Donald L. Allegrucci

Donald L. Allegrucci                   September 19, 1936 – November 8, 2014

 

Former Kansas Supreme Court Justice and State Senator Donald L. Allegrucci died peacefully in his home with family on November 8, 2014 following a battle with cancer.

 

A 20-year member of the Kansas Supreme Court, Allegrucci was known as an incredibly tough but fair jurist.  His career was one of distinction and dedication to the law and to protecting the constitutional rights of all people.  He believed an independent and impartial judiciary is the sacred right and final protection for every person in our democracy.

 

Prior to his service on the District Court and then the Supreme Court, Allegrucci earned experience in front of the bench as a prosecuting attorney and as an attorney in private practice. It has been reported that legal professionals came from around the area to watch Allegrucci as a young prosecuting attorney in the courtroom.  He was always well prepared, articulate and relentless in prosecuting criminals and in protecting the rights of individuals.

 

Allegrucci represented Crawford and Cherokee Counties in the Kansas Senate from 1976-1980. In his work as an elected official, Allegrucci was known as a man of his word.  When he made a commitment, he kept it.

 

Throughout his life of public service, Allegrucci was dedicated to social justice and equality. He was a sportsman and gun owner who, as a legislator, advanced common sense gun control legislation in order to protect Kansans, especially law enforcement.  He was an advocate for women’s rights who prosecuted the last illegal abortion case to the Supreme Court of Kansas prior to a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health being established by the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a former prosecutor who, as a State Senator, fought strongly against the death penalty as discriminatory – applied unevenly and unjustly.  He later called for repeal of the death penalty based upon its ineffectiveness and exorbitant cost to the state.

 

A timeline of the highlights of Allegrucci’s education and professional life:

·         Signed at 17-years-old to play professional baseball for the New York Yankees farm system 1954 – 1955. Traveling with teams throughout the South, Allegrucci was appalled at the Jim Crow laws he and his teammates encountered.

·         Worked as a fire suppression crew member for the United States Forest Service in Idaho and Washington – 1957 – 1958

·         Graduate of Pittsburg State Teachers College (now Pittsburg State University) – 1959; named Outstanding Alumni – 2003

·         U.S. Air Force pilot cadet training and Air Force Reserves – 1959-1966

·         Graduate of Washburn Law School – 1963

·         Assistant County Attorney, Butler County, Kansas – 1963-1966

·         Director of Mid-Kansas CAP – Community Action Program – 1966-1968

·         Attorney in private practice – Pittsburg, Kansas – 1967-1981

·         Kansas State Senator – 1976-1980

·         District Court Judge – 1982- 1986

·         Justice of Kansas Supreme Court – 1986-2007

 

Allegrucci was an accomplished athlete and outdoor enthusiast.  Stories of his exploits with area sports teams are legendary, from grade school to high school to his time as a Golden Gloves champion boxer.  He continued to play rough-and-tumble basketball at the YMCA in Pittsburg and Topeka until he was 70.  He played softball on community teams and participated in the Senior Olympics.  He bicycled until shortly before his final illness.  As his way to relax after arduous terms on the Court, he motorcycled around the western United States to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and across the eastern half of the country to Nova Scotia and across Canada. He ran daily for most of his life and enjoyed hiking in the Rocky Mountains with his family.  

 

His competitiveness and excellence in sports, his successful public service career, his devotion to his family and his commitment to justice and fairness for the environment, communities and people are well-known, and to a great degree the actions associated with these commitments defined who he was as a person. He displayed tenacity, independence, loyalty, competence, honesty, protectiveness and duty in all aspects of his life.

 

Allegrucci was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, September 19, 1936, to Nello and Josephine Allegrucci. He and Joyce Thompson were married on November 30, 1963 and have two sons, Scott Allegrucci, Lawrence, KS, Bo Allegrucci, Lincoln, NE and grandson Nello Allegrucci, Lawrence.  He is also survived by his brother Robert Allegrucci (Lori Sims) of Blue Ridge, GA along with numerous extended family members.

 

Justice Allegrucci will be cremated and private services held at a later date according to his wishes.

 

The Allegrucci family suggests memorial contributions in Justice Don Allegrucci’s honor be made to Earthjustice (“because the Earth needs a good lawyer”) or to The Stowers Institute for Medical Research).  Memorial contributions may be sent to Earthjustice or The Stowers Institute c/o The Far Shore, PO Box 863, Lawrence, KS 66044.

 

The family is grateful to the people of Stowers Institute, Kansas City, MO, for excellence in cancer and other critical medical research and guidance over many years and to the people of Midland Care Hospice, Topeka, KS for their most compassionate end-of-life care and support. The Allegrucci’s thank extended family and friends for their ongoing concern and comfort.

