Ted M. Warshafsky
Ted M. Warshafsky died peacefully at home in Milwaukee on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at age 85, after suffering from a stroke on November 17, 2011.
Ted was born in St. Louis Missouri on December 6, 1926 to Ida (Wachs) Warshafsky and Israel “Izzy” Warshafsky. Ted will be sadly missed and dearly remembered by his 5 children Beth, Michael (Sinde Fitz), Lynn (Jim Hubbard), Lisa (Eric Loof) and Bill (Mandy Mortimer), his grandchildren Margaux, Sofie, Quinn, Lydia and Teddy, his brother Shepard (Shirley) Whitman and his loving companion Debra K. Riedel. Ted’s love for family was the most important thing to him, and his life revolved around it.
Warshafsky was a passionate man and his passion extended into every aspect of his life; as a lawyer and advocate for justice, as a participant in local and national politics, as an outdoorsman and fisherman and as a world traveler and avid reader. He loved Wisconsin and it’s natural beauty, and spent a lot of time fishing and getting his hands dirty planting trees and flowers at his lake home in Jefferson County. He was an active person who loved to talk but would often stand quietly watching nature’s ebb and flow.
This appreciation for nature and justice led to a suit against Exxon after the Valdez oil spill in 1989, on behalf of the fish and wildlife of Alaska for the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, an organization he helped found in 1982.
Warshafsky was a man who lived by his values and brought these values into his family life. His older children participated in school boycotts in the 60‘s for desegregation and with him marched along side Father Groppi in 1967 to Kosciuszko Park to support an open housing ordinance. Conversations around the dinner table often included the important social issues of the day.
His passion for justice led him in 1968, to step away from his law practice to serve as the field finance director for Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign, and as vice chairman of McCarthy’s delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago where he nominated Julian Bond for Vice President.
His law firm formed a charitable foundation which distributes scholarships to needy, deserving young people in Milwaukee and continues to be active in pro bono work and in supporting groups such as the Milwaukee Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, the League of Martin, and the Police Athletic League, and various other civic groups whose focus is to improve the quality of life in Milwaukee.
Warshafsky graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1952. A widely acclaimed personal injury lawyer, he was a teacher and mentor to generations of leading lawyers throughout the country, lecturing to bar associations and law schools including Harvard and the University of Wisconsin. He authored ‘Trial Handbook for Wisconsin Lawyers,’ a compendium covering every circumstance and issue of Wisconsin civil and criminal trial law and is the author of numerous articles in the Wisconsin Law Review.
He was a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and a diplomat on the American Board of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and International Society of Barristers. He served as national secretary for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and president of both the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. Past President of Wisconsin Academy for Trial Lawyers (Wisconsin Association for Justice) and President of the local chapter of the ACLU, he was selected for inclusion in the 2008 Wisconsin Super Lawyers. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Wisconsin Leaders in the Law by the Wisconsin Law Journal and this year was named as one of the 100 top trial lawyers in the United States by the American Trial Lawyers Association.
A memorial service will be held on October 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm at the Milwaukee War Memorial Center, Memorial Hall located at 750 N Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee, (414) 273-5533. Parking is available in the North lot. Reception to follow. Everyone is welcome.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to “The Holton Youth & Family Center,” 510 East Burleigh, Milwaukee, WI 53212, “League of Martin,” PO Box 90418, Milwaukee, WI 53209 or “Hunger Task Force,” www.hungertaskforce.org/donate/ are appreciated.