Each Summer, we curate a group of men who embody what defines a southern gentleman. This year’s Gentlemen of Distinction features eleven such gentlemen, who exemplify integrity, leadership, character and unwavering dedication to this community. Each one has profoundly impacted Williamson County in ways big and small. But each, has left their mark. We are honored to share just a piece of their stories. We dedicate this issue to Brant Bousquet, a man of generosity and diligence, and Coach Gentry, the true legend of Williamson County. Here’s to the 2022 Gentlemen of Distinction.
Arts: Patrick Cassidy
Patrick Cassidy is the Artistic Director at Studio Tenn Theatre Company. This career opportunity, along with other factors, led the California native to make the cross-country move to Franklin in November of 2019 along with his wife, Melissa.
As an Artistic Director, Patrick is planning one season while producing another. His role includes hiring designers, directors, choreographers, musical directors and casting actors, as well as directing himself or even performing at times. Patrick was born into show business, spending most of his adult life working as an actor in film and television. However, he is known for his roles in musical theatre, specifically on Broadway. Patrick’s career has inspired him to share his many years in the theater with this community. “Theater gave me an outlet, passion and career that allowed me to travel the world, meet people of all nationalities and tell stories that have made and continue to make a difference in people’s lives,” he says. His goal is that our community will be able to experience professional theater at the highest level.
Patrick reveals that the people of Williamson County are what makes this community special. He admits: “Honestly, everyone in California told me how nice southerners were…the friends I have made here are better people than I have ever known.” Crazy enough, Patrick had never been to Tennessee before moving here. He says: “I drove my son out to Nashville after he had gotten a record and publishing deal. When I visited Franklin, I thought I would love to live here and my wife felt the same. A year later, we moved.” Patrick’s favorite pastime is being active with family and friends. Whether kayaking down the Harpeth River, going for walks or riding bikes, Patrick loves the south and learning Franklin’s history. When asked what it means to be a gentleman, Patrick replied: “Oh Gosh! It means that my mother did a good job. She taught me about integrity and character. She was a rock foundation of love and support. She instilled these qualities in me, which I guess makes me a gentleman!” What advice would Patrick share with younger men? “To be present and enjoy each day. Always see the glass half full. Perception will always lead to gratitude if you let it.”
Business: Carmine Grassi
Carmine Grassi is the owner of Ford Lincoln of Franklin and Infiniti of Cool Springs who employ more than 200 people in our community. “My businesses are operated the good ole fashion way: Family-owned and operated. I have a passion for leading a team. I teach, mentor and train by using my total of thirty-six years of experience in the automotive business,” he says. Carmine’s successful career began through a connection that brought him into the business, but he had a different start than most. Carmine reveals: “In the spirit of transparency, I left school in the 10th grade. I have always wanted to overcome the negative stigma that came with that.” Carmine found a niche in the automotive industry and worked tirelessly to become successful. He had little experience, other than at one time selling suits, but knew he could sell. He relied on his instincts with no formal training or education. Carmine says: “Now, being able to mentor and give guidance is one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have!”
Carmine’s passion for the automotive industry energizes him to be better, work harder and do more. “Each employee and customer inspire me. I feel most rewarded seeing the successes of my employees and satisfaction of my customers, and that continues to push me each day.” Carmine believes a gentleman is a transparent community ambassador and a role model to all. He has been married for twenty-six ‘wonderful’ years to his wife Jolane and has three daughters, Jessica, Alexis and Rachael. Together, they love spending time with their Bernedoodle puppy, Bruno, and three grandchildren, eating locally and appreciating Williamson County’s history. Carmine would like to remind his younger self and our readers to “continue to work hard and maintain the passion you have inside of you.”
Education: Jim Chapman
Jim Chapman is the Art Teacher and Head Varsity Swim Coach at Brentwood Academy (BA). Before his career at BA, Jim spent several years in country music as an artist with the group 4Runner, as a background singer with Loretta Lynn and as a studio background vocalist for many artists. In addition, he is a Dove award-winning songwriter and a professional artist specializing in painting and pottery. “Everything I do, whether coaching, teaching, singing or painting a wedding, I am mindful that I represent Jesus and the BA community.” Jim strives to weave all his worlds together and particularly notes that it is “a pleasure, joy and an honor to teach at BA,” just one of many places he has poured his talents and heart into.
