LYBARGER, DONALD FISHER (19 Dec. 1896-6 Nov. 1970), lawyer, served as recorder of Cuyahoga County (1933-50) and judge in the Court of Common Pleas from 1950-69 (chief justice from 1967-69, then chief justice emeritus). A man of liberal views, he asked in 1963 that his name be removed from the rolls of the Sons of the American Revolution, after a 42-year membership, due to the the national group's "totalitarianism" and racism. Lybarger was born in Harrisburg, PA, to Jesse J. Lybarger and his second wife, Margaret Schuler Fisher. He attended the Friends' School and public schools in Wilmington, DE, graduated from Gettysburg Academy in 1915, and completed a degree at Gettysburg College with first honors in 1919. Lybarger served in U.S. Navy during WORLD WAR I. He came to Cleveland in 1920 to attend law school at Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY). The year he graduated, 1923, Lybarger was admitted to the bar; he joined the CLEVELAND BAR ASSOCIATION in 1925. He served with the firm of Horn, Weisell, McLaughlin & Lybarger until 1945.

In 1932 Lybarger was elected recorder of Cuyahoga County (see CUYAHOGA COUNTY GOVERNMENT), succeeding Lyman Newell; during his tenure, he intiated cost-saving measures. He was elected to the court of common pleas in 1949. As County Recorder, Lybarger was instrumental in WPA work relief during the New Deal years in Cleveland. Lybarger served as official sponsor of the HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY (HRS) Annals of Cleveland project which produced the Cleveland Newspaper Digest (covering years 1819-1875), the Cleveland Court Records Series (1837-1877), the Register of Cleveland Office Holders (1802-1852), as well as the Foreign Language Newspaper Digest (1937-1938) and Index to Cleveland Periodicals.

Lybarger married Cornelia Marjorie Hartshorne on 16 Sept 1924; they had four children, Cornelia (Mrs. Henry) Neuswanger, Virginia (Mrs. James R.) Patterson, Lee, and Leonard. Cornelia Lybarger died on 4 Nov 1953. Lybarger married Helen Baldwin Dean on 7 Aug 1956 in Harrisburg. Both he and his new wife were active members of Lakewood Presbyterian Church. A life-long stamp collector, Lybarger served as president of the American Philatelic Society. He belonged to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, presided over the EARLY SETTLERS ASSOCIATION OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, and served on the board of WOMAN'S GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Donald F. Lybarger Papers, Series I, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Donald F. Lybarger Papers, Series II, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Donald F. Lybarger Family Photographs, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Donald F. Lybarder Photographs, WRHS.

Article Categories