Colonel John Thomson - US Army (Retired) - Korea - Coral Gables, FL
Col. John M. Thomson, Esquire, has devoted a great swath of his time and attention through his many years in law to the needs of veterans, the community in which he has was born and has resided virtually all of his life, and to the State of Florida. That his civic, business and public service contributions are significant and meritorious is obvious and incontestable. Col. Thomson is unquestionably qualified and deserving of inclusion in the prestigious Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame. It is my honor to recommend Jack, my compatriot, for this honor. Post 98 is eternally grateful to him for preserving the facility on behalf of its veterans. Jack is the head of a family dedicated to public service.
His wife of 65-years, Dorothy H. Thomson, served on the Coral Gables City Commission for 16 years, including as Mayor in 1985-87. She is the first and only woman elected to that position in the city’s 93-year history. Three of their children are Greater Miami residents: Janice is a school teacher, Robert is a Coral Gables police officer and June was 1982 Orange Bowl Queen and now retired from television broadcasting. They are all devoted and proud American Citizens.
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL. luris Doctor. February, 1959
- Omicron Delta Kappa, Honorary Leadership Fraternity
- Society of Wig & Robe, Honorary Legal Fraternity
- Delta Theta Phi, Legal Fraternity (President, 1957)
- University of Miami Law Review, Editor
- University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting, 1953
- Accounting Society
- Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity
- Miami Senior High School Class of 1949
Professional and Employment History:
Col. John M. Thomson has maintained an active law practice in Miami-Dade County, Florida, continuously since admission to the Florida Bar in 1959. He is still in practice to this day, 59 years and counting, at the age of 86, with his wife, Dorothy H. Thomson, running his general practice law office in Coral Gables, FL., specializing in corporate and business law, probate, and estate planning and real estate transactions. His law career began in partnership with his father, Robert M. Thomson (Thomson & Thomson – 1959-1961), with an office in Miami.
Following that. Jack was an associate at two highly respected firms in Miami (Carey, Goodman, Terry, Dwyer and Austin – 1961-1963) (Holladay & Gardner – 1963- 1969). Jack then joined with Michael M Tobin in forming Tobin & Thomson (1976 – 1991. He continues to be a solo practitioner with offices in Coral Gables. Jack is a seasoned trial lawyer with extensive experience in personal injury claims, insurance claims, contract litigation and family law litigation. In the real estate field he has represented major developers and lenders in connection with subdivision development, recreational resorts, condominiums, rental apartments, and office buildings. Through his senior years in practice, Jack has specialized in Real Property Law, Corporation and Business Law, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts and Probate Law. Martindale-Hubbell rated “av”.
- Supreme Court, State of Florida, Tallahassee, FL. 1959
- U.S. Federal District Court, Southern District, Miami, Florida, 1959 United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C. 1963
- Court of Military Appeals, Washington, D.C. 1963
- Circuit Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, New Orleans, LA. 1963
- Circuit Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, Atlanta, GA. 1982
- Life Member of the American Bar Association
- Life Member of the Dade County Bar Association
- Active Member of the Coral Gables Bar Association and The Florida Bar
Legal Recognitions & Honors:
- Bronze Giving Society, The Florida Bar Foundation “With grateful appreciation for providing access to justice in Florida through continuous philanthropic advocacy, John M. Thomson, Esquire, is recognized as a member of our Bronze Giving Society.”
- 50 year membership in the Florida Bar and Dade county Bar Association.
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
After the Korean War, Col. Thomson remained active in the US Army Reserve for more than three decades and has never retired from responding to the needs of fellow veterans. Florida Governors Bob Martinez and Lawton Chiles appointed Jack to the Commission on Veterans’ Affairs, State of Florida (Member: 1987 to 1997; Chair: 1995-1997). Col. Thomson was a Florida member of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Department of Defense, USA from 1991-2001. He worked pro bono as co-counsel with William (Toby) Muir in defending Coral Gables Post 98 American Legion, Inc., from an attempt by the City of Coral Gables to take back its Post Headquarters, a property that the City had given to the Legion. The City claimed that the Post had violated a reverter clause in the deed. The controversy began in 2003 and the City filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the Legion in the Miami Dade County Circuit Court Case No. 05-15674 CA (06). The Judge entered a Summary Judgment against the City in 2009, ending this unnecessary litigation brought against the Post in a time of war. Over his nearly 60 years as an attorney, Col. Thomson has done pro bono work on behalf of homeless veterans, and veterans come to Jack because they know that he respects their military service and that he is personally committed to the serving of their needs. John’s law office clientele who have military background receive a fee discount of 25-percent.
- Judge Advocate and Board Member, Coral Gables Post 98 American Legion, Inc., 2014 – Present (Member 1981 – Present)
- President, Coral Gables Army & Navy Club, 1980-1981, 2016-2017 (Member 50+ years)
- Commander, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), Coral Gables Chapter, 1990 (Member 50+ years)
- President, Reserve Officers Association (ROA), Miami-Dade Chapter 4, 1992-1994 (Member 50+ years)
- Director and Vice-President, Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA), 1999 (Member 50+ years)
Awards & Recognitions:
- Silver Patrick Henry Medallion for Patriotic Achievement, The Military Order of the World Wars, 2007 “Colonel John M. Thomson has distinguished himself as an exemplary leader in the legal profession. He has generously used his legal expertise to assist the military community. With his background as Judge Advocate General, he has been sensitive to and supported military personnel with their civilian legal issues. He has also gone beyond the call of duty in support of veteran organizations and their legal issues including incorporations, reinstatements and re-incorporations of numerous local groups at both the State and Federal level”
- Life Membership awarded for service to the Coral Gables Post 98 American Legion Chapter, 2009
Civic Activities and Contributions:
Col. Thomson has demonstrated a profound commitment to his local community and to the State of Florida through his nearly 60 years of active and engaged volunteer service among a plethora of organizations and through many hours donated to helping his fellow man on a pro bono basis. He has a long list of accepted pro bono appointments from Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Civil and Probate Divisions as part of the Dade-County Bar Association’s ‘Put Something Back’ Pro Bono Project. He has donated many hours to the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami in providing real estate services and title insurance for which he was presented with the “Golden Hammer” award. He has worked closely with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) and in 2006 they presented him with the Leo Plotkin Outstanding Legal Service Award for efforts on behalf of persons with mental retardation and other disabilities.
