“Senator Ben Atchley will always be remembered by all of us here at SLLF as a man of humility, faith, love and integrity. He made me a better man knowing and working with him. Thank you, Senator, and Godspeed.” Steve Lakis, President, SLLF
It is with great sadness that we must report that Senator Ben Atchley, member of the Tennessee General Assembly for more than three decades and former Vice Chair (1990-1996) and Chair (1996-1998) of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation has died at the age of 88. Atchley, affectionately known in Tennessee as “Gentle Ben,” served for more than a decade as the leader of the Tennessee Senate Republicans in an era when the state legislature was under Democratic control. Despite being in the minority, Senator Atchley’s demeanor and statesmanship garnered him and his party a “seat at the table” despite their minority status. In the words of Lt. Governor Randy McNally, “Ben Atchley was the very definition of a statesman. He always did what was right and never sought credit for his accomplishments — which were many. He never shied away from hard decisions and his integrity was unquestioned.”
Despite his positions of influence in the state and in SLLF, he had no pretense. He was always humble. He was not Senator Atchley. He was not Mr. Chairman. He was just Ben. He was statesman, a leader, a mentor and a friend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife of almost seventy years, Sue and their children and grandchildren. Rest well Ben – you have earned it.