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James W. “Jimmy” Pope, III

James W. “Jimmy” Pope, III

James W. “Jimmy” Pope, III, 59 of Pikeville, Tennessee passed away, Monday, July 10, 2023 with his loving family by his side.

Jimmy loved his family, enjoyed playing golf, riding motorcycles, and was a UT football fan. He was of the Christian faith.   

James W. “Jimmy” Pope, III was a 1982 honor graduate and Historian of his class at Bledsoe County High School, a 1986 honors graduate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and a 1989 graduate of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama – the same law school from which his father graduated. Pope was awarded the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence at Commencement ceremonies on May 20, 1989. His three year average grade performance placed him on the Dean’s list for academic achievement and in his last semester he obtained a 3.8 grade performance which placed him in the highest honors.

Pope was the recipient of the A. B. Neil Award for the outstanding Tennessee student. The award is given in honor of long time Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice, A. B. Neil. While at Cumberland School of Law, Pope was an officer in the Tennessee Student Bar Association and was a member and writer for the American Board of Trial Advocacy Journal.

He took the Tennessee Bar Examination in July 1989. Upon completion of the bar exam, he immediately began working for Law Office of Howard L. Upchurch in Pikeville. While working with him, he became a part time public defender when the Public Defender’s Office was established in 1990 until the retirement of his father as District Attorney on august 31, 1992.

Upon Mikes Taylor’s appointment as District Attorney in September of 1992, Jimmy immediately joined the District Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial District as an assistant district attorney assigned to Rhea, Bledsoe, and Sequatchie counties.  He participated in a number of important, complicated high profile trials throughout his career, including some murder cases individually and with General Taylor.

He served as a director for First Farmers and Commercial Bank (formerly First National Bank of Pikeville) from 1999 until his death and was extremely proud of the Bank’s status as a true community Bank and the Bank’s expansion into Rhea County.

Loyalty was Jimmy’s greatest character trait and after the retirement of General Taylor, he worked as the lead prosecutor in the 9th Judicial District in Meigs County with related duties in the criminal and sessions courts in other counties in the 9th Judicial District , where he remained until his untimely death.   

Preceding Jimmy in death were his father, James “Bill” Pope, Jr.; mother, Joan Estelle Smith Pope.

Left behind to cherish his memory is his loving wife of three years, Lola Ruth Stephens Pope; son, Leo (Kaitlyn) Miller; daughters, Shaylene Miller (Cody See), Layla Sills; goddaughter, Lauren (Lucas) Wheeler; bonus daughter, Katie (Michael) Shaver; mother, Jacquie Pope; brother, Benjamin (Stephanie) Stewart; sisters, Libby Ellis, Karen (James) Sellin; several grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.

A celebration of life will be 11:00 a.m. CST Friday, July 14, in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in Pikeville City Cemetery. The family will receive friends 1:00 – 8:00 p.m. CST Thursday, July 13, at the funeral home.

Condolences can be made at

Pikeville Funeral Home was entrusted with arrangements.

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