Warren Francis Plunkett, 98
Warren Francis Plunkett, 98, passed away peacefully on Dec. 30, 2018 in Austin, Minnesota, due to complications of pneumonia.
He was born on Aug. 4, 1920, in St. Paul to Hugh Plunkett and Lillian Klein. The Plunkett family moved to Austin in 1927 when his father joined the practice of Wright and Nelson, a predecessor law firm of Plunkett Law Office, P.C., in which his son, Peter, currently practices. He was raised in Austin with brothers Hugh Jr., Richard and Roger, and sister, Jean, along with his orphaned first cousins, Richard and Jack Diercks. Judge Plunkett graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1938. He played on their undefeated football team, the Shamrocks.
Judge Plunkett graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1942, where he played football on Coach Bernie Bearman’s undefeated 1940 and 1941 National Championship teams. He won the 1941 University of Minnesota intramural heavyweight Golden Gloves boxing championship. He was also a member of the Chi Psi fraternity. Upon graduation, Judge Plunkett played professional football with the Cleveland Rams during the 1942 season. He was inducted into Pacelli High School Hall of Fame in 2008.
Judge Plunkett served in the U.S. Navy as Lt. j.g. Boat Group Commander from Sept. 1, 1943, to March 1, 1946, aboard the U.S.S. Sitka in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. He married Eleanor Irma Lampert (Ellie) on March 31, 1944, at Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida. Upon discharge from military service, he attended the University of Minnesota Law School on the GI Bill. There he served on the Law Review, graduating Cum Laude in 1948. He was elected President of the Law School Council as well as to the Iron Wedge Honor Society. Judge Plunkett was also a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and worked as the teaching assistant to Professor William Lockhart in 1946-47.
In 1948, Judge Plunkett joined the family law firm in Austin, where he practiced with his father and three brothers. He was admitted to the Minnesota State Bar as well as to the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. In 1955, Gov. Orville Freeman appointed him to the Third Judicial District Court bench, where he served for 26 years. Judge Plunkett served as President of the Minnesota District Court Judges Association in 1976. He also served as President of the Mower County Bar Association. He held memberships in the Minnesota State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Judge Plunkett was a member of St. Edwards Catholic Church and served as an altar boy during his youth at St. Augustine Catholic Church. He was in the Knights of Columbus, achieving the rank of fourth degree. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and traveling and coached youth hockey. He also enjoyed flying and had a private pilot’s IFR rated license. He was a principal shareholder of the Minnesota Surety and Trust Company as well as the First Heartland Surety Casualty and Insurance Company. In 1959, He and Ellie purchased the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Elam Home in Austin, where he lived for 59 years.
Judge Plunkett was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth Lillian Klein and Hugh Valentine Plunkett Sr.; his first wife, Eleanor Irma Lampert; their son, Warren Jr.; siblings, Hugh Valentine Jr. (Lorraine Lampert), Richard Harding (Ann Marie Leddy), Judge Roger Stephen (Helen Elizabeth Williams) and Cecelia Jeanne (Thomas V. Skutt, Jr); and by his third wife, Jean Bublitz (widow of Robert Trow).
He is survived by their children, Dianne (Daniel Walter Latham), Lynda (Gregory Wright and their son Grant (Michelle Haschka) and adopted son Denis), as well as Peter with his son, Daran; his second wife, Audrey Erickson (widow of Ernie Larson); their daughter, Gail (David Haskins); their grandchildren, Carter Haskins and Christian John Haskins; and great-grandchildren, Cecelia Wright and Everett Wright.
A Mass of the Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church, 2000 W. Oakland Ave. in Austin. Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at the Mayer Funeral Home, 600 Second St. NW in Austin as well as one hour before Mass on Saturday at the church. Interment at Calvary Cemetery will follow Mass with military rites by American Legion Post 91 and VFW Post 1216. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Pacelli Catholic Schools or to Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer and dementia research. Condolences may be left online at www.mayerfh.com.