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Judge John M. McNatt Memorial Scholarship

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Judge John M. Mcnatt

Judge John Mathews McNatt was born in Toombs County, Georgia on September 3, 1907. He was the son of Hugh B. and Louise A. McNatt. He received his bachelor’s degree with high honors from Emory University in 1927 and his juris doctor with highest honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 1930. He was a member of Sigma Pi, Phi Delta Phi and Florida Blue Key.

After graduation from law school, Judge McNatt moved to Jacksonville, FL in 1930 and began the practice of law with the firm of Knight, Adair, Cooper & Osborne. He later became a partner and the firm changed to Adair, Kent, Ashby & McNatt. He served as a Naval Officer during World War II and retired as a Lieutenant Commander in 1946. In 1952, he formed the firm of McNatt & Mathews with John E. Mathews, Jr., who later became President of the Florida Senate. McNatt maintained an active trial practice for 29 years, which culminated in his admission as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyer.

On October 5, 1959, Judge McNatt was sworn in as a Circuit Court Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, in and for Duval County, FL and served as an active judge until he was required by law to retire at age 70 in 1978. He continued to serve as a retired judge, working on a daily basis, until his passing on August 23, 1989. He and his wife, Evelyn, had two children. Their son, John M. McNatt, Jr., earned a bachelor’s degree in law from UF in 1957.

The City Council of the City of Jacksonville adopted a resolution following his death which recites: “The Council hereby recognizes, honors and commends Judge John Mathews McNatt for the outstanding service he provided to the Jacksonville community for so many years and for the legend he left behind as a lawyer, judge, family man and citizen.” Judge McNatt’s portrait hangs in a courtroom in the Duval County Courthouse where he presided over hundreds of trials during his 30 year tenure on the Benc

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