Former Elizabethton attorney, public defeder David Bautista dies

Published 8:58 am Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Local public servant and community leader David Bautista died over the weekend at the age of 75.

Bautista served both his country and his community during his lifetime. He retired as a colonel after 30 years of service with the U.S. Army.

In addition to his military service, Bautista was a prominent local attorney, holding a private practice in Elizabethton for 15 years and also serving as the district public defender upon appointment by then-Governor Ned McWherter. After retiring from practicing law, Bautista took on the role of adjunct professor of law at East Tennessee State University.

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His service to his community did not stop with his military and public servant roles, Bautista served on several boards for local service organizations. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Carter County Tomorrow program.

“I refer to him as one of the founding fathers of Carter County Tomorrow,” CCT Director Tom Anderson said, adding he was saddened by the news of Bautista’s death. “He was an exceptional guy.”

Bautista’s passing will be felt by many and will “leave a gap in the community,” Anderson said.

“He was very community-minded and always thought of the greater good,” Anderson said of his friend. “He will be greatly missed, by me and by the community.”

After helping to found the agency, Anderson said Bautista continued to help out by serving as a board member-at-large and assisting with the agency’s legal work.

When former State Rep. Kent Williams learned of Bautista’s death, he recalled a friendship that spanned four decades.

“Dave and I go back to the 1970s,” Williams said. He first met Bautista at the restaurant owned by Bautista’s father, Raymond. Over the years, the two remained close friends, Williams said.

“He was dedicated to his job as public defender,” Williams said of his friend. “He was just a great public servant.”

Bautista loved the outdoors, Williams said. Among Bautista’s many interests were hunting, horseback riding and water sports.

“Dave enjoyed life,” Williams said. “I hate that we lost him. He was just a great guy.”

“He will be missed by the community and he will definitely be missed by me and my family,” Williams added.

Bautista was a member of Kiwanis, Elks Club, Moose Club, Capt. Lynn H. Folsom V.F.W. Post 2166, the American Legion and the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce.

A memorial service for Bautista will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Sunset Chapel of Hathaway-Percy Funeral and Cremation Services. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2–4 p.m. prior to the service. Graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. on March 31 in the Mountain Home National Cemetery with military honors accorded by the Carter County Honor Guard.