William Robert Garmer
Wednesday 8th of May 1946 - Friday 30th of July 2021
Second Presbyterian Church
460 East Main Street, Lexington, KY
Clergy Rev. John Leggett
William Robert Garmer passed away peacefully surrounded by family on July 30, 2021, in Lexington, KY.
Born in Baltimore, MD, on May 8, 1946, Bill was the son of Grace DeLane Garmer and William McKinley Garmer. The family moved first to Media, PA, and then to Carrollton, Kentucky. Bill graduated from Carrollton High School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.
Following his graduation from the University of Kentucky in 1968, Bill served in the United States Air Force from 1969-1973, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following his service, Bill enrolled in law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, TX. Returning to Kentucky, he transferred to the University of Kentucky College of Law, receiving his law degree in 1975. Following admission to the bar, Bill served as a clerk to the Honorable Bernard T. Moynahan, Jr., Chief Judge United States District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky, from 1975-1977.
Following the Federal clerkship, Bill began the practice of law in Lexington, establishing himself as a premier lawyer who represented clients and their families throughout the state and country for over 45 years, seeking fairness and justice. As a lawyer, Bill changed the lives of those he met, of those clients he represented, the lives of fellow lawyers and through significant cases in the Kentucky Supreme Court, changed the law in Kentucky. The pain and struggles of those individuals he represented marked Bill. He carried their burdens fiercely and never released them. Bill was a lawyer’s lawyer, a true southern gentleman of great intellect, and a kind soul.
For many years, Bill also served as an adjunct professor of at the University of Kentucky College of Law from 1981-2018 and as a professor of Litigation Skills and Healthcare Law. The teaching of young people was a task that brought immense satisfaction and joy. In his law practice, he mentored hundreds of law students as clerks.
Deeply loyal, Bill treasured the professional and personal relationships and friendships he made throughout his law practice and through his service to the many professional organizations to which he belonged. Memberships and service included: President of the Kentucky Bar Association, 2017; President of the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, 1994, and also as recipient of the Peter Perlman Trial Lawyer of the Year Award; Fellow, Kentucky Bar Association; Fellow, American Bar Association; Chair of the Council of State Presidents of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America; member, Trial Lawyers For Public Justice; member, Southern Trial Lawyers Association; and Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.
In addition, Bill received the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame award in 2014, was named by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 10 attorneys in Kentucky, 2019-2020, and as one of the Top 50 attorneys in Kentucky, 2008-2018. Also listed as Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in American Law, 1987-present. Throughout his career, Bill provided Continuing Legal Education seminar lectures for numerous legal organizations and associations. Following a lifelong commitment to promoting public education, Bill became a board member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. A lifelong Democrat, Bill was Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party in 2004.
Bill was a dedicated and faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, with First Presbyterian Church and Second Presbyterian Church, both in Lexington.
Bill is survived by his wife, Kim, daughter, Lindsey Moon (Jarrod), in-laws, Judy Regan and Milton and Erlene Nichols, brother-in-law, Lamar Owings, nephew, Nathan Owings (Kate) and family, and niece, Amanda Owings Goodwillie (Quinn) and family. In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his sister, Leslie Garmer Owings.
Visitation will be from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Wednesday, August 4th at Milward – Broadway located at 159 N. Broadway. A memorial service will begin 11:00 am the following day, Thursday, August 5th at Second Presbyterian Church located at 460 East Main Street, Lexington.
The family asks in lieu of flowers, please make contribution to the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, the Lexington Humane Society, Old Friends Retired Thoroughbred Farm or charity of choice.
What a trusted friend we've lost! My heart aches for Kim, Lindsey, and the rest of his family. I'll continue to pray for God's grace and mercy on you, and that your beautiful memories will fill the sad times. Bill's legacy is enormous, and I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend who (from my earliest days as a new lawyer) always took time to help me solve problems and do what was best for my clients. He continued to be an advocate for those who needed help and made a difference in so many lives. I'm so grateful to have been blessed with Bill's friendship and will miss him dearly. Yvette Hourigan
A friend and patron to us at Merrick Inn...super gentleman.
Bill was my law school classmate. He was a tremendous advocate and even a better person. Carolyn and I extend our deepest sympathies to Bill's family.
Sen. Blevins, Walter Jr.says
My deepest sympathy to the family and friends. May God bless and comfort. A true gentleman and a great chairman of Democrat Party
Bill was the kind of lawyer and mentor that made a young person want to be a lawyer. He was encouraging, always teaching and a friend in politic, law and personal life. I respected him and had great confidence in him and his ability. I was proud to have worked beside him on a case or two. This loss is hard to process, as we keep Kim, family, friends, Jay and the crew at Garmer and Prather in our prayers.
John R. Martinsays
I met Bill when he was an associate and I was a law clerk with my firm. The day I was sworn in as a lawyer, Bill took the time to write me a letter of congratulations, which I found the other day, a typical act of thoughtfulness from someone I considered a friend for 45 years. A great lawyer and a better person-