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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawyer, environmental leader Thom Rumberger, 79



thom_rumberger_photo.jpgE. Thom Rumberger, an attorney, environmental leader and Republican activist known for his independent streak, died Wednesday in Tallahassee from complications related to diabetes. He was 79.

Tall (6'6"), courtly and with a passion for the environment and politics, Rumberger was a long-time champion of preserving and protecting the Everglades as chairman of the Everglades Trust. He also was among the GOP leaders who worked in favor of the two so-called "fair districts" amendments to the Constitution last year (Rumberger represented the Republican Party of Florida in the battles over  reapportionment in 1992).

He was a 1961 graduate of the University of Florida law school, member of Florida Blue Key and associate editor of the University of Florida Law Review in 1960.

In 1978, he helped found the law firm of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, and he was one of the last surviving links to the era of former Gov. Claude Kirk (1967-1971). Kirk appointed Rumberger to a circuit court judgeship in 1967, making him, at 35, the youngest circuit judge in modern Florida history at that time.

Rumberger qas the Republican nominee for state attorney general in 1970, and lost to Democrat Bob Shevin.

He is survived by seven children, including Tallahassee lawyer Hayden Dempsey, a former advisor to Gov. Rick Scott. His son-in-law is Tallahassee lobbyist Will McKinley. Services are incomplete.   

[Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:56am]


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