Judge Donald T. Dorsey (Law/Government/Military)

1923 – 1999

Judge Dorsey was born in Meriden, the son of Patrick and Theresa Dorsey. He attended St. Rose School, Jefferson Junior High School, and Meriden High School, from which he graduated in 1941. After serving in U.S. Air Force from 1943-46, he entered Yale University.

Dorsey received his B.A. from Yale in 1949 and then went on to the University of Connecticut School of Law. After graduation in 1952, he became a member of the Connecticut Bar Association. Currently he is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the American Judicature Society. Before his appointment to the Connecticut Judiciary in 1972, Dorsey practiced law and served the City of Meriden as the Meriden Housing Authority Counsel in 1960 - 1961. He was named Corporation Counsel for Meriden in 1962 and was elected mayor in 1967 and in 1969. He resigned as mayor in 1971 to take an appointment as State Commissioner of Community Affairs. In 1972 he was appointed to the Circuit Court of Connecticut. Having reached mandatory retirement age, Dorsey will continue to serve in the Superior Court as a trial referee. A lifelong resident of Meriden, Judge Dorsey has given much of his spare time to serving on boards such as the Boys’ Club, the American Red Cross, the Meriden Symphony, the Curtis Home, the Rosa Ponselle Fund. He was recently elected to the Boys’ Club Hall of Fame. During his tenure as mayor, he proposed building programs which were initiated during his term as mayor, including: a new elementary school, Casimir Pulaski; additions to Maloney and Platt High Schools; the housing for the elderly at Community Towers; the new municipal library; the mid-town parking lot: the dog pound on East Road; the acquisition of land for Falcon Field and the city’s self-insurance program, which he initiated as Corporation Counsel in 1962. As a judge, his most complicated case was the one which arose as a result of the collapse of the Hartford Civic Center on January 18, 1978. Approximately 50 separate lawsuits were filed which were consolidated for a jury trial before Judge Dorsey. Judge Dorsey was an active trial judge for 21 years serving successfully in the Circuit Court, the Court of Common Pleas and the Superior Court. The father of six children, he resided with his wife, the former Katherine Gaffey, in Meriden, until his passing in 1999. For a complete listing, please visit our website WWW.MERIDENHALLOFFAME.ORG.

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