Former Ky. chief justice Steinfeld dies at 101

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Samuel Steinfeld, a former chief justice of Kentucky's highest court, has died. He was 101.

Steinfeld died on Thursday at Jefferson Manor, said his son, James Steinfeld of Louisville.

Samuel Steinfeld was elected in 1966 to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, then Kentucky's highest court.

"My dad was dedicated to anything that he went into," whether it was the law, politics, civic leadership or his family, said James Steinfeld, a third-generation attorney. "He loved the law, I can tell you that."

Steinfeld was born Feb. 15, 1906, in Louisville. He followed his father, Emile Steinfeld, through the University of Louisville law school and graduated in 1928. He then joined his father's law firm, Gifford & Steinfeld, where he'd been working since 1922.

Steinfeld became a partner in Steinfeld & Steinfeld with his father in 1935, and practiced there until 1966. Son James is now a partner in the Steinfeld legal practice.

"He never would get excited, maybe that's what his key" to longevity was, his son said. "He took things in a very analytical way. ... He had virtually no temper."

Steinfeld, a Republican, served on the Court of Appeals from 1967 to 1975 and became chief justice in 1972. As chief justice, he reported to the General Assembly that an intermediary court was needed to ease the volume of cases heard by the Court of Appeals and the resulting backlog.

"We're constantly groping for things we can do to save a few minutes here and there," Steinfeld told The Courier-Journal.

The court system was reorganized a few years later in 1975 when a constitutional amendment added an intermediary appeals court and the highest court became the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Steinfeld officially retired from the bench the same year but continued to serve as a special judge in Jefferson Circuit Court until 1985 as well as in some appointments in U.S. District Court. He also taught some courses at the University of Louisville's law school.

Steinfeld's wife of 78 years, Flora, died in April. He met her when he was 12 years old and told his mother upon the meeting, "I'm going to marry that girl," James Steinfeld said.

"They went through the Great Depression together," James Steinfeld said. "He was dedicated to my mother."

The graveside service scheduled for Sunday will be private. Herman Meyer & Son Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Information from: The Courier-Journal,

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