Daniel John Meador

Published 8:41 am Monday, February 11, 2013

Daniel John Meador, 86, died on Feb. 9, 2013, in Charlottesville, Va. He was a retired University of Virginia law professor and former dean of the University of Alabama Law School.

Professor Meador was born on Dec. 7, 1926, in Selma, Ala., the son of Mabel Kirkpatrick and Dr. Daniel John Meador Jr. He grew up there and in Greenville, Ala. He attended The Citadel and was graduated from Auburn University and the University of Alabama Law School. He pursued graduate study at the Harvard Law School and received the degree of Master of Laws in 1954.

During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army, first in the artillery and then in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Korea. In 1954-55 he was law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black of the U. S. Supreme Court. He then entered law practice in Birmingham with the firm of Lange, Simpson, Robinson, and Somerville. In 1957 he joined the law faculty at the University of Virginia. In 1965-66 he was a Fulbright Lecturer in England.

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His deanship at the University of Alabama Law School from 1966 to 1970 came at a time of transition in the School’s development. With the backing of the University president, Dr. Frank Rose, he was successful in greatly increasing financial support for the school from its alumni and others. Under his leadership the law library collection was doubled, the curriculum expanded, new faculty recruited, and a program of visiting professors and lecturers inaugurated. He was instrumental in obtaining for the school a chapter of Order of the Coif, the national legal honor society. He initiated plans for a new law school building, completed a decade later.

In 1970 he rejoined the University of Virginia law faculty as James Monroe Professor of Law, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. In 1977-79 he was an Assistant Attorney General in the U. S. Department of Justice, heading a new office entitled the Office for Improvements in the Administration of Justice. One of his most significant accomplishments there was the development of the bill that Congress enacted to create the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Court of Federal Claims.

At the University of Virginia he received the Raven Award, Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award, and the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University’s highest honor. Other awards he received included the Justice Award from the American Judicature Society, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts, the Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the William B. Spong Professionalism Award from the Virginia Bar Association.

Meador was the founding president of the Cahaba Foundation, a non-profit corporation dedicated to securing private financial support for the state historical park at Cahaba, Alabama’s first state capital. He took a deep personal interest in Cahaba because his mother’s family lived and conducted extensive farming operations there for three generations, and he spent much time there in his childhood.  He recounted all of this in a memoir, At Cahaba—From Civil War to Great Depression. For his preservation efforts in Cahaba he received the distinguished service award from the Alabama Historical Commission.

His former wife, Jan, died in 2008 after 52 years of marriage. He is survived by his wife, Alice P. Meador of Charlottesville, and by three children – Barrie Meador Boyd and her husband, Robert D. Boyd, of Atlanta; Anna Meador Palms and her husband, John M. Palms, Jr., of Dallas; Daniel J. Meador Jr. and his wife, Mary Lewis Bowen Meador, of Charlottesville – seven grandchildren, and a brother, Dr. Clifton K. Meador of Nashville, former dean of the University of Alabama Medical School.

A graveside service will be conducted in Magnolia Cemetery in Greenville on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. with the Rev. Reid T. McCormick officiating.  Dunklin & Daniels Funeral Home directing.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cahaba Foundation, 719 Tremont Street, Selma, Alabama 36701, or a charity of choice.

For online memorials, please visit:  www.dunkinanddanielsfh.com.