THE HONORABLE S. JAMES FOXMAN
December 28, 1942 – June 3, 2020
United States Veteran (U.S.A.F.)
The Honorable S. James “Jim” Foxman, retired circuit judge, passed away on June 3, 2020. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to David and Dorothy Foxman, he grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, with younger sisters Ellen and Eden. An athlete and outdoorsman, he loved to fish. Although he excelled at football and baseball, he found a lifelong passion in tennis.
Jim graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where he met his first wife, Sheila. They were married in 1967 in her hometown of Enfield, Connecticut. After graduating from the University of Miami School of Law, he entered the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, where he served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, attaining the rank of captain. While living in Alaska, Jim and Sheila welcomed their first son, David.
Honorably discharged in 1972, Jim moved to Daytona Beach to pursue a career in law. He and Charlie Woerner, his JAG Corps trial partner, founded their own law firm in South Daytona. Focusing on family, business, and property law, the firm thrived throughout the 1970s. In 1973, Jim and Sheila welcomed their second son, Matthew.
In 1979, he was appointed circuit judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit. It was on the trial bench that he found his calling. His first trial was a first-degree murder case, and through the years, a string of complex, high-profile cases found their way to his docket. Throughout his career, he alternated between criminal and family divisions. Although he is publicly best known for presiding over some of Volusia County’s most notorious murder cases, Judge Foxman was proudest of his work in the family law division. There he felt he could do the most good, helping families in their time of crisis. He developed a reputation among the bar for his intense preparation and his unfailing sense of fairness. He wasn’t afraid to do what was unpopular, so long as it was just.
In 1983, tragedy struck when Sheila lost a courageous battle with cancer, leaving Jim with two young sons to raise. He had been a source of comfort and strength to Sheila and their sons during her illness. After her death, he shepherded the boys through their grief and made sure they always knew they were loved.
He married the former Beverly O’Steen and they welcomed a son, Adam, in 1985. Jim was pained that the marriage did not last, but he felt that the experience made him a better, more compassionate family law judge.
He found a soul mate in Terry Rawlinson. Married in 1988, they were together for 32 years until his death. In his later years, she showed uncommon love and fortitude in caring for him during his long illness.
Judge Foxman served as a trial judge for over 31 years. During that time, he became a revered leader within the legal profession. He served as the chief judge of the Seventh Circuit. He mentored the lawyers who appeared before him and judges who worked alongside him, leading by example with wisdom and fairness. His influence continues to be seen in the many current judges who learned from him, including two of his sons and a daughter-in-law. More than one fellow judge has described him as an icon, to be emulated as much as possible.
Throughout his career, he devoted himself to improving mental health services in the community. He presided over Baker Act hearings for years and served as Chairman of the Board for the ACT Corporation, the local mental health agency. In 2008, he presided over the merger of Stewart-Marchman Center with the ACT Corporation. Today, the foundation known as SMA Healthcare provides addiction and mental health services in Volusia, Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties. In 2010, Judge Foxman was recognized as the statewide Volunteer of the Year by the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.
When he retired in 2011, the Justice Center in Daytona Beach was renamed “The S. James Foxman Justice Center” in his honor. A bronze plaque inside the building reads:
The Honorable S. James Foxman served Volusia County with great distinction for over thirty years. During his exemplary career, he was renowned for his fairness, intelligence, and hard work. In 2011, following his retirement, this courthouse was renamed in his honor. It now stands as a symbol of Judge Foxman’s lifelong commitment to providing equal justice for all.
In recognition of his “long and illustrious career,” Volusia County declared February 5, 2011, as The Honorable S. James Foxman Day.
Judge Foxman was predeceased by his parents, Dave and Dorothy; his first wife, Sheila; and his sister, Eden. Grieving survivors include his wife, Terry; sister, Ellen (George); his sons, David (Kelli), Matthew (Karen), and Adam (Bethany); and six grandchildren, Grant, Cooper, Maryn, Lila, Caden, and Lincoln; and the many lawyers and fellow judges who consider him a member of their own family. No service is currently planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. The family hopes to announce a memorial service in the future, when one can be safely held. Judge Foxman was a supporter of the Southeast Volusia Humane Society. Those wishing to make a donation in his memory may contribute to the Southeast Volusia Humane Society, 1200 S. Glencoe Road, New Smryna Beach, FL 32168. Arrangements are being handled by Baldwin Brothers Funeral and Cremation Society, Ormond Beach.
Certainly one of my favorite judges, and he taught his sons well! We'll never see another like him!