Visit the Archive

Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Toledo Legal News - News Family, neighborhood, teacher & church guided Judge Doneghy

 

photo of Judge Charles J. DoneghyJudge Charles J. Doneghy’s father left when he was six. Young Charles was the third of four children. Mom, Bessie, had a high school education. She cleaned houses, took in other families’ clothes and laundered them. At six in the morning she would bundle up with two or three sweaters against the winter cold and make her way to the bus while her children went off to school. In the summer the Doneghy children would stay with their grandfather until Bessie had finished her work for the day.

“I was with my grandfather almost on a daily basis. He kind of talked to me as if I were an adult. I was like a little old man at a young age. He taught me the priority of values: the greatest value being that of the Church; secondly the value of the family unit and the requirement that you take care of family; thirdly, the value of community involvement.” Armed with his mother’s love and his grandfather’s advice, Charles Doneghy would serve his country, sit on the bench of two different courts and eventually sit on the board of St. Vincent’s Medical Center where his mother once worked as a maid.

If Judge Doneghy’s success began anywhere outside of the family, then it started when a high school teacher told him he probably shouldn’t dream about being a doctor. “Don’t ask me where I got the thought from, but I wanted to be either a pediatrician or a research scientist. During my freshman year, a teacher, a very sincere, very wonderful teacher, advised me that maybe I should pick another field because they didn’t have any, quote Negroes, which then was the proper term, in those areas. There was a great deal of truth in what she was saying for those times.”

Further talks with the teacher set Judge Doneghy’s mind towards business. At the time, President Truman had opened up government jobs for minorities. “She was very sincere, so I decided that I would major in book-keeping.”

After graduating high school, Doneghy was accepted at UT and majored in accounting with the thought of becoming a CPA. He stuck it out even though by his junior year he had realized that he didn’t like accounting all that much.

To help with the expenses of college, Judge Doneghy entered the Army ROTC program. Upon graduating he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant assigned to the Finance Corp. He received a deferment which allowed him to begin taking classes at the University of Toledo’s Law School. “UT Law was a part time school so I didn’t think I could go there. With my commission I thought I would have to go into the service. But I called and found out that if I went to UT year round I could get deferments.”

After receiving his Juris Doctor in 1965, Judge Doneghy entered into the Service and was sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. “That was Finance Corp.’s basic training. I’ve forgotten how many weeks we were there. At the end of that we received our orders for where we would be shipped. Initially I was going to be shipped to Fort Lewis Washington on the West Coast. I was to be assigned to Garrison Finance.” That was a training post for finance officers who were going to be deployed to Vietnam. However, at the last minute his marching orders were changed and the Judge ended up being assigned to Fort Totten in New York. Being posted there meant a decrease in his odds of being sent to Vietnam, but it was not without problems and hardships.

“I was promoted to 1st lieutenant. When the finance offer in command was sent to the embassy in Germany, Judge Doneghy was put in charge of the Fort’s books. “They looked around for a replacement for the officer awhile. Finally the folks at the headquarters for the 2nd Army said, ‘Wait, there’s a young fella there with a major in accounting and a law degree, what more do you want?’ There was some suggestion that there may have been some race issue involved but ultimately I became the commanding finance officer.” When the Judge was made commanding finance officer, it was decided that Fort Totten would be closed. “I was charged with this awesome responsibility for closing this account worth many millions of dollars. You know, when you’re just leaving and someone else is coming in you can kind of fudge some stuff and pass things on. But when you’re closing an office, everything has to balance. Everything has to zero out. I did a lot of praying.”

The Judge made it through just fine and after his stint in the Army was up, he returned to Toledo and began practicing law. In 1969 he was made an Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor and in 1977 became the Chief Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor.

During this time the Judge became good friends with a number of people who are still important to him including Joseph Flores. “One of the most meaningful and memorable relationships I’ve had and still have is with Joseph Flores. I’ve known Joe since I was just out of high school, but we didn’t become good friends until I was out of the Service. We became brothers, as close to literally as you can.”

He was also friends with the Resnicks and helped both of them in their judicial campaigns. They, in turn, helped him with his.

“I never really envisioned myself as being someone who was going to hold public service.” The Resnicks talked him into running for Municipal Court. Doneghy was running up against a sitting judge and didn’t give himself good odds of winning but, “I went into that campaign running to win.” And win he did. “The money began to flow in, the people were there. By the time election night was there I must have had 100 plus people out there. It was just so humbling, being in something like this and be blessed with people who gave up their resources and time.”

