Sherwood Willing Wise, 92, a founder of St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School and of the Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA law firm that bears his name, died at his home on Eastover Drive on October 15, following illness. A visitation will be held at St. Francis Hall of St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral on Thursday, October 17, from 5-7 p.m., and on Friday, October 18 from 12:30-1:45 p.m. Mr. Wise's funeral service will be held at St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral on Friday, October 18, at 2 p.m.
Mr. Wise is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Tay) Powell Wise, and by five children, Elizabeth Wise Copeland of Jackson, Sherwood W. Wise, Jr. of Tallahassee, Florida, Joseph P. Wise of Jackson, Louise Wise Hardy of Washington, D.C., her twin, Robert P. Wise of Jackson, their spouses and 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Sherwood Wise, a fifth generation Mississippian, was born August 13, 1910, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Following high school in Hazlehurst, Mr. Wise entered Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in 1928 where he earned both B.A. (1932) and law degrees (1934). Mr. Wise distinguished himself as a leader in university life at W&L, becoming president of the student body, a member of the ODK honor society, and a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Washington and Lee honored Mr. Wise in 1983 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and again in 1997 by conferring on him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. On the conferring of the honorary degree, the W&L Law School Dean, Barry Sullivan, said of Mr. Wise: "By his courage, professionalism, his faith, and his contribution of self to his community and this university, Sherwood Wise exemplifies the model lawyer."
Mr. Wise began his over fifty year legal career in 1934 in Jackson, with the firm of Wells Wells and Lipscomb. Mr. Wise interrupted his law practice for the four years of World War II to serve as a Lieutenant Commander in Intelligence for the Navy in New Orleans (1942-46). Following the war, Mr. Wise organized a merger of law firms that practices today as Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA. In addition to leading Wise Carter Child & Caraway, PA, to prominence prior to his retirement as Chairman in 1975, and to his continued active practice with the firm through 1985, Mr. Wise was a past president of both the Mississippi Bar (1961-62) and of the Hinds County Bar (1958-59) associations. Mr. Wise, as a member of his firm, served as the General Counsel of Mississippi Power and Light Company for nineteen years (1961-80), and was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
As a lawyer, Mr. Wise contributed to the causes of racial justice and reconciliation in Mississippi. President John Kennedy invited Mr. Wise to the White House in June 1963 to participate in a Lawyer's Conference of Civil Rights and Racial Unrest. Shortly thereafter the president of the American Bar Association asked Mr. Wise to serve on the ABA Committee on Civil Rights and Racial Unrest. Mr. Wise also had the task of reviewing nominees for the Federal bench as a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (1969-75), and was a Mississippi Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates (1981-87).
Following Mr. Wise's return to Jackson with his family after World War II, he found that the Jackson schools had become overcrowded as a result of the doubling in size of the city during the war years. Mr. Wise envisioned the immediate need for a church school, working in 1947 to found St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School. Mr. Wise, a member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral, stressed the importance of the school's church affiliation as the foundation of the school's search for excellence and diversity, later writing: "The Cathedral furnishes the school a solid base for continuity and stability in Christian values which are ecumenical in the highest and best sense of the term." Mr. Wise went on to serve as a Trustee of St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School for nearly thirty years (1947-72 and 1978-82).
Mr. Wise served St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi in nearly every capacity possible for a layman. At the Cathedral Mr. Wise served as a Senior Warden of the Vestry in the early 1960's, emphasizing in his tenure the openness of the church and of its church school to all regardless of race at a time of rising racial tension in Mississippi. Mr. Wise was a Eucharistic Lay Reader at the Cathedral into the mid-1990's, was a former scoutmaster of Troup 1, and a former Sunday school teacher. Mr. Wise was a Trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi for thirty years (1958-1988), a member of the Diocean Executive Committee (1941), a member of the Committee on Ecumenical Relations (1967-73), and was a delegate to six General Conventions of the Episcopal Church (1952, '64, '67, '69, '70 and '79). Mr. Wise also helped found St. Mark's Episcopal Educational Day Care Center in west Jackson (1967).
Mr. Wise's contributions to the Jackson community include his co-founding the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (1944), serving as president of the Jackson Community Chest (1950), and past service as a director of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and of the Jackson Rotary Club.
Mr. Wise authored four books describing his church, the church school, family and law firm: St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School: A Case for Continuity and Stability in Christian Values (1983); The Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, A Sesquicentennial History 1839-1989; Wise Carter Child & Caraway: One Mississippi Law Firm, 1883-1986; and The Way I See It (1996).
Mr. Wise was an avid duck hunter, serving as past president of the Fighting Bayou and later the Holmes County duck clubs, as Mississippi Chairman of Ducks Unlimited for a decade (1961-1971), and was a sailor, serving as a past governor of the Jackson Yacht Club. Mr. Wise also had an abiding interest in history, and was a Trustee of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for over thirty years (1964-98).
Mr. Wise was a member of the Somerset Chapter of the Magna Carta Barons, National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Order of the First Families of Mississippi 1699-1817, the Society of the War of 1812, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, The Colonial Society of Americans of Royal Descent, and of the Newcomen Society of the United States.
As his family has noted, Sherwood Wise's life was a full life of service to his family, the legal profession, St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral, the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, and to St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School.
Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to either St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral or to St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School.
-- Clarion Ledger October 16, 2002