James (Jim) Spray Kidd, who served as district attorney for more than two decades, passed away at his home on Friday (Sept. 28, 2018). He was 89.
He was born April 9, 1929 in Harms and was the son of William Calvin and Maggie Spray Kidd. Mr. Kidd attended the Citadel before transferring to and graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in business administration in 1951. He received his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee School of Law the same year.
He was a practicing attorney from Aug. 1951 until Aug. 2018 and had an active career in public service. From 1954 to 1966, he was elected and served as circuit court clerk. He was elected and served as district attorney general for Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties from 1966 to 1990. As DA, he directed all criminal prosecutions, the Drug Task Force, Child Support Enforcement and Victims Witness programs. He was also licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Throughout his career, he served on numerous legal boards, including the Tennessee Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee and Alternative Dispute Board, Legal Services of South Central Tennessee and Tennessee Commission for Children and Youth.
Mr. Kidd joined the Tennessee State Guard at age 15 during World War II. He joined the Air Force and advanced to the rank of staff sergeant during the Korean War where he served as intelligence specialist and in the Judge Advocate General section. After his service during Korea, he went into the Army and reached the rank of 1st lieutenant in the artillery division.
In addition to his legal and military careers, Mr. Kidd was a farmer and business man. He grew up on a farm and continued to raise cattle and crops throughout his life and was a longtime member of Farm Bureau. He served as president of Citizens Insurance Company of Lincoln County and was a board member since 1959. He also served on the board of directors for the American Automobile Association of Tennessee.
He joined the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1933. He served as deacon, elder, clerk of the session, congregational chairman, moderator of the Tennessee-Alabama Presbytery and member of the choir at the Fayetteville ARP Church since 1960. He also served as an elder emeritus at the Lincoln ARP Church. From 1949 until 2014, Mr. Kidd was an active Sunday School teacher, except while stationed with his military assignments. He served on the board of trustees for Erskine College, the executive board of Synod, board of William H. Dunlap Orphanage, Ecclesiastical Commission on Judiciary Affairs and the Board of World Witness. He was also a Gideon.
Mr. Kidd loved the Lord, his church, the legal profession, his office, chocolate sauce, ice cream, tax deductions, no complications during calving season and making sure his children were up and working at 5:30 a.m. on Saturdays. His devout faith guided him to always “do some good”, and he took pride in his children’s professional accomplishments and their commitment to family. He also loved his “sweet, intelligent and faithful” wife who cared for him, their children and their home for many decades where, as he would say, “Every day is a good day.”
Mr. Kidd is survived by his wife of over 63 years, Roberta Wales Kidd; eight children, Martha Kidd Kelly (Gary ) of Fayetteville, Dr. William Kidd (Denise) of Fayetteville, Thomas Kidd (Teresa) of Lafayette, David Kidd (Luanne) of Fayetteville, Dr. Mary Kidd Barker (Reid) of Atlanta, Ga., Robert Kidd (Helen) of Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Sarah Kidd (Mike Ray) of McKenzie, Deborah Kidd Vear (Kevin) of Atlanta, Ga.; two sisters, Nancy Kidd Hall and Jessie Stewart McFerrin of Fayetteville; 19 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and two step great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at the Fayetteville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. A private burial was in Lebanon Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Fayetteville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or Gideons International.