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B. Campbell Thornal

(1908-1970)

B. Campbell Thornal

“Counselor, advocate, civic leader, aide to governors and other leaders, a leader in the (Florida) Bar, state Supreme Court Chief Justice. A compulsion to serve, to construct, to improve, to make things work as they were intended,” wrote University of Florida President Stephen O’Connell on Thornal’s death. “One of the brightest, soundest and most productive minds ever to be reflected from the counsel table or across the bench in any court…a rare uncommon man with a warm, generous heart…inspirational self-discipline, innate sense of justice, strict obedience to highest standards of morals, ethics and performance.” Honored by his profession, civic groups, his state, his university and his church, Thornal – according to O’Connell – “would have most cherished the great number of individuals who in his life and his passing regarded him as their friend.”

Born 1908, in Charleston, S.C. Married Alyce Letton, and they had two children: Alyce Thornal (Wyatt) Hatch, and Benjamin Campbell Thornal III. Survived by two children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

College Education / Achievements

  • J.D. University of Florida, 1930. Blue Key, Florida Alligator, Student Body Executive Council, Varsity Debate Team, John Marshall Law Club, Phi Delta Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Psi, Tau Kappa Alpha
  • University of Florida College of Law establishes Campbell Thornal Moot Court Competition Team in his honor. (Justice Thornal retained close ties with team throughout his career, coaching and judging participants, and became mentor to many students.)
  • Awarded Honorary Membership, Florida Chapter, Order of the Coif

Legal Experience

  • Practiced law in Orlando as partner in firm of Baker & Thorna
  • Orlando City Attorney, 1938-41, 1946-49, 1952-55; played major role in helping manage rapid growth and other key issues facing Orlando during three decades
  • Orange County, FL, Attorney, 1941-43
  • Justice, Florida Supreme Court, 1955-70; Chief Justice, 1965-67

Non-Legal Achievements

  • World War II, Navy, Lieutenant
  • Legislative Aide to Governors Dan McCarty (1953), Spessard Holland (1943)
  • Legislative Counselor, Florida Power Corporation

Associations / Organizations / Honors

  • President, Orlando Community Chest (United Way)
  • General Board of Missions of Methodist Church and Florida Conference Board of Lay Activities
  • First Chairman, Florida Turnpike Authority
  • Member, Florida State Road Board
  • Presented Distinguished Citizen Award by Stetson University College of Law for “professional achievements and devotion to public service”
  • Presented Distinguished Service Award, Jacksonville University
  • Board of Directors, University of Florida Foundation
  • Trustee, University of Florida Law Center Association
  • Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Florida Southern College
  • Achievement Award, American Trial Lawyers Association
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