Jim and his wife of thirty-six years, Yolanda, have eight kids. Their family began with four biological children: Jordan, Canaan, Bethany and Abigail. Then, after eight years, they adopted four more daughters from China: Isabelle, Lydia, Jayne and Fahlin, two of whom are walking miracles. Jim says: “I tell my wife all the time, and she still does not believe me, even after all these years…she inspires me to be better, to be the best husband, to stay in shape, to work hard to provide (thus the many irons in many fires), and to be the best dad.” The Chapman last name may ring a bell when learning that Jim’s sister, Mary Beth, is married to CCM recording artist and fellow Williamson County resident Steven Curtis Chapman, solidifying the overflowing talent in this family!
When asked what it means to be a gentleman, Jim jokes; “well, I still open doors for ladies, does that count?” But, he admits: “As I have gotten older, I think it is important to care about others and empathize with people who are all going through something. I am trying to be interested, not interesting.” Jim would like to remind others to “get where you are going sooner and live by the fruits of the spirit.”
Financial: Tim Pagliara
Tim Pagliara is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of CapWealth. Though Tim was not raised here, Williamson County has become home. Tim explains: “There is a sense of family in the community that other cities cannot claim. So, it is never surprising when Williamson County ranks as a top place to live.” In addition, he notes: “Local leadership has consistently preserved the culture and heritage as a historically significant town that embodies all the qualities that make it a great place to live and work.” Thus, it only made sense to create the CapWealth headquarters in Franklin.
Tim grew up in a middle-class family outside the “big city” of St. Louis. His upbringing ingrained the importance of a good education, and as he began to consider careers, one thing was evident– “lawyers ran the world.” This led to Tim becoming a Juris Doctorate candidate at the St. Louis University School of Law while also taking an entry-level position at a local Edward Jones financial firm. Tim explains: “As I juggled both school and work, I was assigned an account of a very well-known MLB Cardinals pitcher. As I began reviewing his portfolios, I uncovered discrepancies that even a seasoned advisor might have overlooked. This catch set me on a life-long path, where my Juris Doctorate became helpful to my career, but not in the courtroom.” Tim worked his way up through the firm and was charged with opening the first Edward Jones office in Nashville. In early 2000, after nearly twenty years of experience in the industry, he formed CapWealth. “Since opening our doors, we have successfully worked through the financial bubble, the housing market crash and a global pandemic,” he says. CapWealth has grown to sixteen employees and was recognized as a top advisory firm in the state and the country by Forbes and Barron’s.
Tim says that his most significant accomplishment is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro twelve times! “The accomplishment was not because of the hike but more because of the lesson it taught me...and the similarities of overcoming adversities in life,” he says. Tim explains that being a southern gentleman “is all about character, which derives from one’s values. I live by the same values in my business as I do in my personal life–integrity, transparency and generosity. A gentleman always aspires to be better and is aware of his blessings.”
Law: Ed Silva
Ed Silva is a Managing Member at Hartzog & Silva, PLLC and has been a practicing, licensed trial attorney since 1974. His primary role as a lawyer is to be an advisor and advocate, assisting clients in navigating the sometimes troubled waters of the legal system. Ed says, “I believe it is incumbent on me to mentor young attorneys to ensure our local bar members continue to exhibit and foster the high standard of ethics and professionalism.” Ed has served as past President of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County and Carnton Plantation. In addition, he was a Founding Director of the Downtown Franklin Association, Chairman of the downtown Franklin Streetscape project and was named Franklin’s Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club. Ed has been recognized by “Best Lawyers of America” and “Mid-South Super Lawyers,” each year since 2006 and was selected “Best Lawyer’s Nashville Area - Lawyer of the Year,” in Family Law in 2010, 2017 and 2020.
