February 3, 2017 For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Miles
Administrative Office of the Courts
20th Judicial Circuit
Public Information Officer
Judiciary Mourns Death of Honorable R. Wallace Pack
Ft. MYERS -- One of the first Circuit Judges for the 20th Judicial Circuit, Judge R. Wallace Pack, passed away on January 24, 2017 at the age of 88. The judge was known as a well-read, well-educated gentleman. He was respected by his peers at every level of his career and held in high regard for his ethics and professionalism.
“Judge Pack was everybody's favorite judge. He provided everyone with a fair and polite hearing as well as a prompt ruling,” stated Circuit Judge John Carlin. “Judge Pack serves as a role model for me as a judge and his memory will live forever with those who had the privilege to work with him.”
Judge Pack, also known by his friends as Wally, was born on December 25th, 1928 in Beaumont, Texas. He graduated from the Asheville School in Asheville, NC and earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in Davidson, NC. In 1953 he received his law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where he was also on the SMU Law Review staff. While in college, he also served in the United States Army Reserve from 1950 to 1960. After graduation from SMU Law School, Judge Pack practiced law in Dallas and then became a Landman for Sun Oil Company.
In 1965, Judge Pack and his wife Anna moved with their two sons, Robert and John, to Fort Myers, FL. While in south Florida, he continued working for Sun Oil Company overseeing field operations. He went into private practice in 1967 at Alderman, Johnson, and Pack. He worked there until his appointment to the Lee County bench in 1970. In 1972, he became one of the first circuit judges of the newly formed 20th Circuit. Judge Pack served as Chief Judge from 1981 to 1985 and had dockets in both the criminal and civil division.
“Judge Pack was a most honorable Jurist. His decisions were thoughtful and well-reasoned. His integrity was never questioned. He contributed to my growth as a new lawyer in Lee County. He will be missed,” stated Senior Circuit Judge Radford Sturgis.
“During his 1996 contested re-election, he showed grace, humor and dedication to retain his seat on the bench,” said Lee County Judge Josephine Gagliardi, who worked as his campaign manager during the election.
Judge Pack retired from the bench in 1999. Not only did he serve the citizens of the 20th Judicial Circuit for 27 years, but he also was a community leader. Judge Pack was active in Kiwanis, Goodwill, the Presbyterian Church, and the Calusa American Inns of Court, which he helped create. He was greatly respected and admired by the many lawyers who appeared in his courtroom, as well as court staff and his fellow judges.
“Judge Pack was a true gentleman. He gave me advice and encouragement about becoming an attorney,” said Circuit Judge Frank Porter.
“He taught me how to graciously look back on my mistakes, learn from them and laugh,” stated Circuit Judge Leigh Hayes.
Friends described Judge Pack as a practical joker with an incredible sense of humor. They say you could hear his whistles echo the halls on his way to court.
“The courtroom always grew quiet when they heard the whistling judge,” said Carole Beach, Judge Pack’s longtime Judicial Assistant. “He had the perfect character and temperament for a Judge.”
After Judge Pack retired, he enjoyed sailing, bridge, fishing, traveling, sail planes and was an avid photographer. He was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Rogers Pack, in January 1990. He is survived by his sisters, Margaret Buchanan of Dallas, TX, Sarah Thomas of Black Mountain NC and his sons, Robert of Ocala, FL and John of Shreveport, LA.
“There was never a more gentlemanly, considerate, and conscientious Judge than Wally Pack. I’ll miss him deeply,” said Senior Circuit Judge Hugh Starnes.
“If you were lucky enough to call him a friend, you valued his loyalty, and those of us who knew him as a friend will always value that friendship,” stated Carole Beach.
The family asks that gifts be made to Hope Hospice in lieu of flowers.