Don S. Sturgill (1928-2002) attended Baylor Military Academy and graduated from Harvard University in 1950. After serving as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, he returned to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky College of Law. In 1957, Don entered into private practice with Roy Moreland and Gardner Turner, forming the firm Sturgill, Moreland & Turner (now, Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney).
Early in his career, Don was appointed as Kentucky’s first Commissioner of Public Safety by Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler. Among his accomplishments as Public Safety Commissioner, was the creation of the Kentucky Driver Point System to identify persons who may be habitually negligent drivers. His work has been cited as a major factor in the reduction of road fatalities throughout Kentucky.
Following his term as Public Safety Commissioner, he joined Senators John F. Kennedy’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential campaign staff in Washington, D.C., an opportunity made possible by the friendship he forged with Bobby Kennedy while he was at Harvard.
Don’s background as a thoroughbred owner and breeder enabled him to become one of the nation’s foremost equine attorneys. Don was involved in the syndication of about 75 thoroughbred stallions, including triple-crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed, and was a key figure in many significant racing law cases. Don was instrumental in getting simulcast revenues distributed to horsemen when few were familiar with the emerging technology.
In 2000, Don received the prestigious Fayette County Bar Association’s Henry T. Duncan Award. He was a member of the Fayette County, Kentucky and American Bar Associations, Christ Church Cathedral, the Keeneland Club, the Thoroughbred Club of America, and the Harvard Club of Lexington. In 2015, Don was inducted into the American College of Equine Attorneys Hall of Fame.
Don is survived by his wife and former law partner, Ann Sturgill.