Ed’s inspiration to work harder and enjoy the fruits of that labor is a direct consequence of his early upbringing in a family with an unparalleled work ethic. “We were a middle-class, blue-collar family that fully appreciated and utterly enjoyed all we had, albeit a simple and basic lifestyle,” he says. If he could give his younger self advice, he would remind himself to “separate things within my control from those that are not and always give my best efforts no matter how simple or difficult the task.”
Ed has lived in Franklin since 1976. Ed and his wife, Suzanne, a published writer, have a daughter who is an Associate Law Professor and a son that is a filmmaker. Ed appreciates that Williamson County offers its residents a unique, suburban lifestyle in a community rich with history, beautiful landscapes, a highly rated public school system and effective local governance. Other than his work, Ed’s main interests are reading crime novels and sports. He played recreational polo for twenty-five years and still enjoys a round of golf, at least his “own version of the game,” and pond fishing with his son.
Medical: Andy Russell
Dr. Andy Russell is an Emergency Room Physician and the Chief Medical Officer at Williamson Medical Center (WMC). He has lived and worked in Williamson County since 2004, along with his wife of twenty-five years, Nancy, and their two daughters. Andy was born and raised in Memphis and attended Rhodes College, followed by medical school at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine and an Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Kentucky. Andy says: “My first shift in the Emergency Department (ED) at WMC began with a bang on July 4th, 2004.” He has worked in the ED since and has served as the Chief Medical Officer at WMC since 2019. “I became interested in hospital administration as my ED career progressed. While I love making a difference for the twenty or so patients I see every day or night shift, I also enjoy making a difference on a system-wide level, helping to oversee the quality care provided by the staff at WMC to our patients.”
When asked what a gentleman is, Andy replies: “Being a gentleman is all about treating people the way you want to be treated. Show respect and compassion to everyone. Listen more than you talk. Be a humble observer but be assertive when necessary. A firm handshake, a smile and a direct look in the eye are always important. Take care of yourself and your appearance– if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you be expected to take care of anyone else?” Andy is motivated to be better because he wants to be an example for his daughters by showing them that you can accomplish anything with sacrifice and hard work. He spends a lot of time on the soccer fields as both daughters have been avid soccer players with Tennessee Soccer Club. Andy also enjoys bike rides, time on the golf course, attending church at Franklin First United Methodist and long training runs – he has completed a marathon in all fifty states!
Philanthropist: Ralph Drury
Ralph Drury is the CEO of The Drury Group Insurance Company, a successful business that he started from the ground up, over forty-five years ago. “I have always been very proud to be a business owner in Williamson County and have worked very hard to establish a superb and honest partnership with our clients,” Ralph says. “Our business is built on hard work, and we feel that it is imperative to have local representation for our clients. We live here, play here and work here; we want to be known for our level of commitment,” says Ralph. Ralph has lived and worked in Williamson County since 1972, saying, “I am so happy that I knew the old Williamson County, the real movers and shakers, the characters, the hard-working people that made this county what it is today. I hope we slow down a bit and let Williamson County be the quaint little town it used to be.”
Ralph is an active community member through his philanthropic efforts. He tells how Mercy Children’s Clinic, now Mercy Community Healthcare Center, came to be. In 2000, Ralph was approached by Dr. Tim Henshel, who saw a need for health care for economically disadvantaged children in our community. Shortly after, A Vintage Affair, a wine charity event inspired by Ralph’s love for the California wine country, was founded, to fundraise for local women’s and children’s charities. Ralph’s family and community were always his inspiration to work harder, be better and do more. “At eighty-two and failing health, I am happy to just wake up in the morning,” he says. I am proud that YOUR Williamson even sees me as a Gentleman of Distinction. I must have done something right to be thought of in that way. Thank you.”
Ralph believes a gentleman is one who “treats others with respect, displaying values of hard work and leadership…committing to higher standards, lending a helping hand and taking responsibility for your actions.” His life advice is to “take care of your health, drink the good wine now, laugh more, apologize when you know you are wrong…do not hold grudges, volunteer…do not stress the small stuff.”
