(1912 - 2003)
Sidney Sanders McMath was a decorated U.S. Marine, attorney and the 34th Governor of Arkansas (19491953) who, in defiance of his state's political establishment, championed rapid rural electrification, massive highway and school construction, the building of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, strict bank and utility regulation, repeal of the poll tax, open and honest elections and broad expansion of opportunity for black citizens in the decade following World War II. Mr. McMath remained loyal to President Harry S. Truman during the "Dixiecrat" rebellion of 1948, campaigning throughout the South for Truman's re-election. As a former governor, Sid McMath led the opposition to segregationist Governor Orval Faubus following the 1957 Little Rock school crisis. Mr. McMath went on to become one of the nation's foremost trial lawyers, representing thousands of injured persons in precedent-setting cases and mentoring several generations of young attorneys. His cases set a broad range of legal precedents, including the first million-dollar personal injury verdict in a U.S. District Court (for an injured Arkansas River barge crewman, in 1968), a woman's right to recover for the loss of her husband's consortium (an element of damage previously limited to men), manufacturers' responsibility for harm caused by defective products and negligent advertising encouraging their misuse, the chemical industry's liability for crop and environmental damage, drug companies' responsibility for fatal vaccine reactions in children, gun dealers' fault for the negligent sale of firearms, and the right of workers to sue third-party suppliers for job injuries. Sidney McMath died at his home on October 3, 2003 at 91 years of age.