On a volunteer basis, John wrote the original articles of incorporation for the Miami-Dade County Citizens Crime Watch as well as conceived the organizational plan of the Coral Gables Citizens Crime Watch Board of Directors. In 1994, The Iron Arrow Honorary Society bestowed John with membership into the Iron Arrow, the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami for his many years of service to the university. He was appointed to the original Community Development Board (now the Economic Development Board) of the City of Coral Gables in 1963 and tasked with the responsibility of making Coral Gables the Latin American Headquarters for international corporations and to obtain the North South trade market that was previously processed through Havana, Cuba. He was presented the Key to the City of Coral Gables for his service to the community. Jack continues to serve the City of Coral Gables as a member of the Board of Adjustments, appointed by the City Manager.
Major Civic Contributions:
- President, Junior Orange Bowl Committee, 1987-1988 (Member since 1972) The organization holds an annual parade and international youth festival, which is a series of competitive events held for the youth of South Florida and the world.
- Director, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, 1985-1987 (Member 1972- 2001) its mission is to foster and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of the Coral Gables Community.
- President, Ponce de Leon Development Association, 1977 (Member 50+ years) Now known as the Coral Gables Forum, this is a local organization of business individuals, active and retired, that discuss the current business and political issues of the community.
- President, Coral Gables Citizens Crime Watch, 1999-2001 (Member since 1980) It was formed to promote a safer community through education of the residential, commercial and youth sectors of the community and to support law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their duties.
- President Sons of the American Revolution, Miami Chapter (SAR) 1998 – 2000. 50+ year’s membership. Meritorious Service Medal, Silver Good Citizenship Medal, Korean Service Medal. This is a congressionally chartered organization founded in 1889 whose members have an ancestor who served in the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of the American independence and to foster fellowship among its members.
- President, Coral Gables Kiwanis Club: Coral Way Club 1978-1979; Coral Gables Club 2001-2002. (Member 50+ years) This is a community service club dedicated to the welfare of children to insure they have what they need to be secure and successful citizens.
- Director, Coral Gables People to People Program, 1980-1985. Established by President Eisenhower in 1961 to enhance international understanding and friendship among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. 200 Club of Greater Miami Member. 2015 to Present. This organization gives support to the families of fallen first responder police officers and firefighters.
- Mahi Shriners (50+ year member) The Shriners are dedicated to the community’s youth and maintains youth hospitals to provide needed medical care and attention to young children in need.
- South Miami Masonic Lodge #308, (60+ year member) Order of DeMolay, Chevalier Degree, Dad Advisor 10 years. DeMolay is a masonic youth organization of young men ages 12 to 21 for the purpose of developing civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills. The Chevalier Degree is the highest honor awarded for outstanding activity and labor.
- Miami Scottish Rite (50+ years 32d degree member) this is a Masonic organization that is also active in the community in support of various needs that may arise in the community.
- Granada Presbyterian Church (Member since 1950, Deacon’s Class of 1988, Elder from 2003-2010. Chairman of the Board, Granada Day School (2007-to present)
University of Miami Pro Bono Support:
- School of Communications – Assisted Coral Gables City Commissioners in negotiating with Dynamic Cablevision to bring a $1.5 million television studio on campus as well as scholarships to the school.
- Athletic Program – Conceived idea to allow advertising at Mark Light Field by use of roll-up billboards to satisfy city zoning restrictions. Negotiated the deal between Coach Frazier and the City Commission.
- University of Miami Law School – Active participant in telephone fund raising for the school for six years.
- Director and Founding Member, Elephant Forum, 1993-1998 This is a conservative organization that stays abreast of national and local political events and news of interest to its members.
- Director, South Florida Emerald Society, 1998-2001. Celebrates Irish heritage and culture at the annual St. Patrick’s Day festival and at regular monthly meetings at an Irish pub in the area.
- Commodore, Coral Gables Fleet Club, 1994-1995 Social club of the Coral Gables Country Club for owners of boats to enjoy the waters of south Florida.
- President, Sun Flying Club, Opa Locka Airport ,1979. A social club whose members are owners of private airplanes having a lease of parking space for 29 airplanes at the east end of the airport.
Community Service Awards:
- The Junior Orange Bowl Committee Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community, 2013
- Habitat for Humanity Golden Hammer Award, 2009
- The Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) Leo Plotkin Award, 2006
- Iron Arrow Honorary Society Award, University of Miami, 1994
- Coral Gables Key to the City, circa 1965
Additional Awards and Honors:
- Bronze Roger Sherman Medal in recognition of his faithful services in the Sons of the American Revolution, The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 2016
- Silver Good Citizenship Medal in recognition of notable services in behalf of our American principles, The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 2018