In Memory of
Luther P. House Jr.
December 18, 1933 - August 2, 2020
Luther House Jr. died peacefully at home on August 2, 2020 at the age of 86 from natural causes.
He was born in Bethpage, Summer County, Tennessee on December 18, 1933 at the home of his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John L. Harris. The family doctor, with his nurse, came to the home for a day and spent the night to oversee the delivery. It was a zero degree night and the fires were kept burning through the night. This home delivery, by the doctor and nurse staying the night, was not an uncommon practice in those days, where there was no hospital and the transportation was slow and uncertain, mainly by a Model-A or Model-T Ford. The normal charge for a home visit was $5 to $10 plus a live chicken or two.
Mr. House’s parents were Luther P. House, Sr. (1896-1984) and Lucy Harris House (1903-1997).
Mr. House grew up on a farm in Allen County, KY. It was a small rural county and the last of the Appalachian hill counties before the terrain changed into the flatter lands of Western Kentucky. Livestock, small grain, corn and tobacco provided the work. This was the time of the Great Depression. With little money, the harvest was mostly used to barter and to be consumed at home.
Mr. House’s extended family lived in this area for about 200 years (1800 – 2000). Many of his ancestors enlisted in the United States armies in the service of their country during this period: Jacob House (4th Great Grandfather 1740-1804) contributed to the Revolution army in 1777. William House (3rd Great Grandfather 1795-1880) volunteered to serve under General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.
Mr. House’s Great Grandfather John E. Dalton joined the Union Army in 1863 at Scottsville, KY as a member of the 52 KY Volunteer Mounted Infantry. Luther P. House, Sr. was a U. S. Marine in 1918 in WWI. Luther P. House, Jr. was a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force in 1958-62
Luther P. House Jr. graduated from Scottsville High School in 1951 as Senior Class President and Salutatorian. He was selected by the American Legion as one of two boys from each state to attend Boys Nation in 1950 to participate in a model government. President Truman personally welcomed them to the White House (President Clinton was chosen to attend Boys Nation during President Kennedy’s term).
He received his BA degree from the University of Kentucky in 1955, where he met his sweetheart, Jane Ann Stockton (1933-2010). They were married on January 28, 1956. She graduated as a medical technologist. They were married for 54 years before her death in 2010.
He received his law degree from UK in 1957 and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa, ODK, Order of the Coif, Student Government Association, Interfraternity Council, and Associate Editor of the Kentucky Law Journal. He was awarded a lifetime membership on the Journal. He was selected as the Outstanding Freshman for 1950-51 and graduated third in his law class. He was a member of the AFROTC where he received the Faculty Plaque and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in 1957. He was offered a regular commission, but turned it down in favor of active duty in the Reserves. He received his Masters of Law Degree from Yale University in 1958. He then went with a Wall Street law firm until he was called to active duty by the US Air Force. Lt. House was stationed at Pope AFB, NC, for 3 years as a Staff Judge Advocate. He received several commendations for his trial work while in the Air Force (1958-1961).
He then moved with his family to Atlanta, where he practiced law with Smith, Currie, and Hancock LLP (and its predecessor) for 40 years. He practiced Construction Law at the time Smith, Currie, and Hancock LLP was one of the first law firms in the United States to be recognized in this area of law. He was the Managing Partner for 25 years. He was Chair of the ABA’s Forum on Construction Law and was given its Cornerstone Award in 1999 for his contributions to the construction industry. He practiced throughout the nation and in some foreign countries. He taught many seminars on Construction Law at major universities and trade associations during his active practice.
Mr. House was a member of several professional societies and clubs; including: the Atlanta Bar, Georgia Bar, Kentucky Bar, and American Bar Associations and the Georgia Bar Foundation (where he was a life member), Phi Delta Phi, The Lawyer’s Club, Leadership Atlanta (1976-77), the Capital City Club and the Commerce Club. He was admitted to all of the State and Federal courts needed for his practice. He was also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court on March 27, 1961.
He and his wife were members of the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church from 1962 to the time of their deaths. He was a member of the Administrative Board in the late 60’s and the Timothy Class. He was a Board Member of the Methodist Children’s Home. He first became a member of the small Concord Methodist Church (45 members), in Allen County, Kentucky, on Trammel Creek when he was 12, and where, at an August revival, he received the Power, Grace and Love of Jesus Christ.
His family has been Methodist for seven generations. His 4th Great Grandfather, Jacob House, had the honor to have the first Tennessee Methodist conference founded at his home in 1812, where Bishops Asbury and McKendree presided at the House home in Fountain Head, TN. His 2nd Great Grandfather, Luke P. Allen, was a Methodist Circuit Rider in the 1820’s to 1840’s in Middle, Tennessee.
Mr. House once commented that his earlier thoughts were that his family and law practice would likely be his greatest responsibility and achievement, but eventually, he discovered it was as a caregiver that he would perform his most important work. His wife and mother required more than 20 years of care because of extended illnesses. Both were cared for in their homes. Ms. Anita Harris provided personal health care for both Mr. and Mrs. House, Jr. Her love and skill made it possible for them to be cared for at home. Care for his mother (Lucy House) in her home was made possible by her diligent and loyal Allen County caregivers. Mr. House cared for his mother and wife as his last significant work, and he was determined that his task would be done with love, to the best of his ability, and with no regrets.
Notwithstanding all of Mr. House’s accomplishments, to his children and grandchildren the most important things that made him who he was were the quality of his character and his love for his family. His integrity, honesty, sense of fairness, kindness, courtesy, sincerity, devotion and loyalty set standards that they can only hope to emulate. Mr. House always put family first, and his children and grandchildren had the security of knowing that he would always be there for them, love them and stand up for them, come what may. Mr. House always strove to do what was right, even if it meant forgoing personal pleasure. He followed his conscience rather than doing what was easy or expedient in the moment. Mr. House was a true gentleman in the best sense of the word.
Mr. House was predeceased by his wife, Jane Ann Stockton House, and is survived by his daughters, Jerrie Lynn House Plegge and Holly Ann House Hailey as well as his son-in-law Julian Hailey and five grandchildren: Lucy Virginia Plegge (named after two great grandmothers), Marcella Jane Plegge (named after Jane Ann), Julian Reed Hailey, Porter Strickland Hailey (named after Mr. House, Jr.) and Claire Ann Hailey. Mr. House also found love and happiness in his later years. Ann Coleman also survives him.
A graveside service will be conducted on August 15th, 2020 at the family plot in Crescent Hill Cemetery, Scottsville, KY, where his wife, parents, and grandparents are buried. The family and close friends will gather at 2:00 p.m. at T. W. Crow Funeral Home 201 N. Court Street, Scottsville, Kentucky 42164 (270-237-3114) and then proceed to the gravesite. A memorial service will be conducted on a later date at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Timothy Class at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church or Wellroot Family Services (formerly known as The United Methodist Children’s Home) in Atlanta, GA, or Concord Methodist Church in Scottsville, KY.