Beloved Florida State Athletics ‘Super Fan’ and Judge, James E. Joanos, Passes Away at 89

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – James E. Joanos, a prominent local lawyer and judge, known for his unwavering support for Florida State University (FSU) athletics, passed away in Tallahassee at the age of 89. His legacy not only spanned his successful legal career but also included his contributions to the FSU community. Joanos was considered a role model for aspiring judges due to his exemplary character and dedication to justice.

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Joanos attended Leon High School before enrolling at FSU. After completing three years of service in the Air Force, he pursued a law degree at Yale Law School. Joanos returned to his hometown and built a successful legal practice. His career ascended to the position of circuit judge and appellate judge, ultimately becoming the chief judge of the 1st District Court of Appeal based in Tallahassee. Later on, Joanos joined the Akerman law firm after retiring from the judiciary.

Throughout his life, Joanos maintained a deep connection with FSU. He earned a degree in government and public administration from FSU in 1956, where he excelled as a student-athlete on the track team and held leadership roles within the student body. Joanos played a pivotal role in the establishment of FSU’s College of Law and served as an adjunct professor for over two decades. Additionally, he served as the president of the FSU Alumni Association.

Together with his wife Betty Lou, Joanos embodied the spirit of dedicated FSU supporters. They were cherished members of the FSU community, counting themselves as life members of the Alumni Association, Golden Chiefs in the Seminole Boosters, and Presidents Club members at the FSU Foundation. Their commitment and involvement earned them the prestigious Moore-Stone Award at an FSU Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Not only did Joanos leave a lasting impact on the legal and academic spheres, but he also left an indelible mark on the Seminole athletic community. His unwavering support for FSU student-athletes earned him the admiration and respect of many. The Vice President and Athletics Director of FSU, Michael Alford, paid tribute to Joanos, remarking on his special love for Seminole athletics and the profound influence he had on countless individuals.

Those who knew Joanos praised his integrity, intelligence, and humility, acknowledging him as an exceptional judge and an outstanding individual. Judge John Cooper of Tallahassee described Joanos as one of the nicest judges he had ever appeared in front of, highlighting his ability to recall everyone’s name and his engaging personality. Cooper shared an anecdote about Joanos’ quick wit, demonstrating the judge’s humorous side and his ability to maintain a lighthearted atmosphere.

The passing of James E. Joanos is a significant loss for the Tallahassee community and the FSU family. His dedication to the pursuit of justice and his unwavering support for FSU will be remembered and celebrated. Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced, and Bevis Funeral Home is handling the services.

(Note: The article has been rewritten in AP News Style format, using new facts and sentence structures while conveying the same information from the original article.)