Judge Tommy Wayne Chandler, age 84 of Providence, Kentucky passed peacefully from this life on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 from complications related to COVID-19. A beloved patriarch and dedicated public servant, Judge Chandler leaves an indelible mark on the community in which he lived in and served his entire life. Born on May 31st, 1937 in Dixon, Kentucky to the late Beckham and Mary Irene Chandler, Judge Chandler was the second of two sons, his brother being the late Kermit Chandler of Owensboro, Kentucky. In his teens he joined his first of many gospel quartets. In love with singing from an early age, he will be remembered, sometimes to the chagrin of his family, for periodically breaking into hymn. A veteran, Tommy was a member of the Army National Guard Armory in Providence, Kentucky and was activated in 1961. After attending Evansville College and Murray State University, Judge Chandler graduated 1st in his class from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1965. Upon graduation, he immediately returned to Webster County, opened a law practice and began his decades-long involvement in public service. In addition to representing the Webster County Board of Education for more than 25 years, Judge Chandler held the following successive posts: Providence City Attorney, Webster County Attorney, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney and Commonwealth Attorney. Ultimately, he was elected by the citizens of Webster, Union and Crittenden counties as Circuit Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. As a judge, he will be remembered by attorneys and parties alike as being fair, kind and thoughtful, both inside and out of the courtroom. Judge Chandler retired during his second term in office to spend more time hunting, fishing, farming and traveling with his family. After retirement, Judge Chandler continued in public service as a member of the state Personnel Board, being appointed by Governors Steve and Andy Beshear.
Judge Chandler spent much of his free time engaging in scholarship. As the son of a schoolteacher, his voracious appetite for reading and enthusiasm for learning was unsurprising, but nonetheless enviable. He never forgot a story or joke and he never missed an opportunity to tell either. Whether it was studying his bible or reading of a culture on the other side of the world, his lifelong desire to learn and teach was on show for anyone who knew him, even briefly. An avid bird hunter, Judge Chandler was seldom more content anywhere in the world than he was in the field with his prized bird dogs and friends and family quail hunting. Judge Chandler had a fondness for traveling and food, the latter being an understatement. Every vacation he took was dictated by detailed plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and maybe snacks in between), both when and where each meal was to be enjoyed. The judge’s fellow travelers were often regaled about the history or significance of each landmark passed, ordinarily on their way to a meal that had been well-planed and heavily researched. Opportunities for a great meal and amazing memories were rarely missed. An accomplished gardener, Judge Chandler was proud of his vegetable gardens, roses and lawn. Judge Chandler was a member of the Providence General Baptist Church and a long-time director of Independence Bank.
Judge Chandler is survived by his wife Bonita, whom he shared sixty idyllic years of marriage. He is further survived by his and Bonita’s daughters, Lucia, Karen (Chad) and Carla, as well as two grandsons, Kent (Kimberly) and Benjamin. Judge Chandler leaves behind his birddog Katie and best friend and cat, Nubbin. In addition to his mother, father and brother, Judge Chandler is preceded in death by his son, Kent, and his father- and mother-in-law, the late Arnold and Lila Tapp.
Services will be provided by Townsend Funeral Home, Dixon, Kentucky, and will take place at 11 a.m. CDT Monday, September 6th, 2021 at Providence General Baptist Church. Revs. Barry Cullen and Charlie Davis will officiate. Friends and loved ones may arrive beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT, while the family will be available for visitation following the graveside service. Given the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19, attendees are required to wear masks. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Providence General Baptist building fund and sent to P.O. Box 284 Providence, KY 42450. Online condolences can be made at www.townsendfuneralhomeinc.com
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