David Herr

Obituary of David Fulton Herr

David Fulton Herr died on December 22, 2021 at the age of 71, after a six-month long struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). With typical good humor he called ALS a horrible disease that was at least named after someone he admired. His final weeks were eased by the loving care of his wife of 35 years, Mary Kay Herr (nee Strand) and a steady stream of well-wishing family, friends and colleagues. David was preceded in death by his parents, Janet and Robert Herr. Besides Mary Kay, he is survived by sons, Ehrland Akasha Truitt (Molly) of Santa Fe, NM and Alec Fulton Herr of Boulder, CO; grandsons, Reyes Lucero of Boulder and Novic David Truitt of Santa Fe; siblings, Susan Herr Hopwood (Howard) of Milwaukee, WI, Barbara Herr Harthorn (Roy) of Santa Barbara, CA, and Andrew Fulton Herr of Dallas, TX; Also nieces and nephews, Lucy and Alex (Lauren) Herr, Jeffrey Harthorn, Patrick (Melanie), Ryan and Jonathan Miller, Kyle, Eric, Aaron (Torie) and Kate Bakke. David was born July 13, 1950 in the old Miller Hospital (now United Hospital) in St. Paul and with the exception of some high school and college years, was a lifelong booster and resident of St. Paul. He attended Linwood Park School, St. Paul Academy, and graduated from Adolfo Camarillo (Calif.) High School in 1968, which he attended for two years while his father managed a 3M plant there. He received a B.A. from the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) in 1972, majoring in Geology, English, and Political Science. While in college, he worked part-time at Boulder's famous 3.2-beer joint, Tulagi, and as a cook at a greasy-spoon called Mother's Café and Truck Stop. After graduating, he began waiting tables at a local elegant restaurant, The Greenbriar, where he began developing his lifelong interest in good food and good wine. He earned an M.B.A in Finance from CU and returned to St. Paul to begin law school at William Mitchell (now Mitchell Hamline College of Law), graduating with a J.D. cum laude in 1978. David clerked in Minnesota district court during law school, then began his career in litigation with the Minneapolis law firm Robins, Kaplan for three years. In 1981 he began his 40-year association with the Minneapolis law firm Maslon, LLP, in their Litigation Group, where he became a highly regarded appellate lawyer, complex case litigator, and managing partner. In addition to his day-to-day practice he had a lifelong commitment to giving back to the profession through teaching and publication. As an adjunct professor at William Mitchell for more than 30 years, David taught litigation, appellate practice, and federal practice and was a prolific author of textbooks on Minnesota and U.S. law. He also helped draft and amend the rules that govern Minnesota lawyers and judges in every facet of civil practice through his work as a reporter for multiple Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory committees. He regularly argued cases in the Minnesota Appellate courts and the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. His honors included serving as president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, president of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters, and he was recently named a by Minnesota Lawyer. On December 3, 2021, he was honored at a Lifetime Achievement Celebration with citations from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, sitting and retired Minnesota Supreme Court judges, and Maslon colleague and friend Cooper Ashley, among other colleagues-all of whom cited David's professionalism, visionary leadership, his love of appeal work, and his generous mentoring of students and young lawyers. He freely gave time and expertise to pro bono work such serving on the board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota; co-founding and serving on the board of the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society; and community service including serving as chair and board member of the United Hospital Foundation for more than 15 years. He responded with gratitude to the Lifetime Achievement Celebration with the following words: "My life at the bar has hardly been an exercise in self-sacrifice. I got at least as much out of anything I have done as anyone else…Ours is a great profession and it is an honor to be a member of it." Not all about his legal work, David was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He had broad interests and was a voracious reader. He and Mary Kay traveled widely and enjoyed discovering new cultures as well as the sights. He had a life-long interest in food and enjoyed building a wine collection. David also loved road trips to or with his family, once including a whirlwind tour of Midwest baseball parks with a son who was taking up the sport. He became a member of the U.S. Fencing Board of Directors in part because his other son had taken up fencing. He joined the 2012 U.S. Women's Fencing team's trip to compete in Cuba as "Chief of Mission" and cheered as the team went on to medal at the London Olympics. David loved meeting people and he accumulated a wide range of friends and colleagues-turned-friends, and he took great care to maintain those friendships over decades. He loved his family and kept in touch with distant cousins and traced genealogy, relishing his connection to 18th century inventor Robert Fulton. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00am on Friday April 8th at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Ave., St. Paul. (651) 227-6311. Those wishing to honor David could make a memorial gift to the ALS Association of Minnesota or the United Hospital Foundation. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00am on Friday April 8th at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Ave., St. Paul. (651) 227-6311.
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