William Dent Acree, 85, of Atlanta, Georgia met with a gentle death on March 26, 2022 with his wife and children at his side. Dent was born on April 14, 1936 in Knox City, Texas to William Allen Acree and Addie Mae Cozart. As a cherished only child, he moved with his family to Cedartown, Georgia at the age of six. After some infamous soap box derby races, Dent embraced all sports and academics. In 1952, he battled Polio and subsequently spent many days traveling for treatment during his teenage years.
In 1954, after graduating from high school, Dent ventured to Davidson College where he pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon and excelled in Varsity Wrestling. After his Sophomore year Dent could no longer ignore the call of Athens. As a part of the University of Georgia family he spent a semester at the University of Mexico, earned his bachelor’s in History and ultimately his Juris Doctor degree in 1960. Along with graduating a full year early and being President of his Senior Law class, Dent thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of college life. In conjunction with cheering on his beloved Bulldogs, he was known far and wide as an exuberant member of SAE and Phi Delta Phi fraternities.
Not long after graduation, Dent smartly made Jennie Lee his bride. He completed six years of service with the Air National Guard of the U.S. Air Force. The story goes that he used his charm to negotiate free legal advice in exchange for bed making services. Simultaneously, Dent had begun a compelling General and Civil litigation career while being admitted to practice before the Georgia and US Supreme Courts. For twenty years, Dent was a forcible partner at Hansell, Post, Brandon & Dorsey before establishing a private practice. In 2020, he became an Emeritus member of the Georgia Bar after an impressive 60 years.
Dent can unquestionably be described as a lover of people. He never failed to deliver a bright smile and bad joke at every greeting. As a man whose mind rarely rested, Dent strove to understand and enjoy all aspects of life. He applied for and bought Master’s tickets as a college student, ran in Peachtree Road races, read voraciously, won annual tennis tournaments at the Piedmont Driving Club, founded social clubs, ushered for St. Anne’s, debated politics, traveled and danced with every girl in the room. Although he could not be in the stadium, Dent got the greatest gift of seeing his Georgia Bulldogs football team defeat Alabama and become the 2021 National Champions.
We cannot reflect on Dent’s legacy without mentioning his lifelong affection of all things Western, especially movies.
Likely due to his Texas roots, Dent watched the gunslinger turned heroic sheriff and had memorized many tales of love, loss and redemption. At the conclusion this dashing leading man, with a quick wit, got the girl – but this is not the end.
The children, grandchildren and friends he adored will continue his story.
Dent is survived by his remarkable wife of 60 years, Jennie Lee Lehmann Acree; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Lehmann Jones of Baltimore, MD; his children, William Allen Acree II, Elizabeth Selden Acree, both of Atlanta, GA and Eugenia Arinton Acree Hachenberg, husband Blair Allen Hachenberg and his grandchildren, Brooke, Barrett and Julia Hachenberg of Marietta, GA.
Services will be held on Tuesday, April 5th, 2022 at 4:00 PM at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church at 3098 St Anne’s Lane NW, Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Anne’s Church Parish or Education fund. www.saintannes.com
Published by Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 4, 2022.