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John Moore McCarty
John Moore McCarty
John Moore McCarty was a charismatic leader at the University of Florida long before his days as a law student. As a UF undergraduate, McCarty was selected by the UF administration as one of ten outstanding freshman in 1934, served on the Executive Committee of Student Government in 1935, was inducted into Florida Blue Key in 1936, and served as secretary-treasurer of the student body in 1937. McCarty was also a three-time letterman, playing on the varsity football and basketball teams, and serving as manager of the baseball team. He also participated in Advanced Military Training (the precursor to current ROTC), achieving the rank of major in his senior year, as well as serving as president of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon.
After graduating from UF in 1937 with an Arts & Sciences degree, McCarty continued his tradition of leadership while attending UF’s law school, where he served as Homecoming chairman in 1939 and was elected student body president in 1941. A life long Episcopalian, McCarty served five years on the vestry of the Chapel of the Incarnation and was selected by the Bishop as student pastor in 1941. He also found time to serve as a member of the John Marshall Debating Society and the intra-mural athletic board, as well as to represent UF on the Executive Committee of the National Student Federation. McCarty graduated from law school in 1941 and immediately went into private practice with Liddon & Fee in his home town of Ft. Pierce, Florida, focusing on general civil practice.
His civil practice duties were cut short when he was called to active combat duty in the Army during World War II, where he served in the Pacific theater of operations, earning the Bronze Star while commanding the 292nd Joint Assault Company of the 77th Infantry Division, and taking part in the amphibious landings on Guam, the Phillipines, and Okinawa, as well as the original occupation of Japan.
Upon returning from the war in 1945, he established his own law practice and began to put his maturity and leadership skills to work to pave the way for a truly exceptional career.
In 1948 and 1952, he served as campaign manager and chief of staff to his brother, Florida Gov. Dan McCarty, which enabled him in 1953 to play a key role as part of a small group that lobbied for and implemented the legislation to establish the College of Medicine at UF.
In 1957, McCarty was appointed judge of the 9th Judicial District, and served as a circuit judge until his resignation in 1959, whereupon he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Governor in 1960.
He was elected to the Florida Senate in 1962 and re-elected in 1966. McCarty also was a member of the influential 1968 Constitution Revision Commission, which allowed him to participate in the last major changes to Florida’s Constitution, which established the state’s modern-day judicial system.
McCarty served on the first Supreme Court Nominating Commission along with past Heritage of Leadership inductees Dixie Beggs (2003) and John Wigginton (2006). He also served on the American Bar Association House of Delegates, the Florida Bar Board of Governors, and as a director of the American Judicature Society. He was elected and served as president of the Florida Bar in 1971-1972.
McCarty’s contributions to the university he revered were even more evident when he served as chair of the UF College of Law’s first capital campaign in the early 80s, which led to the construction of Bruton-Geer Hall at the law school. He also was a founding member of the University of Florida Foundation and Law Center Association, receiving the Trustees’ Award in 1981, and served as a member of the UF President’s Council and Gator Boosters. He has been named to both the Florida Blue Key Hall of Fame and to UF’s Hall of Fame, and was designated a Distinguished Alumni in 1973.
In addition to his legal career, McCarty maintained business interests in citrus groves and cattle ranching in Ft. Pierce. His community involvement included serving on the Board of Directors for Florida Power and Light Company, the Port St. Lucie Bank, the Ft. Pierce Memorial Hospital and as a state director of the Orange Bowl. In addition, he was a Senior Warden and Sunday school superintendent at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, president of Rotary, and an active member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, all in Fort Pierce.
McCarty is survived by his daughter Margaret M. Monahan, her husband Michael O. Monahan, and their two children, Lillian L. Boudrias (UF JD anticipated Spring 2008) and Chester J. Boudrias; his son, Thomas C. McCarty (JD 82), his wife Anne W. McCarty, and their three children, John T. McCarty, Merrill E. McCarty and Anne M. McCarty; two granddaughters, Michelle M. Iverson and Lee Anne M. Hilsman, the daughters of son John M. McCarty, Jr, who passed away in 1995. McCarty was predeceased by his wife, Louise Fosgate McCarty, in 1979.