It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague, C. Thomas Cates, who passed away on December 23, 2020. Mr. Cates was a member of the Burch, Porter & Johnson firm for over forty years. He was not only an esteemed attorney, but a well-respected mentor and community advocate, as well. He will always be remembered for his generosity and dedication to the firm.

C. Cates Obituary (1941 – 2021) – The Commercial Appeal (

Mr. Cates Honored by Germantown Community Library Board

Prior to his passing, Mr. Cates was honored by the Germantown Community Library Board. On December 2nd, 2020, former Germantown Mayor and Library Board Chairman Sharon Goldsworthy announced the Board’s decision to name the Germantown Community Library collection after Mr. Cates. This decision was made to honor Mr. Cates’ professional and public service through the years.

Mr. Cates was the Library Board’s founding chairman and was instrumental in the legal process separating the GCL from the Memphis Public Library system and attaining a contractual agreement with Library System & Services (LSSI). His voluntarism also included petitioning and negotiating to bring the Tennessee Genealogical Society to Germantown.

Mr. Cates’ love of reading and dedication to the Germantown Community Library will be reflected through permanent signage above the interior doors of the library.