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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Longtime Court of Appeals Judge William Irwin Garrard passes away

Judge William Irwin Garrard loved the law and loved writing about the law. He wrote in the style of Hemenway. Whether written or spoken, his opinions were concise and clear. A colleague once called him the “Haiku” judge.


Judge William Irwin Garrard October 16,1932 - June 2, 2023

His legal career began when he enrolled at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Law in 1956, From IU Bloomington, he received his JD degree, with distinction, and became a member of Order of the Coif, in 1959. After law school, Garrard began his legal career with the Warsaw, Indiana, firm Graham, Rasor, Eschbach & Harris. He practiced law with the firm for the next 15 years, also serving as Deputy Prosecutor from 1959 to 1969. In 1974, Governor Otis Bowen appointed Garrard to the Indiana Court of Appeals. He was reelected to the bench in 1976, 1986 and 1996. He also served as presiding judge of the Third District for three terms. In 1990, Judge Garrard earned his LL.M. from the University of Virginia Law School, becoming the first Indiana judge to attend the school’s master’s degree program for sitting judges. Garrard served more than 26 years on the bench, before retiring in 2000 and becoming a Senior Judge of the Court of Appeals. Garrard served as an adjunct professor at the IU School of Law, Bloomington, for 10 years and is a past president of the law school’s Alumni Association. He has also served as a faculty member at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and as a lecturer in trial and appellate practice seminars. He has presented at seminars for the Indiana State Bar Association, ICLEF, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Garrard is a recipient of Wabash College’s David Peck Medal, three Sagamore of the Wabash awards (given by Governors Bowen, Evan Bayh, and Frank O'Bannon,) and the Indiana State Bar Association’s Presidential Citation. William Irwin Garrard was inducted into the Indiana University School of Law Academy of Law Alumni Fellows in 2000. Garrard has served as president of the Kosciusko County Bar Association; vice chairman and parliamentarian of the Indiana Supreme Court Rules Committee; and secretary of the Indiana State Bar Association. He has also served as president of the Warsaw Rotary Club; president of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce; founding director of the Kosciusko Community YMCA; elder and president of the board of trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Warsaw; and president of the Kosko Conservation Club. Judge Garrard is also a past president of the Indiana University School of Law. Bloomington Law Alumni Association. He was inducted into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows (2000). Garrard was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 16, 1932. He was raised by his mother, Doris Garrard, and his grandparents, in Frankfort, Indiana. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1950. Garrard earned his B.A. degree in 1954 from Wabash College. After college, Garrard served in the US Army for two years. It was in keeping with his interest that he was awarded a medal for (rifle) sharpshooting. His wife, Linda L. Chezem, survives him. Also surviving him are his children, Michael (Nancy Gawrys) Garrard, Kathleen (Doug) West, Kelly (Alan) Smith and a daughter of the heart, Sally Ann Wood, and Andrew J. Wood. His nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren also survive.

Suggestions for those who wish to make contributions in his memory include The Irwin Garrard Pre-Law Prize at Wabash College, Van Cleve Community Church, Van Cleve Cemetery Association, Inc. or a charity of your choice. Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm on Monday, June 12, 2023, at the Van Cleve Community Church in Brazil, IN with Rick Wetnight officiating. Military Rites will be accorded by the Brazil American Legion Post #0002. The Ferguson-Lee Chapel of Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes in Bedford has been entrusted with Judge Garrard’s care. Remembrances and condolences may be shared at www.FergusonLee.com.--

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