The Honorable J. McNary Spigner was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1922. He was the son of A. Fletcher Spigner and Elise Tiller Spigner. He graduated from The Citadel in 1943 and saw extensive service in the military during World War Ⅱ and the Korean War — in the Fifth Commando Office of Strategic Services in China; as Special Agent, Commander-in-Charge in Germany and was recalled to the 82nd Airborne Division for service in Korea. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1965 with the rank of Major.
At the end of his military service, Judge Spigner entered the University of South Carolina School of Law from which he graduated in 1949. After completing graduate work at Duke University, he engaged in private practice in Aiken and Columbia. He was appointed Assistant Attorney General of South Carolina in 1960 and in 1967 was elected Family Court Judge of Richland County, a public service he performed with compassion and vision until his retirement in 1980.
Judge Spigner exerted a strong influence on the development of children’s services in South Carolina. During his tenure as Family Court Judge, he wrought major progressive changes in the structure and process of the Juvenile Justice System in South Carolina, injecting a positive philosophy into a routine and somewhat punitive program. He placed great emphasis on the protection of the constitutional rights of all children. One of his most important and innovative contributions was his program to broaden treatment and intervention alternatives for troubled and delinquent youth by coordinating the court process with services of state agencies and local organizations. Through a program of education, he brought a keen awareness of the needs of the Court. Public participation through his volunteer program enhanced and gave life to the guardian ad litem program, an effective and vital adjunct of the Court today.
Even after his retirement, Judge Spigner continued as an advocate for families and troubled youth through his service on the South Carolina Juvenile Justice Council.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, James McNary Spigner, Jr. and Karen Humphries Spigner; daughter and son-in-law, Carroll Spigner Bruno and Lucien Vincent Bruno, Ⅲ; three grandchildren, Andrea Meghan Spigner, Farrell Elise Spigner and Olivia Paige Spigner; and a step–grandson, Lucien Vincent Bruno.