After several years of retirement, on August 19, 1971, Kenneth Wynne, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, died. His last years had been spent at his home in Woodbridge.
The son of Attorney John F. Wynne and Henrietta Barnes Kinney Wynne, his long and active life commenced on May 6, 1888, in Unionville, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter the Wynne family moved to New Haven, where the elder Wynne opened an office for the practice of law.
Kenneth Wynne attended the New Haven public schools and, after graduating from the New Haven High School, was engaged in newspaper work as a reporter until he entered the Yale Law School. Before graduating from the law school in 1910, he was a member of its debating team and on the board of the Yale Law Journal. He was admitted to the Bar in 1910. In 1913 he was clerk of the State Senate; in 1923 he was appointed assistant city attorney for New Haven. He also served as acting coroner for New Haven County.
The years when Kenneth Wynne was most active is the political arena were those following his graduation from law school and those commencing with the political changes of the 1930's. In each of these periods, during which the Democratic Party made profound changes in the political atmosphere of the state, he was the executive secretary of a Democratic governor, Simeon E. Baldwin in 1914 and 1915, and Wilber L. Cross from 1931 to 1935.
Kenneth Wynne and his father maintained an active law practice in New Haven under the firm name of Wynne and Wynne until his father's death in 1921; thereafter, until appointed a Judge of the Superior Court, he practiced in association with other attorneys and became a member of a partnership with the late Herbert L. Emanuelson.
His broad experience made him particularly qualified for service on the Superior Court Bench, which he graced from 1936 to 1953, when he became a Justice of the Supreme Court. He served as the Chief Justice from 1957 to his retirement in 1958 at the age of seventy.
On the bench, he was noted for his constant courtesy, maintaining decorum in the courtroom without seeming to be strict or solemn. His ability to see the humorous aspects of life never deserted him, and he was replete with amusing anecdotes. He was ever aware of the vicissitudes of life and had full comprehension of the problems of the litigants as well as of the attorneys who appeared in his court. His decisions were succinct and incisive, reflecting a complete memory of the facts with few, if any, notes.
Kenneth Wynne was particularly proud of his family, with all of whom he maintained a close relationship. He was, indeed, a modern paterfamilias. His beloved wife, Mary Fielding Wynne, of Derby, survives him, as do his six children. He left four daughters, Mrs. William J. Secor, Jr., of Middlebury, Mrs. R. William Bohonnon, of Guilford, Mrs. George Giggon, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, and Betsey Wynne, of Southbury; two sons, Kenneth Jr., of North Haven, and John F., of Woodbridge; and a brother, Donald Wynne, of Port Chester, New York. It was a source of great satisfaction to him that two of his sons-in-law were members of the Bar, that his son John was carrying on the family tradition by practicing law in New Haven in the third generation, and that the practice of law in Waterbury by W. Fielding Secor carries the family tradition into the fourth generation. He was survived by nineteen grandchildren.
Judge Wynne was an avid reader, excellent conversationalist, and especially gifted as a correspondent. He made notable contributions to legal periodicals.
Optimism and humility were his hallmarks. The most lowly and humble, as well as the political and business leaders of the state, were, without regard to party affiliation, the recipients of his friendship and consideration.
He served Connecticut and its people well. His memory will survive the lives of those with whom he came in contact.