Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Fulfilling a Pact Forged in Friendship

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Fulfilling a Pact Forged in Friendship

Article excerpt

Byline: terry dickson

BRUNSWICK, Ga. Joe Ferrier will fulfill a promise today to Lloyd Thompson Jr., his best friend of 41 years.

"We always talked about, 'If you die first, I'm going to throw you a party,' " Ferrier said.

Thompson's party is 4 to 6 p.m. at the Brunswick County Club. He went first at 65, sometime overnight Saturday on the second floor of Ferrier's house on St. Simons Island. Ferrier said he hopes people will come share some Thompson stories at the celebration of his friend's life.

Thompson had lived with the widowed Ferrier on and off about six years. The two men had driven to John Marshall's night law school in Savannah for three years in Thompson's old car in the 1970s. They bought gas and paid their bar tabs with the Air Force veteran Thompson's GI Bill money.

One night after winning a softball championship, the buddies and some teammates celebrated by turning Thompson's car on its side. Then they tipped it back on its wheels and kept driving it to Savannah.

When he was still practicing, Thompson didn't cull any clients, lawyer John Rivers said, and was an especially good criminal defense lawyer.

As an assistant district attorney, Rivers went up against Thompson when he was prosecuting a man charged with robbery, who the victim had identified with absolute certainty.

Cross-examining the victim, Thompson kept asking the same question, "Did you notice anything unusual about the robber,'' Rivers said.

"No,'' the victim said, "but I know it's him."

"How about his mouth? Anything unusual about his mouth?" Thompson asked.

The victim was unshakable.

"Lloyd put his man on the stand and had him smile. He had three big gold teeth. Lloyd's argument was you couldn't miss those teeth,'' Rivers said. "He won."

Robert H. Baer, another of Thompson's friends, said without hesitation, "He was one of the best criminal defense lawyers there ever was. He won 13 felony cases in a row in Camden County."

And he believed everyone deserved a good defense regardless of whether they could afford it.

"Every year, he won the award for the most pro bono cases in the state,'' Baer said.

Baer figures Thompson developed that empathy for those without influence growing up around the grocery store his parents, Lloyd and Annie Thompson, ran in Brunswick. …

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