Thomas More University will honor the late Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer ’53, an alumnus and longtime servant leader at the University, through the renaming of the annual Lawyers Lunch to the Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer ’53 Lawyers Lunch.
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Justice Wintersheimer died peacefully at his home in Covington, Ky. on February 18, 2021.
“Late last month, the University and law community lost an icon in the passing of Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer ’53,” said President Chillo. “He was a brilliant lawyer, scholar, and teacher who epitomized the values that Sir Thomas More instilled upon many generations of lawyers and others who have had an impact on our society. We are honored to remember and recognize Justice Wintersheimer’s legacy through the renaming of our Lawyers Lunch.”
Wintersheimer served the University in many capacities since his graduation from Villa Madonna College (now Thomas More University) in 1953. He held the roles of former adjunct instructor of business law, former president of the Thomas More Alumni Association Board, and as a lead member of the Planning Committee and honorary chairman of the annual Lawyers Lunch for decades. He was also a recipient of an Outstanding Teacher Award in 1975. His wife, Alice, is also an alumna who graduated in 1956.
“It was Justice Wintersheimer who immediately agreed to serve first on the Planning Committee and later as the honorary chairman of the event every year for decades,” said Ray Hebert, Ph.D., dean of the university emeritus, in regard to Wintersheimer’s impact on the Lawyers Lunch. “This event will not be the same without him, but those who attend it will now know how special the event was to him and what it means to us to forever celebrate our patron saint’s birthday in his name.”
In addition to honoring Justice Wintersheimer’s legacy by naming this event after him, the University has announced an initiative to secure $50,000 in donations to permanently endow the lunch in his name and ensure that the Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer ’53 Lawyers Lunch will exist in perpetuity.
Justice Wintersheimer was raised in Bellevue, attended grade school at Sacred Heart Elementary, and graduated from Newport Catholic High School. He received an A.B. degree from Villa Madonna College (now Thomas More University) in 1953 and proudly served in the U.S. Army Infantry from 1953 to 1955. He then received an M.A. degree from Xavier University in 1957, and his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1960.
Throughout his life, Justice Wintersheimer was an extraordinarily hard worker, who was always humble and kind, and committed to securing justice for all. He began his legal career in private practice and served as the City Solicitor for Covington for fourteen years.
He soon became known as a pioneer in the area of consumer protection and was characterized as the proverbial “Don Quixote” battling the windmills of the powerful utility companies. Justice Wintersheimer won that battle and many others obtaining a $1.3 million refund for Northern Kentucky consumers. In 1976, he was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals where he served until his election to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 1982. He was re-elected three times and served on the Kentucky Supreme Court for 24 years until his retirement at the end of 2006. Justice Wintersheimer was the most prolific opinion writer in Kentucky history, averaging over 50 opinions each year.