CORRIGAN, HON. JOHN V. (April 3, 1920 -December 21, 2004) served 42 years as a judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, and Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, exercising leadership within the judicial profession and in the community-at-large, to improve the administration of justice and to aid the delivery of health and social services by Cleveland and national organizations.
John Vincent Corrigan was born in Cleveland to firefighter Peter J. and Collette (Gibbons) Corrigan. He graduated from ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL in 1938 and JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY in 1943. Corrigan then joined the U.S. Army and served in WWII as a medical technician sergeant earning battle stars in all five campaigns of the European theater of the war. After the war, Corrigan attended law school at Western Reserve University (now CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY), graduating with other GIs in an accelerated post-war program in 1948.
Corrigan was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1948, opened a private law practice in downtown Cleveland, and ran for and was elected to the office of Ohio State Representative in 1950 as a Democrat. He and John T. Corrigan (later longtime Cuyahoga County Prosecutor), who followed him to the Ohio General Assembly in 1952, were the first two Corrigan-surnamed elected officials in Cuyahoga County, a surname that has since been shared by more than 27 other candidates. Corrigan was appointed judge to the Cleveland Municipal Court in 1953, the youngest person ever appointed to a municipal court by an Ohio governor. He was elected to the seat later that year. In 1956, he became the youngest person to be elected to the trial court of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, an election he won by a substantial margin. He ran unopposed in his next four elections. He was elected Presiding Judge by his colleagues. He was elected unopposed to the appellate bench of the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals in 1972, serving two six-year terms. Retiring from the Appellate Court in January 1991, Corrigan carried out a senior appointment to the court by special assignment through 1995.
Corrigan worked for the betterment of the judicial profession. As a leader in the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts, he promoted the individual docket system that revolutionized the way cases are handled by trial courts in big cities nationwide. He co-chaired the effort to rebuild the county courts and jail, chaired the writing of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, and actively participated in the American Judicature Society, a national, independent, non-partisan organization that seeks to protect the integrity of the American justice system.
As a judge and a community volunteer, Corrigan helped a variety of hospital and community welfare organizations to work together to maximize the impact of their services to troubled and impoverished youth, including the Cleveland Welfare Federation (now the CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS), St. Vincent Charity Hospital Nursing School, Marycrest School for Girls, Hawthornden State Hospital, and the Greater Cleveland Safety Council. Recognizing spiritual development as an important service component, he joined the national board of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic organization whose motto is to “end poverty through systemic change,” and participated in the Guild of the Good Shepherd, a group that promotes the religious formation of young people.
Corrigan had a particular dedication to the Irish Cultural Garden and the entire chain of CLEVELAND CULTURAL GARDENS. At a time in the late 1950s and 1960s, when community investment in the gardens had waned, he was often a key speaker at events in the Cultural Gardens.
Corrigan was honored by his alma maters, the judicial profession, and other community organizations. He co-founded the Saint Ignatius Loyola Alumni Association in 1948, and the school named its distinguished alumni award after him. He received the prestigious Herbert L. Haley Award from the American Judicature Society, the Saint Thomas More Award from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s Lawyers Guild, and the 2000 WALKS OF LIFE AWARD from the Irish American Archives Society.
John V. Corrigan was married for 54 years at the time of his death to Eileen (Hopkins) Corrigan. Together they had three sons, Thomas D., John J., and Daniel P., and four daughters, Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis, Clare Corrigan Woidke, Kate Corrigan Tompkins, and Eileen Corrigan Smoot. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in BROOK PARK, OH.
Daniel Brennan and David Patrick Ryan