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1010 S. White Street
P.O. Box 99
ATHENS, TN 37371-0099
Phone: 423-745-3013
Fax: 423-745-7733
William Dender
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Smith Funeral & Cremation Services of Athens
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Obituary for William Dender

Judge William Madison Dender, Sr. 88, of Etowah, TN, passed away on Tuesdayevening, December 5th, 2017.

A lifelong resident of McMinn County, he was a son of the late Robert Emil Dender, Sr. and Sue Ellen Cox Dender.

Bill was a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for both his undergraduate and his Law degrees. He was an accomplished attorney in Etowah for 65years and always deeply interested in representing the interests of the citizens of the town he loved. He later served many years as a Circuit Judge covering threelocal counties. He also served as President of Tennessee Trial Judges Association during this period. He was later appointed by the Chief Justice of Tennessee to be the third ever Senior Judge in the State of Tennessee, sitting on all judicial levels including the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He loved to be called Judge, he wore it as a badge of honor and it was a label that fit him well as he stood for fairness and integrity in all that he did.
He met his dear wife Nancy Cantrell Dender in kindergarten and they remained inseparable throughout their lives together until the passing of Nancy four years ago. Simply said, they were two in one.
In addition to being a devoted husbandand father of five sons and grandfather to nine grandchildren, he was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, and numerous professional, civic and charitable organizations.
Bill Dender was a warm friend to all that knew him, a trusted confidant, a supporter, a mentor, an inspirer,a believer in the better life you make for yourself. He was a visionary and always interested in tomorrow. He touched many lives that he may have never realized because of his genuine nature, his support for others and his encouragement to others that flowed easily and naturally.
The love of his life was Nancy, and their five boys. There was nothing that he valued more than going through life living at Andeverin harmony with his family and enjoying the moments whether they be grand, or as simple as fresh tomato sandwiches with everyone’s feet dipped in the Hiawassee river. He was in awe at the beauty of America and took his family to all 48 contiguous states in a series of extensive Winnebago journeys to enjoy it all together. At home Andever was always alive and Bill and the boys were always involved in something, and everything.
If you wanted to talk to Bill he was always there, unless you mentioned Ferraris or Lear Jets, then you would just have to listen from that point on. He loved the progress and precision of both. The running joke was that after all the boys graduated college he was going to buy a Ferrari. After all boys graduated he and Nancy were in Atlanta admiring Ferraris (as usual) and all the way home he told her why he did not need one, Nancy lovingly said “Bill, if you don't buy that Ferrari right now I will never speak to you again.”He quickly acquiesced and enjoyed it always. Bill was a lifelong pilot and flew everything he could. He never owned a Lear but he never lowered his sights.As recently as last month he said“You know if I ever hit another good lick I’d have to think hard about a Lear.”

Bill is survived by his five sons and fourdaughters-in-law, William M. Dender, Jr. and Cindy Dender of Ten Mile, TN, Washington C. Dender of Atlanta, GA, Mark and Judy Dender of Palm City, FL, Daniel C. Dender and SasaDukan of Baltimore, MD, and Tom and Gina Dender of Houston, TX; nine grandchildren, Liza, Chase, Maxwell, Lauren, Zachary, Anthony, Hunter, Michael and James Dender; two sisters-in-law, Doris Cantrell of Houston, TX, and Mrs. Robert W. Cantrell of Knoxville, TN.

He was a father like no other and a husband that God paired to his true sweetheart. He believed in success and he succeededat leading his family to a life of love and laughter. He was surrounded by people who loved him and will miss him dearly.


A celebration of Bill’s life will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, December 9th, 2017, in the Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Athens, Tenn., with the Rev. Loren Boyce the Rev. Don Morris contributing.Interment will follow in Greenhill Cemetery in Etowah.The family will receive friends from noon-1:30 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home prior to the service.Pallbearing will be by his sons and grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the East Tennessee Foundation, 625 Market St., Knoxville, TN 37902, or the charity of your choice.

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