Brandeis alum and ‘Louisville legend’ Gordon Davidson passes away

Gordon B. Davidson, a managing partner of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP and strong supporter of UofL’s Brandeis School of Law, died on Monday at the age of 89.

According to Louisville Business First, the firm’s current managing partner, Franklin Jelsma, called Davidson a “Louisville legend” with a “rare combination of a brilliant mind, passion for his work and civic causes, charisma and leadership.”

The Louisville native graduated from Male High School and Centre College before earning law degrees at both the University of Louisville (1951) and Yale Law School. He was also a military veteran, serving in World War II and the Korean War.

He served as a U.S. Supreme Court clerk for Justice Stanley Reed and was consequently connected to the research involved in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case.

Davidson was also one of Muhammad Ali’s first sponsors, as Tuesday’s Courier-Journal’s headline declared, “Last tie to Muhammad Ali sponsors dies.

Additionally, he was involved in the creation of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the Kentucky International Convention Center and Kosair Children’s Hospital. He also served as the lawyer for Louisville’s Bingham family, whose portfolio includes The Courier-Journal and WHAS 11.

For Wyatt, he practiced in the areas of general corporate, M&A and tax and estate planning.

And, for Brandeis, his Gordon Davidson fund benefited many faculty and students, and was intended to bring practical skills to the classroom. He was a member of the Brandeis Society and was given the Alumni Fellow Award in 2005.

“Louisville has lost an outstanding lawyer and we have lost a wonderful friend of the law school. Certainly with the ABA focus now on skills Mr. Davidson was ahead of the times with his gift to us,” said Dean Susan Duncan.

Davidson is survived by his wife of 66 years, Geraldine, two children, Sally and Stuart, and one grandchild.