Judge William Francis Chinnock, age 83, attorney, legislator,
activist, and judge, passed away August 29th, 2021 peacefully at home
in Boulder, Colorado.
Judge Chinnock’s first job as a teenager was mopping floors during
his high-school summers at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in
Cleveland, Ohio, where he also worked his way through college and law
school as a custodian and night watchman. He then joined the United
States Navy and served as a Seaman aboard the “Frogman Ship” in the
Mediterranean Sea. Upon discharge, he attended John Carroll
University, as an undergraduate, and then received his doctor of
jurisprudence degree from Western Reserve University School of Law. As
a practicing lawyer, he was known as an in-depth researcher and
courtroom advocate who represented many clients in their legal
matters, often without fees.
During his 16 years as Lakewood, Ohio Councilman, in the 1970’s and
1980’s he initiated scores of progressive laws and programs designed
to benefit health and safety. Many of these he pioneered were
duplicated as model laws and enacted in communities throughout the
After practicing law for 35 years, Chinnock was appointed by Ohio
Governor George Voinovich as Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge.
Judge Chinnock went on to serve as a Visiting Judge in almost half of
Ohio’s 88 counties by special assignment of the Ohio Supreme Court.
He was an avid researcher of the law, and a number of his legal
opinions and law review articles were published in prominent law
journals, including “No Smoking Around Children” published in the
University of Arizona Law Review (2002).
Judge Chinnock happily spent his retirement years in the Rocky
Mountains above Boulder, Colorado.
He is survived by his children; his sisters Mickey O’Brien (née Chinnock)
and Eileen Lashutka (née Chinnock); and his constant companion dog, Cassidy.
A memorial mass for the repose of his soul, and to honor his life in
Boulder, will be held on Wednesday, December 1st at 9:30 am MST at St.
Thomas Aquinas Church at 14th and Aurora Streets, Boulder, CO.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Ignatius High School
Scholarship Fund, Cleveland, Ohio or the Southern Poverty Law Center
in Montgomery, Alabama (https://www.splcenter.org/).