It is with profound sadness that Bass, Berry & Sims announces the passing of James O. Bass, Sr. Mr. Bass was the son of founding firm member, F. M. Bass. Our sincerest thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.

A native Nashvillian, Mr. Bass remained a fixture in the legal community up until his passing. Even at 108 years old, he still visited the firm’s office on occasion and was always willing to chat with his fellow lawyers, sharing times past with his peers or passing along words of wisdom to younger attorneys.

Mr. Bass was born in Nashville in 1910 and quickly demonstrated his quick wit and intelligence. He skipped two grades in elementary school and completed his undergrad degree at the University of the South in just three years. Mr. Bass attended Harvard Law School and returned to Nashville following graduation to practice with his father at Bass, Berry & Sims.

In addition to his growing litigation practice, Mr. Bass was also involved in local and state politics. At the age of 27, Mr. Bass won a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives where he introduced legislation to replace the Justices of the Peace Court system. The legislation was approved and evolved into the general sessions court. He followed his term in the House with a term in the state Senate. He continued to stay involved in politics throughout his career, and served on a committee in the 1960s that helped end segregation at local Nashville establishments. He also served as president of the Nashville Bar Association in 1951.

In 1942, Mr. Bass joined the U.S. Army following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served as a judge advocate in the 104th division until the end of the war.

We join our community in remembering Mr. Bass as a leader, trusted advisor, mentor and friend. Mr. Bass was preceded in death by his wife, Susanne Warner Bass, brother Francis M. Bass, Jr., and sister Mary Blackman Bass Phillips. He is survived by children James Orin Bass, Jr., (Liz), Edwin Warner Bass, (Madge), Francis M. Bass, II (Allison), and Susan Richardson Bass Bowen; 11 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Friends of Warner Parks, 50 Vaughn Road, Nashville, TN 37221; Montgomery Bell Academy, 4001 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37205; University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383; First Presbyterian Church, 4815 Franklin Pike, Nashville, TN 37220.

Our prayers and sympathy are with his family and friends. If you’d like to send condolences or memories that the firm will share with the family, please email To read some of the tributes that have already been submitted, click here.