Robert M. Montgomery Jr. (JD 57) passed away Aug. 4, he was 78. Montgomery — known for his success in arguing multi-million dollar cases and representing high-profile clients — was a longtime advocate and supporter of the UF Levin College of Law.
During his 40-year career, Montgomery, who lived and practiced in West Palm Beach, Fla., won an estimated 65 settlements of $1 million or more. He represented many high-profile clients, including Burt
Reynolds during his divorce from Lonnie Anderson, and Theresa LePore, the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections during the “butterfly” ballot controversy of the 2000 presidential election.
But it was his case against the tobacco companies that drew the most notice. Montgomery served as Florida’s lead attorney, forcing an $11.3 billion settlement from tobacco companies to compensate the state for its Medicaid expenses related to Floridians’ smoking-related diseases.
Montgomery’s most lasting legacy may be his generous philanthropy. He donated an estimated $100 million to charity during his lifetime and was a devoted supporter of the arts, serving as chairman of the Palm Beach Opera for 25 years. Montgomery has been an influential and supportive alumnus of the UF College of Law, and he served on the college’s Law Advisory Council for many years. Montgomery’s most recent gift to the law school supported the building fund for the Martin H. Levin Legal Advocacy Center, which broke ground this summer.
Montgomery is survived by his wife Mary and daughter Courtney.
Paul G. Rogers (JD 48), who earned the nickname “Mr. Health” during his time in Congress, passed away Oct. 13 of lung cancer. He was 87.
Rogers earned the title during his 24 years as a Democratic representative from West Palm Beach, Fla., for his work on environmental and health care legislation.
His accomplishments during his time in Congress include serving as the main sponsor of the Clean Air Act of 1970, leading legislation to establish the National Institute of Aging, and working on legislation that assured used cars adhere to federal safety requirements.
He was reportedly an advocate of healthy habits and did not smoke. Rogers, a WW II veteran who received a Bronze Star for his action in the European theater, was reelected 11 times to his seat representing Florida’s Ninth Congressional District.
After leaving Congress in 1979, Rogers joined the Washington law firm Hogan & Harston where he began the firm’s health law practice.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Rebecca, his daughter, Rebecca Laing Sisto, a brother and four grandchildren.
T. Paine Kelly Jr. (JD 36) passed away Aug. 5 from complications of a stroke. He was 95.
Kelly practiced law until he was 92 and built his nearly 70-year career in his hometown of Tampa, Fla. Most of his 56-year career in trial law was with Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen.
Well known and liked in Tampa courtrooms, Kelly’s personality was larger than life, as the story of his WWII service demonstrates. He was captured by Germans as a young colonel in command of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Following his capture, he orchestrated a successful escape with two others from a German POW camp, reportedly using a compass hidden in his jacket to make it back to Allied lines.
His involvement in the Tampa community earned him an Outstanding Citizen award. He also served on the State Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, local Red Cross committees, the Committee of 100, the Tampa Boys’ Club and as president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his community involvement, Kelly was a devoted supporter of the UF College of Law, serving as an active trustee for many years.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Jean, and two daughters, Josie and Carla.