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Baxley T. Tankard

Today's obituaries

Date published: 1/29/2013

Baxley T. Tankard

Baxley Trower Tankard of Franktown died peacefully on January 26, 2013 after a brief illness at Westminster Canterbury in Charlottesville, where he and his beloved wife, Elizabeth, resided part time.

A native of the Eastern Shore, he was born June 27, 1913, the son of Philip William and Florence Mapp Tankard.

Baxley credited a life well-lived to his upbringing in Franktown, where he worked on the family farm as a young boy, he attended Franktown-Nassawadox High School, and was a lifelong member of Franktown United Methodist Church.

He graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1935 and received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1938. He put his career on temporary hold, however, while serving his country in World War II as a commander in the U.S. Navy.

A self-described country lawyer, Baxley practiced law as it is never likely to be seen again. Mentored by the late Judge Charles M. Lankford Jr., he hung his shingle at a small office along Lawyer's Row at the county seat in Eastville. There he built his general practice on probate, real estate and trial work. Unlike today, his was an era when a telephone, a manual typewriter and carbon paper were all that was needed, and being known and trusted was what mattered more. His passion for the county's historic records was evident on his visits to the Clerk's Office, where he particularly enjoyed title research. His remarkable knowledge of the people and places of the Eastern Shore augmented his ability to effectively navigate generations of land ownership.

Over the course of his distinguished career, he served as commonwealth's attorney for 16 years and as legal counsel to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission. He was the first attorney for the Eastern Shore's Accomack & Northampton Electric Cooperative, remaining in that capacity for more than 60 years. Complementing his legal career with community service, Baxley was a lifetime member of the local Rotary Club, past-president of the Exmore People's Trust Bank, and past-president of Northampton-Accomack Memorial Hospital, now Riverside Shore Memorial.

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