Delores Jechura Hildebrandt Inducted 2000 - Class of 1965
These days, if you turned on your television set, it would not be unusual to see countless programs featuring dramatic courtroom scenes during which everything is neatly resolved in thirty to sixty minutes. The authenticity of these programs is questionable, at best. But in "real life", Woodward has its own legitimate legal star, Dolores Jechura Hildebrandt. Dolores' election to the Woodward Hall of Fame is in recognition of career accomplishments in positions of increasing responsibility and commensurate honor.
Dolores attended St. Adalbert Elementary School in an area now known as "The Polish Village". "I lived in the beautiful ranch home located at the corner of Pearl and Elm streets. This home was within walking distance of Woodward High School, where I looked forward to seeing the magnificent WHS mascot, the White Polar Bear."
Dolores enjoyed the diversity of the many friends she made while a member of several Woodward
organizations: Student Council, National Forensic League, Periclean Literary Society, Debate Team, Polarettes, Junior Council of World Affairs, Y-Teens, Future Teachers of America, Polish Literary Society, Secretarial Club, and Boosters.
Dolores remembers spending many hours in the library researching subjects for Debate Team competitions. She also competed in the Original Oratory Category during the competitions held by the National Forensic League. Since students were responsible for drafting their own presentations, much time was spent after school devoted to the intense preparation necessary for statewide competitions. "Woodward High School afforded me the opportunity to develop my oratorical skills. Winning first place in the Original Oratory competition was an achievement which culminated after years of practice developing my public speaking and writing skills." In addition to the Debate Team competitions, Dolores also appeared in the WHS Extravaganza and secured a part in "The Diary of Anne Frank" as Anne's sister. "The skills I acquired during my high school experience were utilized in the courtroom on a daily basis when I served as a Senior Prosecuting Attorney. Additionally, this expertise has served me well in my current position with the Ohio Attorney General, where I practice law before the United States Federal District Courts throughout Ohio."
Athletic activities also played a big role in Dolores' high school life. During basketball season, much time was devoted to rehearsing Polarette dance routines, which were performed during half time at WHS varsity basketball games. Dolores also studied ballet and competed in gymnastics, swimming, and track and field. She won medals and trophies in balance beam, uneven bars, vault, free exercise,50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, and backstroke. "The many activities that I was involved with resulted in many friendships, too numerous to mention."
One of Dolores' vivid high school memories was of a performance by the WHS Polarette Dance Team. This particular performance was to the very popular song entitled "The Stripper". "An enthusiastic audience stood up, screamed, yelled, whistled, and clapped when the Polarettes expressively removed each of our white gloves from our hands and cast them onto the basketball court at the conclusion of the performance. This single modest gesture thrilled the crowd. Such a production pales in comparison to today's elaborate routines."
Dolores credits two "Polar Bears" as individuals who impacted her life. “Our principal, Virgil Sloan, was always an inspiration when he gave his presentations to the student body during pep rallies. Bernice Donovan inspired me to consider a career teaching English." Although Dolores chose to follow a different career path, Mrs. Donovan's encouragement was appreciated and is remembered.
Upon graduation from Woodward, Dolores attended the University of Toledo, which was privately funded at that time. She obtained a Bachelor of Science and Education degree in 1969. "Although I majored in English and Science, and was preparing to accept a teaching position, a sudden turn of events took place. I was accepted into the University of Toledo Law School, where I obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree in 1972. During this time period, women in the field of Law were rare, and I was only one of three women accepted to Law School."
After completing the rigors of the three day Bar Examination in Columbus, Ohio, Dolores accepted a position with the City of Cincinnati Law Department. “Only ten days after taking the Oath of Office before the Ohio Supreme Court, I had the honor of arguing a case before that auspicious body, the Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court. I was only a lawyer for ten days and was very fortunate to have the opportunity to write all of the appellate briefs for the City attorneys while awaiting results of the Law Exam." Needless to say, Dolores passed the Bar. She was the first female prosecutor in Hamilton County, resulting in much media publicity. Dolores' first case before the Ohio Supreme Court challenged the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and one of Ohio's laws. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Throughout Dolores' tenure with Cincinnati’s Law Department, she attained a 100% "winning record" and won ten landmark cases of constitutional magnitude and statewide importance before the Ohio Supreme Court.
Within a few years, Dolores was promoted to the position of Senior Prosecuting Attorney and later to Chief of the Appellate Division. "Thereafter, my career advanced to the civil division, and I accepted a position as Senior Legal Council for the City of Cincinnati. This position entailed advising the city's top administrators, such as the Mayor and City Council, on legal matters." Later, Dolores became a Magistrate Judge (1985) for the Court of Common Pleas.
Dolores' career took an interesting turn in 1985, when she was offered the opportunity to run for the Office of Judge of the Hamilton County Municipal Court. She was elected, defeating the incumbent, who outspent her by a 2-1 margin. Dolores ran a campaign that focused on law and order. She attributed her victory to "properly interpreting the voters' mood on that issue as well as her background. During Dolores' tenure as judge, she founded Ohio's first Felony Mediation Program. The Ohio Supreme Court honored her with an award for "Superior Judicial Service.” Dolores decided thousands of civil and criminal cases and presided over jury trials. After serving one term as Municipal Court Judge, Dolores was appointed to serve on the Hamilton County Board of Revision as an Administrative Law Judge.
In 1996, Dolores accepted a position with Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and returned to litigation in the United States Federal District Courts. Sixty to seventy hour workweeks are not uncommon. "Again, my training at Woodward High School prepared me for my success in appellate advocacy, writing many briefs before the Ohio Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court and the United States Federal Courts."
Dolores has lectured at both the College of Mount St. Joseph and the University of Cincinnati. She has served as an arbitrator in personal injury and complex civil matters for Nationwide Insurance Company and has been Associate Counsel in a civil practice law firm.
Dolores' civic responsibilities include serving on the Boards of the Cincinnati Bar Association; Bankers Club; Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce; and hosting galas for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Opera, May Festival, and Cincinnati Art Museum, which requires many volunteer hours. Other community activities and/or memberships include the Junior League of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ballet, McDowell Society, Contemporary Arts Center, American Judges Association, and Women Judges Association.
Dolores enjoys traveling to Florida to visit her sister Sandra (who also attended WHS) and her husband Dan Arnold and nieces Tricia and Candace and nephews Tom and Mark. Her brother, Ralph, lives in Cincinnati . Ralph was the recipient of Woodward's highest award, The Tattler Achievement Cup.
Dolores has continued her athletic endeavors in competitive running and has won numerous awards, including one for a 10-mile race. She was the first woman to win that particular race. Dolores also ran four 26-mile Marathon races in Toledo, Fort Wayne, Toronto and Niagara Falls. She has enjoyed skiing in France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and in the United States at Vail, Aspen, Sun Valley, Crested Butte and Telluride, Colorado.
After being notified of her election to the WHS Hall of Fame, Dolores reflected on her days at Woodward. "Perhaps my fondest memory is of the Woodward High School Polar Bear placed outside to greet each and every one of us every day. I am truly honored to be the recipient of the honor of being chosen as a member of the Woodward High School Hall of Fame. There are so many deserving of such an award that I am humbled. It is important to remember that the teachers and administrators of Woodward have had a tremendous impact on each and every one of us in a unique and special way. It is the smile, the guidance and the day-to-day little things that really impact and influence the development of each student. Thank you and may God bless each and every one who graced the hallowed halls of Woodward High."