After five years there he was appointed to the Common Pleas court by then Governor Richard Celeste. He has since been re-elected three times.

Any man who starts where Judge Doneghy began and finishes where he ended up knows that he did not go it alone. Judge Doneghy had his mother, his grandfather, his close and dear friends. He also had the Toledo community to help support him in times of need. “My neighborhood was phenomenal. There were any number of people who knew the commitment my mother had to our family. She was truly a saint, she sacrificed everything for her children. And everyone knew that and always said, ‘Now, you do what your mother says’. And they all sort of looked out for us.”

And now that he can, Judge Doneghy, along with his wife Lera, gives back to his community and tries to impart the values he learned from his grandfather onto a new generation. “I remain very active in community organizations. I remained a resident of one of the poorest sections of town until my house was literally too small for my family.

“I have had any number of youngsters end up on my porch. We’d have discussions and it’s just wonderful for these kids in deprived neighborhoods to be able to see professional people driving to work. It really is surprising how little it can take to give a young person that ray of hope.”

Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

A+ advice for a successful school year

(BPT) The first days of school are filled with excitement and pangs of anxiety, but it doesn't take long for high school and college students to fall into a routine. Adjusting to the new reality of school can be difficult, but it's the steps students take now that determine their success throughout the school year.

Date Published: September 22, 2017

Statewide investments to create more than $115 million in new payroll

Governor John R. Kasich recently announced the approval of assistance for 8 projects set to create 3,792 new jobs and retain 459 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $115 million in new payroll, and spur more than $377 million in investments across Ohio.

Date Published: September 22, 2017

UT Rockets rally to tame Tulsa, 54-51

On a night in which the University of Toledo honored some of the greatest players in its 100-year history, the Rockets and senior quarterback Logan Woodside came through with a performance worthy of the ages.

Date Published: September 22, 2017

Bill designed to protect public from pyramid schemes

As state lawmakers make their return to the Ohio Statehouse at the conclusion of the summer recess, members of the Ohio House of Representatives are expected to consider a bill designed to strengthen consumer protection and protect the public from pyramid schemes.

Date Published: September 21, 2017

Doctor, wife plead guilty to running pill mill

David Kirkwood, 61, and Beverly Kirkwood, 50, of Dayton, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to health care fraud. David Kirkwood also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful drug trafficking.

Date Published: September 20, 2017

Fentanyl, Carfentanil and Cocaine drive increase in drug overdose deaths in 2016

Ohio’s opioid epidemic continued to evolve in 2016 with stronger drugs driving an increase in unintentional overdose deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The report shows a sharp rise in overdose deaths involving the opioid fentanyl, the emergence of more deadly fentanyl-related drugs like carfentanil, and indications that cocaine is now being used with fentanyl and other opiates. The report also contains some promising news – the fewest prescription opioid overdose deaths since 2009.

Date Published: September 20, 2017

7 'little' upgrades that can mean a lot to homebuyers

(BPT) Anyone who's ever bought or sold a home knows how even little things can sway a buyer to feel a particular house is "just right." While major features such as a good location, a big kitchen, and a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms all drive a home's price and how attractive it is to buyers, small details like fresh paint and new faucets can also help clinch a sale.

Date Published: September 19, 2017

Attorney General DeWine highlights need for more foster families due to opioid crisis; unveils new resources for prospective foster families

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging Ohioans to consider becoming foster parents as the need for foster families has dramatically increased in the face of the opioid epidemic. DeWine's call to action came at a news conference this morning where he also announced several efforts to help becoming a foster parent easier, including expediting background checks.

Date Published: September 19, 2017

Credit union or bank: What's right for you?

(BPT) The banking and credit union worlds are as much the same as they are different. Both are eager to earn your business and to provide you with loans, mortgages, savings and checking accounts. With that said, there are some significant differences between the two financial institutions. In today's world, with cutthroat competition for your money, it's worth understanding the advantages of both, and perhaps making a switch to one or the other to put yourself in a better financial position.

Date Published: September 19, 2017

How the state you live in affects your college savings strategy

(BPT) The cost of a four-year college degree now hovers around the $100,000 mark, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. While high college costs seem universal these days, college savings strategies are far from a one-size-fits-all. Many factors influence how you'll save for college, including your children's ages when you start saving, what schools they might want to attend, and how old you'll be when they enter college.