Max Bahner Named 2013 Distinguished Service Award Winner

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Max Bahner
Max Bahner

The Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga has announced that the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding community leadership is T. Maxfield “Max” Bahner.

The award has been presented annually for 90 years and is given in recognition of an individual’s outstanding leadership and service to the community. The award will be presented to Mr. Bahner at a recognition luncheon to be held on Tuesday, January 28th.  DSA Committee Chairman, Brian Hunt said, “Max Bahner emboldens the spirit of community service in a humble and quiet manner, yet impactful beyond description.  He truly loves this community which is demonstrated through his wide-spread support”.

Mr. Bahner was born in Little Rock, Ar., received his B.S. degree from Carson Newman and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.


As a citizen of Chattanooga for over 50 years, Mr. Bahner has been outstanding in public service.  A graduate of Carson Newman College, he has been a trustee there for 40 years including serving five terms as its chair.  In 1984 he received the Carson Newman’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Additionally, our nominee has served as a board member of the University of Chattanooga Foundation and currently is a member of that body’s Executive Committee.

Instrumental in the early years of Orange Grove, the nominee has been a member of its Board of Directors for 30 years, including two terms as its chair.  The Orange Grove Center has, in fact, conferred upon him a “40 Years of Service” award.  A member of the Hamilton County School Board for five years, he also has served on the board of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and from 1985 to the present has held the positions of vice chairman and secretary of the BOTA Foundation Board of Trustees.

The Rotary Club has benefited from Mr. Bahner’s leadership, while serving as secretary, vice president, and then president in 2001-02.   

His other civic contributions include service on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation and of the United Way where he has chaired the Professional Division for that organization’s annual drive.

This year’s recipient has also enjoyed an illustrious career as an attorney in Chattanooga since 1960.  A Life Fellow of the American Bar Association, he is a founding and Life Fellow, as well as President, of the Chattanooga Bar Association.

Well known throughout the state, he has chaired the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors as well as the Task Force to Revise the Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct.  Mr. Bahner has also chaired the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Civil Rules in the 1980s and an Advisory Commission for the court which drafted the Tennessee Rules of Evidence.  He was an organizer of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, a group he subsequently served as president.

Mr. Bahner has been listed as one of the 101 Best Lawyers in Tennessee; additionally, his name also appears in the Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in American Law.  Among many prestigious awards he has received are the Ralph H. Kelley Humanitarian Award and the Harry Weill Zealous Practice of Law Award. In recent years he received the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement from the American Bar Association and the 2013 Bruce C. Bailey Volunteer Lawyer of the Year from the Legal Aid of East Tennessee. He has led with distinction the growth and recognition of his firm as one of the premier law firms in Tennessee.

This year’s Distinguished Service Award winner is married to Sara and they reside in Signal Mountain.  Both he had his wife parented four children and are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren.  


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