The body of a prominent Chattanooga attorney who jumped from the Market Street Bridge has been found 122 river miles away and 19 days later near Guntersville Dam in Alabama.
It was identified as that of George Edward Koontz, 66, of Chattanooga.
Authorities said several people saw a man jump from the bridge on Jan. 29. The family of attorney Koontz reported him missing that same night.
The fact that the body went all the way to Marshall County, Ala., was attributed to the raging condition of the Tennessee River in recent weeks.
The body was located near Snow Pond Road around 5 p.m. on Monday.
It was sent to the State Forensics lab for examination.
Carolyn Koontz, wife of attorney Koontz, said in a court affidavit before the body was found, "My last contact with George was on Jan. 29, 2020, at 6:58 p.m. At that time, I received a text from him. He purportedly had been at the Sports Barn. He never came home.
"After numerous efforts to reach George by telephone on the evening of Jan. 29, I contacted the Chattanooga Police Department and filed a missing persons report.
"The automobile which George drove that day was found on the evening of Jan. 29 in the Sports Barn parking lot on Market Street. George's wallet was under the driver's seat, and his wedding band was on the passenger seat.
"An investigation has been ongoing by the Chattanooga Police Department since the evening of Jan. 29. A white male jumped from the Market Street Bridge at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 29, but there has been no confirmation that the individual was George. There has been no contact from George since his last text to me, and his cellphone is apparently off or the battery is dead because it cannot be located through technical efforts ("pinging").
"George is the sole owner and attorney in Kennedy, Koontz & Klinger. Justin Woodward is "of counsel" with the firm, but has no ownership or authority to operate the firm."
The Ooltewah resident was a native of Knoxville. He grew up in Atlanta before moving to Chattanooga.
He attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he was house manager, treasurer, and vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity graduating in 1971 with honors with a B.A. degree in Political Science.
He then attended the University of Tennessee College of Law where he was elected to the Dean’s Advisory Committee and won the American Jurisprudence Award for the highest grade in his class for Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I and Constitutional Law II graduating 11th in his class.
In 1984 he co-founded the law firm of Kennedy, Fulton and Koontz which ultimately grew to 10 lawyers and today which is known as Kennedy, Koontz and Klingler Law Firm.
Attorney Koontz was active in amateur baseball throughout the Southeast for over 30 years helping over 320 Tennessee and Georgia baseball players obtain college scholarships. He was the majority owner of the Real Sports Academy in Ooltewah. He was a founding member of Grace Works Church.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carolyn Koontz; son, Dylan (Lacey) Paris; granddaughter, Bella Paris all of Ooltewah; mother, Mary Koontz, Chattanooga; sister-in-law, Pam Miller, Franklin, Tn.; nephew, Will (Jessica) Miller; great nephew and niece, Dylanger and Khalynn, all of Fairview, Tn., aunt, Lorraine George and uncle, Ralph Erickson.
The family will receive friends on Friday from 4-8 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road, and Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at Grace Works Church.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Grace Works Church, 6445 Lee Highway with Dr. Bill Owens, Ryan Vinson, and Jim McKoon officiating.
Honorary pallbearers will be David Mead, Ryan Vinson, Aaron Simmons, James Bowen, Hunter Oliver, Daniel Howard, Mark Hunter, Michael Langston and the staff of Kennedy, Koontz, and Klingler Law Firm.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Grace Works Church Building Fund, Grace Works Church, 6445 Lee Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37421 in Memory of George Koontz.
Attorney McKoon has been approved by Chancellor Pam Fleenor to wrap up the legal and business affairs of attorney Koontz.
He filed the application on Feb. 11 when the body was still missing.
Of the other partners in the firm of Kennedy, Koontz & Klingler, Richard C. Kennedy died in 2011 and Richard Klingler died last February.