James E Cobb

James E Cobb

James Edgar Cobb,  Jacksonville, Florida died on December 31, 2018. Born in Quitman, Georgia and raised in Jacksonville, he was a graduate of Lee High school (1948) and the University of Florida (1952).  He was a Blue Key member, past president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Fraternity and a Gator to the core.  He also swam at UF as a walk on to the varsity swim team.

After serving in the Air Force, from 1952 to 1954, he spent several months in New York as a tour guide for NBC studios. There, on a blind date, he met the love of his life and wife of 64 years, Virginia Wenz Cobb. After getting married, he returned to Gainesville and graduated from the University of Florida Law School in 1958.  It was here that his long, successful legal career began.

Jim began as an associate with the Bedell firm and shortly thereafter moved to practice with the law firm of Mathews, Osborne and Ehrlich. In 1966, he became a named partner in Mathews, Osborne, Ehrlich, McNatt, Gobleman and Cobb and he practiced with this firm for 27 years, trying over 300 jury trials. In 1991, he became a founding partner of Peek, Cobb, Edwards and Ragatz until he retired.

A leader in the legal field for over 60 years, he was past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, a former member of the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors’, and former President of the National Association of the Railroad Trial Counsel.  He helped pioneer the nation’s first Interest of Lawyers Trust Accounts program (IOLTA) that pooled interest from lawyers’ trust accounts to provide money to legal aid for the poor. This program is now found in all 50 states. He was the first recipient of the Justice Raymond Ehrlich Trial Advocacy Award, and, in 1989, was named one of the best lawyers in America.  After serving served on the Florida Bar Foundation, he was elected President.  In addition, he was a devoted member and President of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society.

An active community leader, Jim Cobb was a past president of the North Florida Heart Association, past president of the Meninak Club of Jacksonville, a past president of Literacy Pros, and General Counsel for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

He had a passion for education and was a staunch advocate of the University of North Florida ever since the University was founded in 1972.  He served on the UNF President’s Advisory Counsel and was a former UNF Foundation Board President.  He helped create UNF’s Research and Development Authority that managed the University’s land.

In 1994, he and his wife, Ginny, made a gift to UNF to establish an endowed scholarship awarded in the name of his parents, Rose and Fred Cobb, to outstanding graduates of Lee High School. In 2006, he was awarded UNF’s prestigious Presidential Medallion for Outstanding Service, the highest form of recognition awarded by the University to local civic leaders who have helped guide UNF.

Jim and Ginny enjoyed traveling all over the world to places like the Galapagos Islands, Australia, Egypt, and China, and have many scrapbooks filled with photos from their adventures.

Next to his wife, the three most important people in his life were his children. Even with all his work and travel, he never missed a sporting event, ceremony, graduation or birthday. Always present with a sparkle in his eye. A lifetime member of Timuquana Country Club and Florida Yacht Club, he was a long-time member of St. Marks Church, serving on the Vestry and as Senior Warden.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Virginia Wenz Cobb, a brother Joseph Cobb of Birmingham. AL. (Helen); Sister in-law Ardith Nance of Phoenix AZ (Frank) and many nieces and nephews. Additionally, he is survived by his three children, Larry Cobb (Sharon), Jeffrey Cobb of Chattanooga, Tennessee (Dana) and Linda Ingham of Boulder, Colorado.

He is survived by eleven grandchildren: William Cobb of Jacksonville, Elinor Cobb of Greenwood SC, Grace Cobb of Jacksonville; Eric Stout (Melissa) and Debbie Stout of Chattanooga TN, Cory Cobb of Chattanooga TN, Emily Ingham of Nashville TN, Mack Ingham of Boulder CO, Mary Catherine Ingham of Denver CO, John Ingham of Houston TX and Nancy Ingham of Boulder CO. He is also blessed with 2 great grandchildren: Mason Stout and Neyland Stout of Chattanooga  TN.

A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at St. Marks Church on Friday January 11th at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fred and Rose Cobb Scholarship fund at UNF, Meninak Foundation or the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.

A special appreciation to Isa, Lynda, Carla and Ruby for their loving support and care of our family.

Arrangements are under the care of Evergreen Funeral Home and Crematory.   Family and friends may share their condolences at: www.evergreenjax.com. Sign the Guestbook@Jacksonville.com.

1 Comment

  • Earle Traynham Posted January 6, 2019 12:24 pm

    Jacksonville has lost one of its most outstanding citizens. It was a privilege to work with Jim for many years on the Duval County Research and Development Authority. His devotion to the University of North Florida and his wise counsel will be missed, but we will always be grateful for his service and friendship.

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