John William Eggleston
Forest Lawn Cemetery
Location: A Block2 Lot 36 Space 3
(June 18, 1886 - May 18, 1976)
John W. Eggleston served as a chief justice of the State Supreme Court for 34 years.
Eggleston was born in Charlotte Courthouse in Charlotte County in 1886. His father David Quinn Eggleston, was also a lawyer and served several terms in the Virginia Senate.
John Eggleston received a Bachelor’s Degree from Washington and Lee University in 1906 and his Master’s Degree in 1907. He returned to Washington and Lee University to complete his law degree, which he did in 1910.
He relocated to Norfolk where he practiced law with a number of area firms including Baker and Eggleston; Hughes, Vandeventer and Eggleston; and Vandeventer, Eggleston, and Black.
Eggleston was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1932. While in the Senate, he chaired the commission that drafted the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act which established the state’s system of ABC stores still used today.
In February 1935, Eggleston left the State Senate to accept appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court. He continued to serve until his retirement in 1969. Even after retiring, he continued to work on Virginia Supreme Court business in an office in Norfolk City Hall until January 1975.
Among the opinions written by Eggleston during his term of office was the majority opinion written in 1959 stating that public school closings under Virginia’s “massive resistance” to school integration laws violated the state’s Constitution.
He also wrote the dissenting opinion to the court’s ruling in a 1963 case which also addressed opposition to school integration. The court ruled that the state government of Virginia had no obligation to provide funds to Prince Edward County’s schools, which had been closed to avoid integration. Eggleston wrote that under Virginia’s Constitution, the state was required to maintain free schools in all of its political subdivisions; therefore it could not withhold funds from the schools of Prince Edward County. When the U.S. Supreme Court later reviewed the case, it reversed the Virginia court ruling, affirming Eggleston’s dissenting opinion.
In addition to his accomplishments as a lawyer, state senator, and judge, Eggleston was also an accomplished athlete. He was a state tennis singles champion in 1923 and half of the state tennis doubles champion team in 1924. Later he learned to play golf, a game he played well into his 80s. In 1968, at the age of 82, he shot an 83 at the Sewell’s Point Golf Course.
Virginian-Pilot, “Eggleston, Retired Chief of Va. High Court, Dies,” May 19, 1976, pgs. A-1, A-4.
Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries. Profile written by Michael Frost, Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation volunteer.
Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Office hours: Monday to Sunday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Free parking inside cemetery.
Admission Cost: Free
Address: 8100 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23505
Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries
Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org