Alabama Academy of Honor


Walter Pettus Gewin

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1979.



Walter Pettus Gewin served as a judge on the Fifth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals since October 5, 1961.

In 1977 Chief Justice Warren E. Burger appointed him to the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals of the United States.

Born December 9, 1908, in Nanafalia, Judge Gewin was educated at Birmingham-Southern College where he graduated cum laude, at Emory University, and at the University of Alabama where he received his bachelor of laws degree. Birmingham-Southern College conferred on him the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1966 and the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1973. He received the Dean's Award from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1973 and the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Alabama in 1976.

He began the practice of law in 1935 in the Birmingham firm of Martin, Turner and McWhorter, and practiced alone in Greensboro from 1936 to 1951 when he became a member of the firm of LeMaistre, Clement and Gewin, and Clement, Gewin, Rosen, Hubbard, and Waldrop in Tuscaloosa.

In 1939 he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives during which time he served on the 1940 Code Committee. He was also prosecuting attorney for Hale County from 1942 to 1951.

Judge Gewin was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American, Alabama, and Tuscaloosa County Bar Association; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity; the American Law Institute; and the Farrah Order of Jurisprudence. In 1948 he was elected president of the Bar Association of the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Alabama and in 1955 of the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association. He served as vice president, 1957-58, and as president, 1958-59, of the Alabama Bar Association .

He was a Trustee of Birmingham-Southern College and of Jones Law School operated by the University of Alabama. He was also a member of the President's Cabinet, University of Alabama, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Alabama Law School Foundation.

Judge Gewin and his wife Anna had three children; Walter Pettus Gewin, Jr., James William Gewin, and Margaret Juliette Gewin Hamner. He is now deceased.