JOHN T. WILLIAMS

90 Candles for the Grand Old Party's Grand Old Man

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John T. Williams, who claims numerous friendships across party lines, got birthday greetings Friday night from (left) Sandy Rout (wife of Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout and Cyndi Bryant, wife of 7th District U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant.

Among those paying tribute at a packed birthday celebration at the Routs' home was Governor Don Sundquist, who quipped, "This is easier than passing tax reform!."

President Bush sent greetings, as did U.S. Senators Fred Thompson and Bill Frist.

Williams, who once ran for Congress unsuccessfully against Ray Blanton (later governor of Tennessee and still later an indicted felon), likes to remind people that he was an early suitor of Pauline LaFon, who later became the wife of Albert Gore Sr. and still later the mother of former Vice President Al Gore.

-- JACKSON BAKER

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