Judge Clarence E. Shattuck, Jr. Scholarship honors Tennessee Tech education that prepared Hamilton County judge for 59-year career
As the longest-serving judge in one court in the history of Hamilton County, Tennessee, Judge Clarence E. Shattuck, Jr., '57 accounting, credits Tennessee Tech for preparing him for his career. He and his wife recently established the Judge Clarence E. Shattuck, Jr. Scholarship Endowment to help others from his hometown earn a college degree.
“There is no question that the experience I had at Tennessee Tech was very important, both from an educational and social standpoint,” Shattuck said. “Being a country boy, meeting people from all over the state and beyond was an eye-opener for me. Tech didn't have the diversity then that it has now, but there were many diverse personalities and backgrounds that I came in contact with which were beneficial to me throughout my career, both as a lawyer and a judge.”
Shattuck grew up in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, at a time when there were no paved roads, electricity, running water or telephones.
Shattuck laughingly said, “Today, many families are having their groceries delivered to their homes, but that's nothing new. In the 1940s, I delivered groceries from my father's country store by horse and wagon.”
He was the first in his family to go to college, thanks to high school teacher Clara Bond. Shattuck was familiar with Tech — the Tennessee Tech Troubadours jazz band had played at his high school — but he says she really convinced him that Tech would be the right fit.
“Tech was the right choice for me and was a meaningful and gratifying experience,” he said.
During his senior year at Tech, Shattuck was elected president of the Associated Student Body (the original name for Tech's student government association) and says his experience in student government was instrumental in preparing him for his future career. He was also a member of the debate team, participated in intramural athletics and held several jobs while in college, including cafeteria worker, student assistant in the accounting department and campus representative for a reputable national firm.
Shattuck majored in accounting because he believed it was a good pre-law major and knew that if law school didn't work out, he would always have his accounting degree to fall back on. But law school did work out for Shattuck, and he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1960. In fact, six other students from Tech went to the University of Tennessee Law School at the same time and all graduated with their Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees.
“This was a great recommendation for Tech since at that time the graduation rate at UT’s law school was only 20 to 25 percent,” Shattuck said.
While in law school, he met Ruth Axmacher, who was majoring in medical technology at UT at the time, and they married in 1961. The couple have three sons — Clarence III, Paul and Mark — with careers in business, medicine and mathematics, respectively. Shattuck says he is most thankful for Ruth's help in providing a scholarship for Tech students, even though she was not a Tech graduate herself.
Shattuck practiced law for 22 years before being appointed to the Hamilton County General Sessions Court bench in 1982. He was elected, unopposed, for five consecutive terms. The court handles both civil and criminal cases — from hearings in first degree murder cases to trivial disputes (but, Shattuck points out, important nonetheless to the respective parties). Shattuck has been involved in many activities in his profession, community and church and has received numerous awards and honors for his participation and service. Among them include his induction (as part of the inaugural class) into the Soddy Daisy High School Hall of Fame, election as a lifetime member of the Parent Teacher Association and receipt of lifetime achievement awards from both the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference and the National Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge.
After nearly 37 years on the bench, Shattuck retired in 2019 at the age of 83, but even today, at 87, he continues to serve as a substitute judge. And he's known for his ability on another court as well: Shattuck is a Senior Olympian basketball player and has participated in the Senior Games throughout the country for more than 20 years. He anticipates playing again in Pittsburgh later this summer.
Shattuck says he chose to establish a scholarship at Tech because it is a way to honor both his high school and Tech at the same time. The Judge Clarence E. Shattuck, Jr. Scholarship will be awarded to students from Soddy Daisy High School with preference given to accounting majors, but it is open to others as well. He says the scholarship is also intended to honor other family members who graduated from Tech. His son Clarence Shattuck III (`85 accounting), grandson Luke Shattuck (`17 mechanical engineering) and granddaughter-in-law Laken Brazzle Shattuck (`17 English and `18 political science) all graduated from Tech. And Shattuck’s youngest brother Gene Shattuck received both a bachelor’s degree (`66 secondary education) and a master's degree (`69 M.A.) from Tech.
Shattuck says people can get discouraged too easily, and he wants to encourage students pursuing a degree at Tech to persevere.
“Tech meant very much to me, and still does,” he said. “I would like someone from the same area of Tennessee as myself to be able to experience the same degree of satisfaction from going to Tennessee Tech. Even though there have been dramatic changes since I enrolled in Tech seventy years ago, there are still many worthy students in need of financial assistance, and my wife and I are thankful to be able to contribute to that need. I am proud of Tech and its reputation and would like to extend that opportunity to others.”
Pictured: Judge Shattuck with his son and grandson