Ex-Justice James Celebrezze dies at 83; served with brother

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio Supreme Court justice who was part of the court’s first sibling pair has died. James Patrick Celebrezze was 83.

Celebrezze started on the court in 1983, while his older brother, the late Frank D. Celebrezze, was chief justice, serving until 1985.

He said last year that the family dynamic on the court reminded him of home life with his “big brother.”

“It was an experience. I had to watch my p’s and q’s. If not, I’d hear about it,” Celebrezze told former Justice Patrick Fischer as part of an oral history project on the court.

The court said James Celebrezze died Feb. 10. According to his family, the cause was heart and kidney failure.

Born in Cleveland in 1938, Celebrezze was an Army veteran, teacher, city law director and 10-year state representative. He held degrees from Ohio State University and Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.

Besides being a justice, he served as a military judge in the Navy and on the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court and the 8th District Court of Appeals.

Celebrezze authored one of his most significant opinions in 1984. It said that gradually acquired workplace injuries, and not just “sudden mishaps,” could qualify people for workers’ compensation disability benefits.

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