Civil Servant: Dustyn Stevens
Officer Dustyn Stevens has been a police officer with the Franklin Police Department for nearly four years. You may recognize his name from his recent heroic act of stopping a suspect and surviving being run over and dragged down Interstate 65 North. Dustyn reveals, “In my role as a police officer, I feel I contribute to keeping Franklin safe by providing professional police services with integrity, honor and courage. Also, I hold myself to high-performance standards, and I am dedicated to maintaining the trust of the community I serve.”
Dustyn reveals his greatest work accomplishment was Chief Faulkner hiring him to work as a Franklin Police Officer. Dustyn notes that his most significant accomplishment in life, was marrying his best friend and “the most wonderful person he knows,” his wife, Holly. They live in Franklin with their chocolate lab, Coco and enjoy kayaking, fishing and hiking in Williamson County.
Before having the honor of being a police officer, Dustyn coached baseball at Battle Ground Academy. Dustyn finds inspiration to be a better person and servant through his convictions as a Christian, husband and leader in the community. When asked what a gentleman is, Dustyn replied: “It’s staying true to your values, upholding your dignity and the dignity of those around you and respecting others.” He would like to remind our readers to “stay focused on your faith and be true to yourself and your friends.”
Real Estate: Danny Anderson
Danny Roy Anderson has been in real estate for thirty-nine years, ten of which have been with Parks Real Estate Company. Until two months ago, he was Managing Broker of Parks Franklin, a job Danny truly loved. “But, as I started reflecting on my life, my age and wanting to spend more time with family and friends, I decided that I needed to step down from the Managing Broker position,” he says. “I decided to just focus on listing and selling properties with my son Reid and it was the right decision.” If Danny could give any advice, it would be “to jump on the wagon and run with it. Do not be afraid to get involved. Your ideas and visions are important to the future of our county. Be yourself but respect others, as we do not all have the same opinion.”
Danny has earned many professional accomplishments – such as that of former President of the Williamson County Board of Realtors, President of the Heritage Foundation, President of the Historic Carnton Board, Studio Tenn Board, Development Services Advisory Board for City of Franklin, Police Academy, a Heritage Foundation Patron’s Award recipient and most recently, he was appointed to the Williamson County Industrial Board. However, he says: “The thing I am most proud of is being a husband to Teresa, father to Reid and father in-law to Cameron.” Danny and Teresa moved to Franklin forty-seven years ago for the position of Public Relations Director at the former Carter’s Court shopping center, working with the wonderful Calvin and Marilyn Lehew. “That period of my life was one of my favorites, he says. “Calvin and Marilyn are still dear friends and mentors.” Shortly after, the Anderson’s opened The Bunganut Pig Restaurant with one of Danny’s best friends, Ed Silva, and eventually opened D-Roy’s Gift Shop on 4th Avenue.
When asked what it means to be a gentleman, Danny says: “Well, my mother made sure I acted like a gentleman, and if I did not, I would hear about it in words or sometimes in action. I am old-fashioned, but being a gentleman is being courteous, polite, having good manners, treating people with respect, and, this is really old-fashioned, dressing well. Being a Gentleman is earned, not a thing that is given.”
Non Profit: Brant Bousquet
Brant Bousquet was a Franklin resident and a well-known advocate for affordable housing and racial reconciliation in the community. With over thirty years of experience in fundraising development, Brant began his life of service with Vanderbilt’s Campus Crusade for Christ’s ministry. Through that endeavor, he met Scott Roley, a pastor at Christ Community Church, who had the same passion for protecting the rights of the impoverished. Brant joined the Mount Hope Hard Bargain Association that Scott and the late Denny Denson developed to educate and advocate for those living in the historic Black community. Next, Brant transitioned into the Director of Development at Mercy Children’s Clinic (MCC), now Mercy Community Healthcare. His colleagues noted that Brant’s strong fundraising program was the foundation for what MCC has become. Most recently, Brant was the Capital Campaign Officer at Battle Ground Academy – his son’s alma mater.
