David Gideon Crockett

David Gideon Crockett

Died January 21, 2008

David was especially proud of being a founder of the Justice Center of Atlanta, a community based mediation service, which developed into a national alternative dispute resolution resource, for which he was recognized with a National Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Public Service and an 11-Alive Community Service Award in 1981. These achievements followed David’s earning a J.D. degree from New York University in 1969, where he was editor-inchief of The Commentator, the school newspaper, and received the Vanderbilt Medal.

He later practiced law with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, then was in private practice in Atlanta before opening his own general practice law office in 1977, based on representing consumer lenders.

In 1997 David was again honored by the National Jefferson Awards as one of the outstanding grassroots recipients during that organization’s first 25 years.

He came from Columbus High School in Columbus, GA, to Yale, armed with an AMVETS scholarship. He majored in history, was a senior editor of the Yale Daily News and resided in Morse.

David observed in the class book and directory for our 25th reunion: “(m)aking a difference, however small, is very central to my life, both per se and to my own inward self.” In that same volume, he found he had “little time for the ‘life of the mind’ so central to our Yale experience, seeing his life dominated by what he called the “externals”: family, the church, the law practice, friends, and community service.” And that “we are prepared (by a Yale education) to make a difference for ourselves and those who call upon us.”
David died on January 21, 2008 after a long bout with pancreatic cancer, survived by his wife, Amelia, daughters Elisabeth Ann and Carolyn Rood, and son, David Gideon, Jr., who would graduate from the Yale his father loved so much.

David’s family wants us to know: “In the years since his passing his family has grown, with six wonderful grandchildren. Family was the most important thing in David’s life and the thing he was always most proud of. He always made sure that making time for them came first, shepherding them to soccer tournaments, summer beach excursions, wilderness adventures, and college trips.

Through much of his professional life, David served the Justice Center as its president, chairman of the board, and chairman emeritus, uncompensated, volunteering his time and expertise in service of the prospect of solving disputes through compromise and understanding rather than adversarial litigation. The Center continues to prosper, teaching mediation to thousands of Americans and people around the world from Korea to Western Europe.

David’s faith provided a strong spiritual underpinning of his life. At Atlanta’s Northwest Presbyterian Church, David was active as an elder and taught Sunday School, but even more important was the way faith underpinned his daily life. One of the scriptures most important to him was from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” The importance of resolving conflicts peacefully was one of the guiding principles of his life – and with three children, the importance of that wisdom was not left at the Justice Center.

One of David’s favorite passages came from T.S. Elliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time