Jon B. McPhail

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Jon B. McPhail, a gifted litigator who committed his career to protecting those in need, died unexpectedly the morning of January 2. He was 65. He was a graduate of Wake Forest University, Emory University, and the University of Virginia School of Law. His focus was on contract litigation, and his greatest contributions to both the legal field and his clients were in mortgage and property law. He argued a case before the Georgia Supreme Court, and often represented clients who could not afford to pay him. Outside of the courtroom, he worked to protect green spaces and natural resources both as a board member of Milton Grows Green, and through his participation in the Natural Resources Committee in Alpharetta.  Throughout his life, Jon devoted all of his energy and his intellect to serving others, including neighbors, family, and those with substance abuse issues. In his free time, Jon could be found plying golf, arguing with friends about sports, listening to Warren Zevon, walking his dog with his loving wife along the Alpharetta Greenway, and helping his son build a deck in Atlanta. He is preceded by his father R.B. McPhail, and survived by his mother Maggie McPhail, the love of his life, wife Martha Cato McPhail, and son Leeland Thomas McPhail. Family, friends, and those whose lives Jon touched are invited to the Dunwoody Nature Center on January 20th from 1–3pm to grieve his loss and celebrate his life.  

11 Comments To "Jon B. McPhail"

Betty and Ralph Heigl On Jan 25 2019 at 7pm
We didn't really know Jon personally, but we often had a friendly rivalry with him and his team at trivia on Thursday nights at Vintage Pizza in Milton. He was a formidable opponent -- sharp as a tack -- and had a depth and breadth of knowledge that we envied. We always enjoyed the competition, groaning when his team would edge us out on that final question, and feeling ridiculously smug whenever we ended up on top. Reading about him and his life accomplishments makes me wish we had known him better, but alas, we'll have to settle for those times we spent competing head to head for Vintage house cash. :-) Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jon's family and to all whose lives he touched. He was a kind soul and most surely will be missed. Deepest sympathy from FleaTV. Reply to this comment
Herman (Gene) Funk, Jr. On Jan 23 2019 at 4pm
Martha and Leeland, please accept my heartfelt condolences. To say I was stunned to hear this news would be grossly inadequate. Although Jon and I haven't kept up over the years, Jon and Ted Teachey and I became very close and shared a lot of good and stressful times during our law school days. I grew very fond of Jon and his unique (and wry) way of looking at things. I still quote "McPhail's Law" ("Every unpleasant task fills the time allotted to it") to my colleagues when a difficult task is before us. I haven't spoken to Jon for years, and for that I feel a powerful regret. He touched us all, and he is missed. Reply to this comment
Trudi Berlin HAYS On Jan 22 2019 at 4pm
on behalf of those many from UVA law school who have not kept up with Jon since law school, I want to nonetheless express our condolences at Jon's death. May the Lord envelope you with His comfort, fill you with His peace and in the days ahead surround you with friends and family who can help in all the little and big details that come following a death. May many show the love of Jesus to you and be there for you for years to come. What a wonderful legacy of service and integrity Jon leaves for you all. Reply to this comment
Larry Bowman On Jan 16 2019 at 10pm
Martha: I am so sorry to learn of your loss and wish I could be there for the service but I will be in Houston during that time and cannot attend. Jon and I were good colleagues and friends. We tried a hard fought case to a hung jury in Atlanta just before Christmas in 1990 and settled the case when the defense lawyers learned that 10 of the 12 jurors were in our favor. John Lentini was our expert in that case. You get to know a man pretty well when you try a case alongside him and Jon and I enjoyed our friendship. He was very bright, a quick study, and a good storyteller. He loved you and your son completely and was a great father and husband. This we know. Jon was one of the good guys and I will miss him. Sincerely, Larry Bowman Reply to this comment
Steve Schatz On Jan 16 2019 at 10pm
Martha and Leeland, my condolences to you. Jon had a tremendous impact on me personally and professionally. He hired me out of law school, brought me to Atlanta, and was my mentor. He is one of the smartest lawyers I've ever known. He was a great story teller. I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that Jon influenced so many of the lives he touched. Reply to this comment
Al Baum On Jan 15 2019 at 9am
Jon has been a true friend whom I had the utmost respect for. His brilliant mind and fantastic wit will be missed by me and my family. My sincere condolences to all his family and fellow friends. Reply to this comment
Craig Oswalt On Jan 23 2019 at 4pm
Hi Al, thanks to you I knew Jon for many years. He was a great person coming to my aid several times. He would give me tremendous help and advice (Jon was Brilliant) and ask for little in return. He really will be greatly missed. God Bless his Family and Friends!
Ricky Morris On Jan 15 2019 at 9am
Martha, God bless you. I love you. Reply to this comment
Denise and States Finley On Jan 14 2019 at 3pm
Deepest Sympathies and Heartfelt Condolences. I'm sorry to say we will not be able to be with you on Sunday. We will be out of town but know that we are with you in spirit sending you love, comfort, strenght and peace as you remember your Beloved, Jon. Reply to this comment
Lynna Lee On Jan 14 2019 at 3pm
I'm so sad about the unexpected passing of Jon. I spent time with him at Milton Grows Green meetings and events. He was such a humorous, intelligent, and energetic person! I enjoyed being around him. I'm so very sorry. He will be missed. Reply to this comment
David Rusnak On Jan 14 2019 at 3pm
I came to know Jon through a couple of shared cases over the past several years. Through those case we became friends. A call with Jon, or the occasional long lunch was often the highlight in my day, as we passed observations about a host of subjects back and forth until one of us had to rush off to meet the obligations of the day. He will be sorely missed. Reply to this comment
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