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W.O. Birchfield Jr.

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W.O. Birchfield Jr. Obituary
BIRCHFIELD W.O. Birchfield, Jr. died February 5, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was born in Mayo, Florida, and was the son of W.O. and Mary Eva Birchfield. He is survived by his wife, Dana Ferrell Birchfield; four children by his first wife, Anne Layton Birchfield: Mary Anne Helton (husband Joe, grandchildren Jay and Sarah), Meg (spouse Ann Ford Upshaw), Bill (wife Robin, grandchildren Audrey Kate, Hayden, Ava, and Nathan) and Frank; and three brothers, Ben, Hal and Jim. He received a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture in 1958 from the University of Florida. After serving in the Navy he earned his law degree in 1963 also from the University of Florida. At Florida, he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, Florida Blue Key, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Delta Phi, and was named to the Hall of Fame. He was designated an Outstanding Alumnus in 1989. After being admitted to the Florida Bar in 1964, he practiced law in Jacksonville from January 1964 until his death. He began his practice with Milam, LeMaistre, Ramsay and Martin and its successors until June 1974, when he helped form the firm Martin, Ade, Birchfield and Johnson. He remained until 2000, when he left with a group of partners to join McGuire Woods. He later joined Lewis Longman and Walker. In 2004, he and partner Bruce Humphrey formed Birchfield and Humphrey. In addition to the Florida Bar, he was a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association. He was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the District of Columbia District Court, the Middle and Northern District of the United States District Court. He served as a board member of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. W.O. was well known for his sound professional judgment grounded in pragmatic reality. He used a near legendary, finely honed sense of humor with pointedly relevant political witticisms to find solutions to seemingly intractable political and legal problems. He was a member of the Local Government Study Committee which recommended the consolidation of the various units of Jacksonville government. He served two terms as a member of the Florida House of Representatives where he was chairman of the Insurance Committee. He also served on the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission. He served as a member and chairman of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and the Jacksonville Port Authority. Although unsuccessful, he had the foresight to lead an effort to adopt an additional sales tax in support of port development. He brokered the deal for the successful funding, design and construction of the Dames Point Bridge, negotiating tirelessly with the multitude of federal, state and local agencies and elected officials. He was president of the River Club, the Meninak Club, the Jacksonville Fair Association, the Child Guidance Center, Leadership Jacksonville, Jacksonville Community Council, WJCT, and Jacksonville Hospital Education Program. He was cremated and his ashes will be spread on the Suwannee River near Mayo. There will be no service. Please consider a contribution to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in honor of the practice of law (www.jaxlegalaid.org).
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Feb. 9, 2016
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