The community is mourning the loss of Coffee County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy R. Brock, who died suddenly while attending a national judicial training in Nevada. He was 62.
“Judge Brock’s last conversation consisted of him bragging on his children and how much he loved their childhood,” said Circuit Court Judge Justin C. Angel, 12th judicial district. “He was excited about this conference and returning to Coffee County to help even more people. He will be missed and mourned by his judicial family.”
Mike Lewis, director of Coffee County Drug Court Foundation, said Brock strived to help the most vulnerable members of the community.
“Coffee County Judge Timothy R. Brock made a difference in Coffee County and Tennessee by redeeming individuals, reuniting families, and restoring communities, and creating change in the lives of children, teens, and adults,” Lewis said. “He left this world doing what he loved, learning how to be a glimmer of light to those trapped in a world of darkness.”
Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell praised Brock’s work.
“Judge Brock was well respected for his service to Coffee County and a great supporter of the Recovery Court,” Cordell said. “He will be greatly missed.”
The Tennessee legal community is mourning, as well.
Brock was first elected as a general sessions judge in 1990 and added juvenile court jurisdiction to his duties in 1998, according to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1982 and his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. Judge Brock served on the executive committee of the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for many years and was a frequent presenter at conferences.
“It was a privilege to work with Judge Brock on the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Executive Committee and tackle difficult issues that affect the children and families of Tennessee,” said Henry County Judge Vicki Snyder, president of the Council in a press release of the Tennessee Supreme Court. “He never shied away from a problem or tough situation which demanded our attention. He always put others first. Tim was a true servant and gave without thought to himself for 29 years as a general sessions and juvenile court judge.”
In August 2017, he was awarded the McCain-Abernathy Award by the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for his exceptional service in advancing juvenile justice. The award is given annually to a judge with juvenile court jurisdiction who demonstrated outstanding service dedicated to the improvement of juvenile justice in Tennessee for the benefit of the children and families served by the state’s juvenile courts.
“Judge Brock, while quiet and unassuming, was an outstanding leader who worked constantly and diligently in our judicial system to improve the lives of children and families in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeff Bivins. “He cared deeply about improving the courts and the judicial system as a whole to better serve the citizens of Coffee County and all Tennesseans. He embraced education and learning, and he was always willing to be a leader in innovation and new approaches to serving people. Judge Brock’s untimely death leaves a great void in our judicial family.”
Judge Brock was a mentor for many judges.
“Tim was the judge that judges looked to for advice, counsel and always perspective,” said Judge Jeff Rader, a juvenile judge in Sevier County. “He was a calm and thoughtful person who cared about the people he served as well as those around him. I often asked him for help on particularly difficult issues and his thoughts were always spot on. He will be missed by the entire judiciary. We will keep his family in our prayers.”
In addition to his service to the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Judge Brock served in leadership roles for the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Tennessee Judicial Opioid Initiative, which he co-chaired, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
“Tim was always ready with good insight and advice. His opinion mattered when we were dealing with difficult issues. He was always smiling and had a good word for you and all his colleagues,” said Shelby County Juvenile Judge Dan Michael. “I am saddened by his passing. Tennessee has lost a good man and a great Judge. My heart goes out to his family and friends.”
Judge Brock also presided over the Coffee County Drug Recovery Court, Coffee County Mental Health Court, Coffee County Family Treatment Court, Coffee County Juvenile Recovery Court, and the Coffee County Safe Baby Court. His involvement with the recovery courts in Coffee County date back to their founding in 2005. He is a former member of the Tennessee State Drug Recovery Court Advisory Board and has actively served on multiple committees for the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Coffee County Family Treatment Court, which held its first graduation earlier this month, is the first and only one in the state of Tennessee. Judge Brock was also one of the state’s first Safe Baby Court judges and he was a leader in expanding safe baby courts to 11 other counties in the state.
“Judge Brock’s greatest gift to the judiciary and to the citizens he served was his work in the area of recovery courts,” Judge Snyder said. “His tireless efforts will long be remembered by those who left his recovery courts different people than when they first met him. Nothing brought him greater joy than to see a person understand the true gift of recovery, except his children and grandchildren. Even though I never had the privilege to meet them, I feel like I know them because of the many stories I heard about them and the pictures I’ve seen on multiple occasions. I am a better person and judge for having known and been a friend to Judge Tim Brock. And for that, I am eternally grateful.”
While Judge Brock’s years of service and age made him eligible for retirement, he stayed on because of his work with recovery courts.
“I recently asked Judge Brock why he didn’t retire and he said it was because of his responsibility to the recovery courts, especially during this current crisis,” said Judge Dennis Humphrey, a General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge in Roane County. “I think that says it all.”