartner; his daughter Rachel and her husband Will Blackstock; precious grandchildren Richard Harrison and Madelyn Ryan; his mother, Dorothea Baumgartner; sisters, Virginia Morris, Mary Hall, and Thia Reggio; and several nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday February 1st at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church in Knoxville at 6 pm. Friends will be welcome at the church from 4:30pm to 6pm. Services will be officiated by Dr. Bill Barron.

In lieu of flowers, Richard would want donations sent to the Joy of Music School, Second Harvest Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the American Red Cross, or a local charity of your choice. Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel & Crematory is honored to serve the Baumgartner family and invites you to view and sign their online guestbook below.






26 guestbook entries for “Richard R. Baumgartner”:

  1. Joe and Angela Fort Judd says:

    Vickie, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. May your good memories serve to offer you strength and peace.

  2. Mary Lawrence Woodhull says:

    May the best memories of Richard and the love of God surround you and give you strength in the days ahead.

  3. Maarja Fox Crossroads Transitional Living For Women In Recovery says:

    Condolences to family and friends. May God bring you peace and fond memories.

  4. Judy burnett says:

    Richard was a good person…never had to face him in court but i do belive he was fair and impartial judge.sorry to hear he had passed away.

  5. Bill Snyder says:

    When I experience the loss of a relative or special person such as Richard, I think of an experience with that person that puts a smile on my face. During the renovation of the Tennessee Theatre in 2003, a small group of people were gathering on Clinch Avenue across from the side entrance to the theatre, after all the workmen had gone for the day, to make a surreptitious, after hours entrance into the theatre for the marriage of Jenny Hines and Tom Jester. I was standing with the group when Richard came walking down Clinch toward State. I hailed Richard and said, “Hey Richard, come into the theatre with us. A wedding is going to be performed.” Richard smiled and said, “Yes, I know.I am conducting the ceremony!”

    Bill Snyder

  6. R. T. Hines says:

    A great guy who helped me in a time of need. He will be missed for the good things in life he did for people.

  7. Ken Tunnell says:

    Richard was one of the nicest men I’ve known and was always very welcoming to me. Although I haven’t seen him in more than a decade, I’ve followed and admired his work and his commitment to justice. We’ll likely not see his kind again. I’ll never forget him.

  8. Jenny L Hines says:

    Bill, your post obviously resonated with Tom and me. That was a very special night for us and Richard literally made it happen. When someone transitions we always tend to remember the happy times and best attributes. We will always remember and love Richard well. I am so sorry that I was unable to attend the memorial service. I was out of town with my family in West Virginia.

  9. Bill Ward says:

    So sorry to hear that Richard has passed on. He was an inspiration to many of us, and he left an enduring legacy as a jurist. My condolences to his family and friends. He was a good man.

  10. Mary Helsley says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. May your memories be in your heart each time you remember him.

  11. Judy Cagle says:

    Vicki, you and the family are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss.


  12. A.E. Graybeal and Miss Lorren says:

    Vicki and Rachel, please accept my sincere condolences in the loss of a great man. He was an inspiration to me, as he encouraged me to continue to play the piano, and I often would go to chambers and see that smile upon his face looking up from whatever case he was studying upon. He was a a mentor, and a gentleman. I will continue to keep your family in our prayers.

  13. Alex E. Smith says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

    Alex E. Smith

  14. Robert W. Godwin says:

    Knew him for years in the legal profession. I was fond of him. We enjoyed a warm relationship which never changed. Sincere sympathies.

  15. Susan Collins says:

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Rick & Susan Owens-Collins

  16. Rhoshawnda Turner says:

    Rest in Peace, my friend!
    Ron Sprowl

  17. Patrick Carr says:

    I was director and public relation director at the Steps Housebin Knoxville Tn for many years. During this time Richard was director of Drug Court program. We sent many many men to Drug Court. Many were able to turn their life around and life a productive life alcohol and drug free. Richard’s leadership touched their life and he was one of the reasons our men found a successful life free from any drugs or alcohol. Richard was a damn good man and nobody can cancel the Good work he did. He was a friend and will be missed. My prayers and thoughts . May he rest in peace

  18. Shawn Bough says:

    For a man who changed my life.

  19. Bernie Rosenblatt says:

    Vicki…may his memory be a blessing. Our love goes out to you. We first met as part of Leadership Knoxville in 2004 and my memories were of the good times at the farm and the warmth with which you and Richard always welcomed us. We hope that everyone remembers all of the good that Richard accomplished.

  20. Janice Orlop Chase says:

    I grew up attending the same Upstate New York school and church as Richard, the church where his Dad played the organ. What an impressive life Richard lived. My heartfelt sympathy to Vicki and the entire Baumgartner family.
    Janice Orlop Chase

  21. Dan & Nancy Gaubas says:

    Richard was a long-time friend and will be missed. We will remember him for all the good he performed in the Knoxville community. Our thoughts and prayers extend to all the family.

  22. Richard Hopkins says:

    Our love prayers and sympathy are with the entire Baumgartner family.
    DIck and Dorrie Hopkins

  23. Arthur Reynolds says:

    Arthur Reynolds

  24. Ronnie Bowman says:

    Ronnie Bowman

  25. linda l colburn says:

    Vicki was sorry to hear about Richard. my prayers are with you and Rachel, I really loved him . he was such a wonderful guy. he treated each person with such respect. love you Vicki.

  26. Jeff Mellor says:

    My family and I are deeply saddened by the loss of a great and decent man in Richard Baumgartner. His legacy in his creation of the Drug Court has benefited countless people in our community, among them a person very close to us. We deeply mourn his passing.

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