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On April 28, 2009, Stewart L. Colling collapsed while jogging with his son and died later that night. His passing was a sudden and unexpected tragedy for us. We will miss his leadership, support and commitment. We hope to not just keep his memory alive, but to honor his life and his work by continuing his mission. Mr. Colling dedicated himself to protecting, pursuing and expanding the rights of injured persons, especially injured workers. His dedication to workers’ compensation was an inspiration to us all, and we can only hope to continue giving the working men and women of Florida the same level of representation.
Stewart L. Colling was born in Winter Park, Florida, December 30, 1959. By the time he attended Winter Park High School, he had developed a love of basketball, and his natural talent and competitive spirit won him a full scholarship to Rollins College. At Rollins, he was a top basketball player. He received his Bachelor of the Arts degree in 1982. He then attended Stetson College in nearby DeLand, Florida, receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1985. At Stetson, he received membership in the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity and received recognition for his participation in the Freshman Moot Court Competition. He was admitted to the bar in Florida and the U.S. District Court in 1986. He was admitted to the bar in Texas in 1993 and in Colorado in 1995.
Since being admitted to the bar, Stewart Colling has demonstrated his leadership in a number of legal organizations. A member of the Orange County Bar Association since 1986, he was chair of the Association’s Personal Injury Section 2005-2006. A member of the Florida Justice Association (formerly the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers) since 1991, he served on the Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation section 2004-2005. He has been a member of the Florida Workers’ Advocates since 1990 and served on the Board of Directors since 1997. He also served as the organization’s President (2002) and Vice-president (2001). While serving as president of the Florida Workers’ Advocates, he was appointed by Governor Bush to the Governor’s Commission on Workers’ Compensation Reform. He was a member of the Executive Council of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar from 2006-2008.
Since 1986, Stewart Colling worked exclusively in the areas of personal injury and workers’ compensation. During that time he helped nearly 15,000 victims of personal injury, including about 10,000 workers injured on the job. He was a frequent lecturer at legal seminars. His lectures inspired law students and junior colleagues, helped workers and injury victims understand their rights and guided employers to meet the needs of their employees, reducing the need for antagonistic court proceedings while preserving the rights of injured workers. He was also active in politics, contributing time and money to the campaigns of local, state, and national candidates he supported, and helping to write and campaign for legislation to improve the workers’ compensation process.
A former partner in the Morgan Colling and Gilbert law firm, he was a founding partner of Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter, PA. For his work, he has been recognized and praised by his peers, receiving Martindale-Hubbell’s coveted AV rating.
A dedicated husband father of three, he was active and well-known in his community. He was known by friends as being generous with his time, which he dedicated to the Rotary Club, the YMCA, and other local organizations. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his sons Clay and Jackson, and his daughter Casey. He will be missed by us all.