Longtime attorney McNutt dead at 90

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Robert McNutt, a renowned Mississippi attorney and former partner in Tupelo’s Mitchell McNutt amp& Sams law firm, was remembered this week by friends and colleagues for his keen intellect and passion for learning.
McNutt, who died Friday, was 90. A memorial service was held Monday.
McNutt launched his career with the firm 60 years ago, helping build it from a small practice to one of the state’s largest. Today, Mitchell, McNutt amp& Sams has more than 30 attorneys and handles some of the region’s biggest accounts.
“He was a man with exceptional intellect and was held in the highest regard within our profession and also was quite esteemed within the Mississippi Bar,” said Nina Stubblefield Tollison, president of the state Bar Association. “When we lose an older esteemed member of the profession, it’s a loss for the bar as a whole.”
A Tupelo native and lifelong resident, McNutt graduated from Tupelo High School in 1938 and then went on to earn three degrees – a bachelor’s from Vanderbilt, an LLB from the University of Mississippi and an LLM from Harvard.
He ranked top in his class each time, said his former law partner and friend, Guy Mitchell III.
“Bob was probably the smartest person I’ve known,” Mitchell said. “His memory was remarkable. His quest for knowledge was one of his most engaging traits. When Bob became interested in a particular subject or aspect of life or the law, he was passionate about it. He wanted to learn as much as he could about it.”
McNutt not only helped the firm grow, but also mentored numerous young lawyers as they joined the practice. Even after retiring in 1985, he continued to advise the staff until 2000.
He also harbored many avid passions, including tropical fish, traveling and wine tasting.
“Bob was the only person I know who judged ‘blind’ wine tastings on a national and international level,” Mitchell said. “He was elected Mr. Gourmet by the Society of Bacchus, the only person from the South outside of New Orleans to be so honored.”
In addition to his career and hobbies, McNutt served in the U.S. Navy as a petty officer in the South Pacific during World War II.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret McNutt. Survivors include his daughter Anne McNutt Wilder, son-in-law Hoot Wilder, and grandchildren Margaret and Baxter Wilder.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.