John J. Gibbons, the former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the founder of one of New Jersey’s top law firms, passed away on December 9.
He was 94.
President Richard M. Nixon nominated Gibbons to serve as a federal judge in December 1969. The U.S. Senate confirmed him twelve days later.
Gibbons was chief judge from 1987 until his retirement in 1990.
He authored more than 800 opinions as a federal appellate court judge.
He rejoined his old law firm in 1990, which was renamed Gibbons Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione; the firm is now known as Gibbons P.C. He also served on the faculty of Seton Hall University Law School.
Gibbons served as president of the New Jersey Bar Association in 1967, and also on the Governor’s Commission on Civil Disorder under Gov. Richard J. Hughes.
According to a statement issued by his law firm, Gibbons enlisted attorneys to provide legal representation to those who could not afford it during the Newark Riots.
Born in Newark on December 6, 1924, Gibbons grew up in Belleville and graduated from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in 1942. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946 and was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was a 1947 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, and a 1950 Harvard Law School graduate.