OBITUARY: Donald Lanny Corlew


Donald Lanny Corlew was born November 18, 1938, and passed away on May 24, 2023, surrounded by his family.

Don was a Nashville native. He graduated from Hillsboro High School (Class of ’57) and Vanderbilt University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

After Vanderbilt, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, Texas, where he met his wife, Tommye Jean (“T”). He received his law degree from YMCA Night Law School (now Nashville School of Law) in 1967.

He worked for the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Metropolitan Nashville Legal Department before beginning his career as a Deputy Attorney General in the State of Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, where he served for almost thirty years. During the years of working downtown, Don enjoyed friendships and playing handball at the Downtown YMCA.

Don’s true passion was the out-of-doors. He was fortunate to live next to Radnor Lake State Natural Area for almost fifty years. He took pride in his beautiful vegetable garden and enjoyed daily hikes at Radnor.

Don felt most at home in the mountains. Sharing his sense of adventure over the years, he took his family to Colorado for skiing, hiking, camping, jeeping, and other “thrill-seeking” activities. In recent years his dream-come-true was enjoying beautiful views of the mountains from the deck of the home in Ridgway, Colorado, where he and “T” lived part time.

He loved nothing more than experiencing nature with his grandchildren. Whether it was camping in Colorado, riding bikes out in the country at Leiper’s Fork, or zip-lining over the creek from the tree house he built for them in the backyard, he was always the ring-leader.

Don was also a leader in the community. He was one of the early presidents of Friends of Radnor Lake, served on the Boards of Siloam Health and Nashville Young Life, and was involved for many years with the “Monday Lunch” at Downtown Presbyterian Church.

Don was an elder at Belmont church, where he mentored younger men and hosted activities for the youth group, college group, and others. In recent years he attended St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Robert James and Eva May Graves Corlew; brothers Thomas, Robert (“Pete”), Charlie, and Ed Corlew; and sisters Robbie Miller and Eva Lautenbach.

He is survived by his wife, daughters Julie Adkison (Mark), Betsy Wright (Sean), and Sally Marciel (Michael); grandchildren Addison Wright, Michael Wright, Kate Wright, Anna Caroline Wright, and Sydney Adkison; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be on June 3rd, 2:00 p.m. at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, with visitation one hour before the service and reception immediately following.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s honor may be made to Siloam Health at


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