Brant’s wife Virginia writes: “He was an unusual blend of a people-person and an effective task-person. He was an advocate, a champion and a tireless worker for the causes that mattered to him–Franklin and beyond. He often canvassed door-to-door for political candidates he believed in. He had a gift for writing letters of recommendation, and he was much sought-after in that capacity.” She goes on to tell how Brant embraced the human condition; “the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, the imperfections and the incredible potential in every person.” Virginia says: “Brant was a southern gentleman, and he loved to dress like one– seersucker and all. He was polite, looked people in the eyes and cared for others. The advice Brant would give is to look at who or what is in front of you and do something positive. Reach out and work for the greater good. Do not live in a bubble. Find the local places and not just give money but give your time, presence, energy and your gifts – it is worth it.”
“Brant loved to dance, sing, make wry comments, joke, pray, discuss, read, talk to a friend or, for that matter, a person he just met. He loved to nap on Sundays and walk around his neighborhood. He loved getting smoothies from the Juice Bar and eating breakfast at McCreary’s Pub with his friends. He read the newspaper’s print version every day,” Virginia writes.
Brant was a great friend, wonderful husband, compassionate dad and fierce Christ-follower who is missed by many people in Williamson County and worldwide. Brant passed away at fifty-six this past March of 2022, leaving behind a legacy of service and humanity on Williamson County.
Legend: Jimmy Gentry
In Honor of Coach Gentry’s recent passing, we rerun our 2021 profile of this truly great example of a southern gentleman.
Jimmy Gentry was a soldier, teacher and coach who lived in Franklin his entire life. Born in 1925, he was one of eight children that grew up in a working-class family during the depression. After high school graduation, he left for the European Theatre of World War II and he returned home a changed man. He was awarded two bronze stars for his actions during the invasion of Germany and was among the first Allied troops to enter Dachau, the infamous Nazi death camp. You can read more about his time in the war and his transition back into home life in his book An American Life. Shortly after his return, Jimmy married his high school sweetheart, Rebecca Channell, and they had three sons. The family lived in downtown Franklin initially, then on Murfreesboro Road and eventually moved to Rebecca’s family farm in the mid-1970s. Jimmy lived on the farm until his passing with both of his sons and their wives. He had five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Jimmy decided to further his education at Tennessee Tech University but he later transferred to Peabody College to be able to coach football at his alma mater Franklin High School because he “thought that sounded like something I would like to do.” He continued coaching into his eighties. While in college, he majored in education, and one of his most significant accomplishments was shaping and molding students in Williamson County to become contributing citizens. Jimmy has mentored and challenged local young men and women throughout his career as a teacher and coach. Many of his students have gone on to prominent positions locally and nationally. He has always been a hard worker and has always advocated for others to do the same. The thing that inspired Jimmy to work harder, be better and do more was at the age of twelve when he lost his father and had to start providing for the children who were left at home. He helped contribute to the family through hunting, fishing and trapping with his brothers. If he could give any advice to his younger self, he says: “I might suggest that he consider those who have been through a lot of life before him. That they know things he does not and to always listen well to your elders. I’d say to always consider your physical body as something God gave you and to take care of. I took care of myself by not smoking or drinking, while everyone else around me was. I have tried to eat well, go to bed early and keep a positive outlook on life. I would also say to always keep looking around you. Everything you see in nature and people was created by God. He made it all and He deserves the credit.”
When asked what makes Williamson County special to him, he responded: “Well, that is hard to answer because there is so much special about Williamson County. Just look around at the terrain and all the hills and valleys. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, besides Austria. Another thing is that we are so close to the big city of Nashville for commerce, and yet still out here in the country. Also, all of the history here is very interesting. Lastly, the people of Williamson County have traditionally been very warm, Christian, friendly people.”
Here at YW, we cannot forget the reason Jimmy is on this list once again. When Coach Gentry was asked what he thinks it means to be a gentleman he responded: “Well, being a gentleman, you have the feeling that you are not just a human being, you are a gentleman. I think mostly it means having respect for those around you. You can talk to someone for just a few minutes and know if they are a gentleman, by the words they use and how they present themselves. Please, thank you, sir and ma’am lets you know they were raised right and to be respectful of others. Opening the door for women? Well, you should not even have to think about that. All these things are a part of being a gentleman.”