We are sad to report that on April 3rd Lewis Thomason lost our dear friend and colleague, William M. Kunkel. Bill served Lewis Thomason as its Chief Financial Officer for over 20 years.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 1973 from the University of Tennessee and went on to obtain his MBA in Management from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management before traveling the world in the employ of Price Waterhouse and performing CFO roles for multiple other businesses before joining us. Bill’s work was exemplary, helping to guide the firm in its growth from approximately 30 attorneys to its current Statewide, multi-disciplinary, presence of over 110 attorneys in four offices. In particular, his tireless and unprecedented effort to pilot and protect the firm’s financial well-being during the pandemic will never be forgotten by the firm’s hundreds of employees and their dependent family members. As firm President Lisa Cole has stated, “To say Bill was the best at what he did is an understatement.”
Our friend Bill was a man of deep faith who presented with an all-business exterior, but his sometimes-gruff demeanor hid the kindest, biggest, and most caring heart a human being can possess. Bill loved helping others, and he willingly served as a mentor to many young professionals throughout his career. His heart particularly held a special place for needy and underprivileged children in Southern Appalachia for whom he anonymously toiled to aid throughout the year, but most especially with presents of toys, food, and friendship every Christmas. Bill’s yearly Christmas effort for the benefit of Jellico, Tennessee’s Crazy Quilt children was legendary. Bill was selfless. Everything Bill did was for others—his family, our firm, his colleagues, needy children and, very often, strangers in need. Simply put, our tough old businessman, Bill, loved and cared for others and throughout his well lived life he quietly “walked the walk” to help others whenever and however he could.
Bill leaves behind a beloved wife of 1 day short of 52 years, Sheila, three daughters, Ashlie Kunkel, Melissa Newman (Nick), and Megan DeBolt (Brian), as well as six cherished grandchildren. He also leaves behind hundreds of colleagues and friends who have led better lives because of his presence among us.
We will miss you, Bill.