James Elliott Alderman

 United States

  • Date Of Birth: November 1, 1936
  • Date Of Death: June 10, 2021
  • City: Fort Pierce
  • State: Florida

James E. Alderman, of Okeechobee, FL, passed away June 10, 2021, in Vero Beach, FL.

Born in Fort Pierce, FL on November 1, 1936, to B. E. Alderman, Jr. and Francis Allen Alderman, Jim was a man who lived a life with many different stories; husband, father, grandfather, lawyer, judge, and cowman.

Jim grew up in Fort Pierce where he was exposed to the family cattle ranch from an early age and graduated from Dan McCarty High School in 1954 before he set off for the University of Florida where he received his B.A. in 1958 and LLB in 1961. While he was in Gainesville, Jim was introduced to Jennie Thompson, later Alderman, who he would marry in 1961 shortly after graduating with his law degree.

After graduating from law school Jim returned home to Fort Pierce where he began to practice law as an attorney, and in 1963 Jim and Jennie would welcome their only child, James A. “Jimmy” Alderman. A successful law practice would eventually turn into a career as a judge that saw Jim rise through all levels of courts in Florida, the first to do so, and also earned him the loving nickname “the Judge.”

Appointed to the Saint Lucie County Court in 1971 by Governor Reuben Askew, he quickly moved up to the 19th Circuit Court after winning an election in 1972. He remained there for four years before Governor Askew again called on him in 1976 to fill a seat on the bench, this time the 4th District Court of Appeal, and lastly in 1978 a seat as a justice on the Florida Supreme Court.

Jim served on the Supreme Court from 1978 to 1985, two years of which were spent as the Chief Justice, before retiring to return to Okeechobee and the ranch upon the illness of his father.

Though he left behind his career in the law, this was hardly a retirement as Jim took over the Okeechobee ranch and became fully involved in the cattle industry. He was heavily involved in the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, even serving as its president from 2001 to 2002. Jim loved the ranch, and even as he began to step back and allow Jimmy to take over, he could still be found driving his truck out on the ranch.

Jim was predeceased by his wife Jennie and is survived by his son Jimmy and his wife Lee Ann, his grandchildren James Austin and Amber Leigh, his wife Patricia, his sister and brother-in-law Joyce and Ray Deloney and their family, along with the many friends he made in all aspects of his life.