Remembering Joe Simeone

May 5, 2015


Joseph J. Simeone

Professor Emeritus

Joseph J. Simeone, a longtime SLU LAW professor and a former judge of both the Missouri Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, died May 1, 2015 at age 93.

Simeone’s illustrious law career included serving as legal counsel for two Missouri governors and the legal advisor for the Judiciary Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives. He is the principal author and draftsman of the Judicial Article of the Missouri Constitution, the original Missouri Public Defender Act, the Controlled Substances Law, various environmental laws and other legislation. Simeone authored more than 60 legal articles, published in various legal journals, and wrote more than 300 judicial opinions.

A native of Quincy, Ill., Simeone taught at SLU LAW full-time for 25 years beginning in 1947. He went on to earn an appointment to the Missouri Court of Appeals in 1971 and was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in 1977. He acted as a senior judge for the Missouri Court of Appeals from 1986 to 1990 and served as an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration from 1990 to 2007. Until his death, he continued to serve as professor emeritus at SLU LAW. 

Simeone received numerous awards for his judicial and community service, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Missouri Supreme Court for more than 50 years of dedication to the field of law.

Some thoughts from Simeone’s former SLU LAW colleagues:

Joe was a remarkable man. Full of talent and wisdom and the energy to accomplish so much. It was always a pleasure to be in his presence.

- Jeffrey Lewis, Professor and Dean Emeritus

Just a few weeks ago, Joe had dictated a six page memo to help us in our case that student Marie DeFer argued in the Missouri Supreme Court. Until the end, he was concerned for the integrity of the judicial system, and had love for this institution.

- John Ammann (‘84), McDonnell Professor of Justice in American Society and Litigation Clinic Supervisor

A great, charming, brilliant colleague.

- Tim Greaney, Chester A. Myers Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Health Law Studies

Joe was a giant in the law in our state. A brilliant legal mind who shared his talents so broadly in the service of the citizens of Missouri in the judiciary, in law reform, in teaching, and in helping members of the bar do their best work. The law school was blessed in reputation and intellectual riches to have him as a faculty member. And I so enjoyed going to alumni reunions of the first post-World War II classes with Joe where he would entertain them by reading from their exams! This was 40-plus years after their graduation. Joe kept everything!

- Sandra Johnson, Professor Emerita of Law and Health Care Ethics

Joe was the first professor I encountered in law school and one of the most diligent, and kind, persons I have known. Joe was a stickler for detail, but in a gentle way. Before I joined the faculty, I spent about two years working on legislation for Legal Services. One of our successful projects involved major amendments to Missouri's landlord-tenant statutes. Our bill had passed the House and was ready for Senate floor debate during the closing days of the legislative session after receiving a "Do Pass" recommendation from a Senate committee. Joe, who was providing legislative advice to the governor, came up to me in the hall outside the Senate chamber with, as he put it, "a few recommendations" for the bill. I opened the bill and saw that almost every word was underlined or marked with a question mark. I said, "Joe, it's too late." The bill passed and the governor signed it into law. But I have often wondered what the bill would have looked like had I asked Joe to look at our first draft before it was introduced.

- Pete Salsich, Professor Emeritus

Simeone is survived by his wife of 72 years, Alberta (Kroner); three children, Bruce Simeone, Rhonda Simeone and Susan Denigan, his son-in-law, Jim Denigan; and his sister, Rita Gralike along with several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on May 8, at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Rd., in Kirkwood. Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. May 9, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 17 Joy Ave., in Webster Groves. Interment will be at Resurrection Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Judge Simeone to the Saint Louis University School of Law.