Richard W. Knepper            Inducted 1993 - Class of 1965

When asked to name his favorite teachers at Woodward, Richard’s list included Pat Perruchon, Elaine Markopoulos, Marie Williamson, and James Bounds. "Miss Markopoulos taught me that hard work is important to attaining success. Mrs. Williamson allowed me a great deal of freedom to express myself in ways that I otherwise did not feel free to." This freedom included falling out a window while reading a Shakespearean play during Williamson's senior English class! No, the future judge wasn't absorbed in Portia's famous law scene from the "The Merchant of Venice." Instead, he took a tumble reading "Romeo and Juliet." Luckily he wasn't recreating the balcony scene, Richard only fell out a first story window!

While Richard reminisced about his high school days, he said another highlight was escorting Judi Kolling when she was crowned the1964 Homecoming Queen. "That was an outstanding event in an outstanding senior year full of fun, friendship, and accomplishment,” Richard said. Those friendships included Rick Worshtil, Smitty Belcher, Ron O'Neil, Larry Koepplinger, Jim Friend, Chuck

Robideaux, Scott Shook, and Dave Kubicki.

Leaving the hallowed halls of WHS behind in 1965, Richard attended the University of Toledo. In 1969, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, majoring in finance, and married Jacqueline Knowlton. Four years later, Richard graduated from UT's College of Law as a Doctor of Jurisprudence and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award.

After obtaining his law degree, he held such positions as a private practicing attorney, UAW Legal Services Plan Program Director, and City of Toledo Assistant Law Director. Since 1983, he has served as Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge. His docket includes both criminal and civil cases. In 1984, Richard graduated from the National Judicial College which features a series of continuing education courses provided by Ohio Judicial College. He serves as an instructor for the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association as well as the Ohio Judicial College. Acting as the Administrative Judge for the Common Pleas Court in 1987, Richard assigned 9,920 cases to nine judges and monitored the court's $3.5 million budget.

Among Richard's numerous memberships, he currently serves on the Lucas County Board of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, Ohio Community Corrections Board, and Toledo Youth for Christ Board.

Every year, Richard conducts a Children's Law Day. His courtroom is turned into a classroom showing youngsters how the county’s justice system really works. In the age of increasing juvenile crime, the program is designed to teach the children to respect the judicial system and those who administer it through first-hand exposure.

And speaking of children, the Kneppers have two teenagers, Andrew and Katherine.

Providing the biography information for this evening’s program gave Richard a chance to reflect on his high school days. "I don’t think I realized how much my time at Woodward meant to me until I began to think about the people and events that occurred there and the profound effect those four years had on the rest of my life."

One of those people who affected Richard was James Bounds. "He was positive and encouraging and believed in me more than I did. Bounds taught me history as a sophomore and junior but maintained an interest in me through college and law school, and I came back to speak to his classes on the law and government. The last time I saw him was in 1982, when I was running for the office of judge of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. He told me then of his heart condition and his greatly shortened life expectancy. I felt the need to talk to him about his status with God but didn't because I was running late and because he had such a great attitude and such enthusiasm, that I figured I would come back and talk to him after the campaign. He died the next day. I learned that you shouldn't put off until tomorrow what you should do today. I hope someday I shall find him in Heaven and apologize and thank him."

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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