Joe O. Eaton graduated from Presbyterian College in 1945, after serving in the Air Force during World War II. While in the Air Force, Lt. Eaton, a medium bomber pilot, won an Air medal with three Oak Leaf clusters. He also received a citation from General Ira Eaker, commander of the Eighth US Air Force in England. When he left the service, he worked his way through the University of Florida Law School by playing baseball in the Florida State League. He served as an assistant state attorney, as a state senator representing Dade County, and later as a trial judge, Circuit Court Judge, and District Judge. He was honored by his alma mater in 1974 with the Alumni Gold P award, and in 1978 with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.