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Known for his keen interest in state and national legal reform, Beggs was a strong leader in his community. He was instrumental in early initiatives of the Florida Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Beggs sponsored and drafted acts that authorized continuous revision of Florida statutes by the state’s Attorney General. Perhaps his most important contribution to citizens and governmental officials of Florida was his effort starting in 1939 to codify the state laws. Prior to that, the Legislature passed accumulated and amended laws without any attempt to harmonize them as Statutes in Force throughout the state. Beggs efforts led to the annual codification of laws now known as the Florida Statutes – an essential and important tool in today’s society.
Born 1908 in Pensacola. Married Sara Strickland, who died in childbirth. He and his second wife, Margaret Ridley, had two children – Caroline Beggs Newell and E. Dixie Beggs III – before she died of cancer. His third wife, Leonora Risher, brought two children to the marriage – Carol Brouha and Ann Phillips. He is survived by Leonora and all four of the children.
College Education / Achievements
- B.A., J.D. University of Florida, 1931 (after initial study at University of North Carolina)
- President, 1930-31, Student Body, as undergraduate.
- Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, Omega Delta Kappa, Blue Key
- Winner, 1928, Albert W. Gilchrist Scholarship
- Designated Distinguished Alumnus, University of Florida, 1963
- Practiced law with father (Beggs & Beggs) 1931-37; then with Yonge Beggs & Carter (now Beggs & Lane, Pensacola), 1937-76
- He and father had rare distinction of both being licensed and practicing separate cases before U.S. Supreme Court.
- State Attorney, 1933-41 (covering same territory Beggs Sr. covered as Circuit Court Judge).
- Began movement, 1939, to codify state laws of Florida
- Initiated revisions, review of Florida judicial procedures
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit (now 11th Circuit) Advisory Committee
- American Bar Standards of Judicial Conduct Committee, 1969-73
- Served in World War II, including coordination of Allied battle plans in Italy. Attained rank of Lieutenant Colonel. For exceptional courage and meritorious service, awarded Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, French Croix de Guerre, Czechoslovakian Medal for Merit, Crown of Italy Merit, Order of the British Empire
Associations / Organizations / Honors
- President, Florida Bar, 1947-48
- Board of Governors, American Bar Association, 1958-61. One of first two ABA delegates to newly formed International Bar Association.
- Director, First Bank and Trust Co., 1933-69
- Director, Barnett Banks of Florida, Inc. (27 years); Barnett Bank of West Florida (60 years)
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Founding organizer, first Vice President, second President, Pensacola Baptist Hospital. Office facility named in his honor.
- First Chairman, Florida Supreme Court Nominating Committee, 1972-76
- Charter Member, Florida Judicial Council, 1953-59
- Lifetime member, Deacon Emeritus (third generation), First Baptist Church of Pensacola.