September/October 2008 issue

In Memoriam: Judge John F. Nangle


On August 24, 2008, John F. Nangle, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, died at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 86 years old.

John (Jack) Francis Nangle was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1922. He received undergraduate degrees from Harris Teachers College in 1941 and the University of Missouri–Columbia in 1943. He then served three and a half years in the Army during World War II. Following his discharge, he attended law school at Washington University and also served as an Army reservist.

After graduating from law school in 1948, Jack Nangle practiced law in the St. Louis area from 1948 to 1973 and became a specialist in trial work. While in private practice, he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps for 14 years before retiring from the Army in 1963. He also served as City Attorney for Brentwood from 1953 to 1963 and as Special Legal Advisor for St. Louis County from 1963 to 1973.

In 1973, he was appointed as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. He served as Chief Judge from 1983 to 1990, when he took senior status and transferred to Georgia. He continued to serve the Eastern District of Missouri and sat by designation for the Southern District of Georgia.

Under his leadership, the Eastern District of Missouri approved a new set of local rules and a pretrial order, sometimes referred to as a case management order. This order thereafter was used by many courts throughout the country. In addition to his time on the bench, he was active in the federal court community. He served on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Operation of the Jury System from 1985 to 1991. He was elected by the judges of the Eighth Circuit as district judge representative to the Judicial Conference in 1985, 1986, and 1989. He served as a member of the committee to restructure the Judicial Conference and its committees, and served on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference from 1987 to 1991.

In 1990, Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed Judge Nangle as Chair of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and he served in this capacity for 10 years. He was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation, the Mass Tort Working Group, and the Judicial Resources Working Group.

He served as an instructor for federal judges on proper methods of handling trials and on courtroom demeanor. He lectured at the U.S. Attorneys' Judicial Institute and supervised the first federal practice seminar of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Judge Nangle is survived by his wife, Jane, and his son, John.