On Monday, October 24, 2022, Alton G. Pitts, loving husband and father of three children, passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home having consumed a last meal of his favorite chocolate ice cream, just 20 days shy of his 96th birthday. On November 13, 1926 Alton was born to Henry C. and Mamie Powell Pitts, two school teachers who had met at North Florida Teacher's College in Madison, Florida. Alton had three brothers, Henry C., Louis Martel, and Robert Allen, and two sisters, Mary Sue and Margy. On June 30, 1951, he married Helen Clever and they had three sons, Conrad, Neal, and Jeff. Alton is survived by his wife, Thelma Owen, three sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
In 1930, Alton's family moved to Live Oak, Florida where they took up farming. In 1935, the family moved again to a farm in Santa Rosa County, Florida. After graduating high school from Munson Consolidated Agriculture School in Santa Rosa County, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944, and after having contracted a disabling illness, he was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned home to Santa Rosa County, Florida. After two years of recovering from his illness, he then enrolled at the University Of Florida, under a special VA program for veterans with service connected disabilities, and completed the necessary undergraduate schooling which allowed him to enroll in its law school. Alton obtained a law degree in February, 1951. In those days, a graduate of one of the three law schools in Florida, UF, Miami, and Stetson, was not required to sit for a bar examination but could begin practicing law with only a law degree.
Alton began his career in 1951 as an adjuster for Crawford & Company in its Atlanta and then Brunswick, Georgia office. In March, 1953, he took a pay cut and moved to Orlando to become an associate attorney with the Maguire, Voorhis & Wells law firm where he trained as a civil trial lawyer. He became a partner in 1957 and in 1968 he left to found the law firm of Pitts, Eubanks & Ross. Ultimately, his practice of civil trial law spanned almost six decades retiring from the law practice at age 85.
Alton passion for the law, especially trial work, was equaled by few of his peers. Alton's courtroom skills were legendary as was his insistence upon professionalism, candor, cordiality, and a spirit of mutual respect. He was a teacher, mentor, confidant, encourager, and friend to many trial lawyers over the years. Alton's professional accolades were numerous but the one of which he was most proud was as a fellow in the American College Of Trial Lawyers. He remained active in this organization up until shortly before he passed away.
Alton was a true renaissance scholar and thinker, whose interests ranged from archeology, art, history, music, philosophy, politics, religion, and business. The books in his library on all of these subjects and many others number in the hundreds with more arriving daily. Alton could converse intelligently on most any subject. His memory of dates, people, and random events was astonishing. He will be remembered for a life well lived for those who were blessed to know and work with him. Many called him friend, mentor, or Mr. Pitts, but to us, we called him "Dad."