 

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23 “Donald L. Allegrucci

  1. Although this message is a little late, I was so sorry to hear of his passing. I would like to say I met Don through Senior Olympics softball tournaments and he was one “down to earth fellow.” He never wanted anyone to call him “Judge” but only Don. During our brief encounter we became good friends on the field and I had the opportunity to play in a Columbia, MO tournament on one of his teams. Since I was a third baseman and Don was a pull hitter down the line we has some challenge matches when playing against each other. I am sorry to hear of his passing and give the family my deepest sympathy. Don Siedenburg – now of Grants Pass, OR before Shawnee, KS.

  2. Joyce, Bo and family-
    We were so saddened to hear of Don’s passing. We will always treasure our memories of time spent with you at soooo many ball practices, games, tournaments and travel. What fun it was! The picture of Mike and Don huddled under an umbrella where both are laughing will always be one of our favorites! You are and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Our love to you and your family,
    Mike and Linda Sterling

  3. Joyce and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    With our deepest sympathy,
    Judge Tom and Judy Conklin and family

  4. Joyce & Family;

    May your family comfort in a life well lived and the memories of that life. May perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace.

    Tracy Gamino

  5. Dear Joyce,
    We were saddened to learn of Don’s death. Don was a great asset to the Court and to the state, and will be missed by all of us who were privileged to know and work with him.
    Pat & Char Brazil

  6. Dear Joyce,
    There are never adequate words but want you to know you and your family are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

    I didn’t know Justice Allegrucci except through his writing which I admired. I learned a lot from reading his opinions and tried to emulate his impartial application of the law….that he enforced an abortion law while trying to appeal it is a classic example of how to honor the rule of law.

    I do remember once sitting beside him at a bar show….I realized who he was after exchange of polite, silent smiles as I sat down. I remained frozen with social anxiety until the lights went out. I’ll always remember sharing laughs, however anonymously, with one of my heroes.

    Peace, Sue McKenna

  7. Joyce and family,
    Don was a special person and an inspiration to me. I was proud to consider him a friend. I especially admired his willingness to fight for what he believed in even if the odds were against him. So sorry.

    Kent Lynch

  8. This message is mainly to Bo. You have lost a loving father who taught you well over the years. You were such an attentive student and I am pleased to have been your science teacher at Jardine Middle School. You were always asking me about my family and husband. I am extending my condolences to you and your family from my family and me! May God richly bless you! Mrs C

  9. Joyce and Family,

    I just learned of Don’s passing, and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember sitting in the stands with you two, watching Bo and Dan play ball. Those were good times. He will be missed by all, and what a good man has left us. In our prayers you will remain.

    Love and peace,
    Alice and Family

  10. Joyce, Scott and Bo,
    Sorry to hear about your loss. He left such a great legacy with all of you. Don was a true hero in the State of Kansas. Prayers and blessings to you all,
    Kim and Thad Gerety

  11. To Joyce and the family. There aren’t many people in this world born to make a difference. Thinking of you every day and proud and honored that our paths crossed.

  12. Sorry about your loss. I played a lot of B-ball with “the Judge” over the years at the downtown Y. He was always a gentleman and a joy to be around besides being a good player. Mark Pierce.

  13. Joyce & Family, sorry to read this in the morning paper, now I know why you, Joyce could not answer a question about the election. I have so enjoyed my times with you during Kathleen’s campaign and wish you well in the future. Swede Swenson

  14. Joyce and family:
    I am so sorry for your loss. Altho I did not know Don I certainly knew of his wonderful reputation. I especially remember the incredible kindness and competency of Joyce as I volunteered with the Sebelius campaigns and worked for a while at the State House. My thoughts and prayers are with you during these difficult times. Altho I also have not met Scott I follow him on twitter and am very impressed with his articulate expressions and very much appreciate his posts.
    God be with you,
    Mary Fulton

  15. Scott, Jeani and I extend our sympathy to you and your family. What an amazing life and now we know where you inherited your passion for the environment. Blessings and prayers.
    Sincerely,
    Jeani & Gary Anderson
    Topeka Sierra Club

  16. Don and I served in the State Legislature together. His reasoned arguments always shined a light on the topic under discussion. Truly he was a man of many good works.

  17. My condolences for the loss of this great man. I knew him only on a professional level, and had the utmost respect for him.

  18. Dear Joyce, I served with you on the Board of Kansas Non Profit Association years ago and knew of your husband’s wonderful reputation as an attorney and a justice. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on your family’s loss. Justice Allegrucci certainly left our world in a better place than he found it.

    Susan Whitfield Harding

  19. Judge Allegrucci was a judge who cared deeply about fairness and justice. I enjoyed sharing many noon workouts with him at the YMCA in Topeka. My wife, Marcia, so appreciated her time working with Judge Allegrucci, saying more that once that “It was the best job I ever had.”

    The world was better for his life. In closing, I would offer the words of Thomas Campbell: “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

  20. Joyce and Family,
    My thoughts and prayers go with all of you. Don contributed so much to the people and State of Kansas and to SE KS. I feel very fortunate to have known him.
    Diana

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