Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at the age of 99 on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after suffering from a stroke.
The justice's long life included a stop to visit the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga back in 2008.
Tennessee Aquarium Director of External Affairs Thom Benson writes, "Many people have described him as a man of integrity, wisdom, kindness, and humility. Some have even remarked about his wonderful sense of humor. We experienced that sense of humor during, and after, his visit to the Tennessee Aquarium in May of 2008. (He was still serving on the Supreme Court at that time.)"
Benson continues, "Justice Stevens toured the Aquarium while he was in Chattanooga to address the 68th Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Afterwards, he remarked, “You are certainly entitled to be proud of such an excellent and successful enterprise.”
Benson says Justice Stevens enjoyed his visit so much he told the large crowd of judges and attorneys how impressed he was by the Aquarium and our Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins.
Later, in a personal letter to Charlie Arant, the Aquarium’s president and CEO at the time, Justice Stevens thanked everyone for the “enlightening tour of your fascinating aquarium.” Benson says he displayed his sense of humor by adding, “However, I trust that you won’t expect me to volunteer for shark monitoring duty.”