Donald McCullin was born on April 14, 1941 in St. Louis, Missouri to Earnest and Virgie McCullin. He was the eldest of four children. Both parents preceded him in death.
Donald loved the Lord and carried Christ in his heart.
As a young adult, Donald married; and to this union four children were born and subsequently eight grandsons and five great-grandchildren.
There was a mutual love between Donald, more affectionately known as, Granddaddy, and his eight grandsons. His grandchildren were an integral part of his life, and they all looked up to him as a father figure. He enjoyed attending numerous sporting events in support of his grandsons. He was their biggest fan, often jumping out of his seat in excitement while recording their games. He also enjoyed many activities with his grandsons including bowling, movie outings, racquetball, air shows, going out to eat, and especially taking them to see the greatest show on turf. Donald also loved traveling to visit family, including his sisters, nieces and nephews in Las Vegas and his aunt in Montana.
Donald attended the St. Louis Public Schools and graduated from Soldan High School. He muscled his way through college at Southern Illinois University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics. He came from humble beginnings and worked extremely hard to become the man we all loved so dearly. He deeply valued education and went on to attain a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Webster University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from St. Louis University School of Law. Donald was a member of the Missouri, Illinois, and California bars.
He began his career in East St. Louis as a high school mathematics teacher. He was loved and respected by his students, so much so they continually invited him to participate and speak at their class reunions. After teaching for several years, Donald decided to begin a career in law. A career in law was the perfect fit for his passion for service; he served with joy and humility.
Donald worked in private practice with the firm of Wilson, Smith, and McCullin, served as Managing Attorney for the United Auto Workers Legal Services Program and was employed with Anheuser-Busch Companies as director of Diversity and Compliance. He served in this position until Gov. Mel Carnahan appointed him as circuit court judge in St. Louis city in 1999, the same year his Rams went on to win the super bowl. 1999 was his year.
After retiring as circuit court judge, Donald served as a hearing officer for the St. Louis Parking Commission and the St. Louis Civil Service Commission, as well as Disciplinary Hearing Officer for the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri. He also served as a mediator for Aequitas. Ferguson City Council members appointed Judge Donald McCullin as the city’s municipal judge. He served the citizens of Ferguson for 10 months until his 75th birthday. During his tenure, he withdrew all arrest warrants issued before December 31, 2014. This gave the residents a fresh start, allowing them to apply for flexible payment plans, community service, and reduced fines to settle their tickets. His compassionate nature was really on display in Ferguson.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis President’s Award, the National Bar Association President’s Award, Best Region Award (1990), Humanitarian Award, Distinguished Service Award, The Honorable Theodore McMillian Award BLSA, and the Region VIII of BLSA instituted an annual award to a worthy student titled the Donald L. McCullin Leadership Award. The Mound City Bar Association named him a Legal Legend.
While Donald appreciated these awards, you may have never known he earned them. He was down to earth, and never bragged about his accomplishments. He was a humble, loving man.
Donald was active in the legal community, a member of the Mound City Bar Association, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, St. Louis Lawyer’s Association, Women Lawyer’s Association, National Bar Association, and American Bar Association. He was also a columnist for the St. Louis Lawyer newsletter writing bimonthly on minority issues in the legal profession. He served two terms as president of the Mound City Bar Association and Regional Director of the National Bar Association.
Donald’s valiant battle with lung disease came to an end on October 6, 2016.
He will be missed by so many because he was a great father, brother, uncle, friend, mentor, and an especially amazing, caring, and loving grandfather. He leaves to cherish his memory: his son Donald L. McCullin, Jr. (Lorenette); daughters, Laurie McCullin, Cheryl McCullin-Montgomery, Renee McCullin-Russo (Craig); sisters, Delphine McCullin-Wilson (Richard), Denise Sanders (Charlie); brother, Ricardo McCullin; grandchildren, Anthony Bonty (Jessica), Blake Montgomery (Caitlyn), Bradley Montgomery (Alexis), Karlton Bonty (Reaux), Brock Montgomery (Kaelyn), Christopher Bonty, Brett Montgomery, Auston Bonty; great-grandchildren, Elijah Bonty, Anthony Bonty, Jr., Harlowe Bonty, Mya Bonty, Mia Bonty; aunt, Peggy Smith whom he dearly loved. He also leaves behind a host of nieces nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
The family of Donald McCullin wishes to express sincere appreciation for the many acts of kindness extended through your prayers, cards, telephone calls, floral arrangements and other courtesies provided to them during their bereavement. They remain forever grateful and ask that people continue to pray for them.
In lieu of flowers, the McCullin family requests that contributions be made to the Innovative Concept Academy, a school founded by Judge Jimmie Edwards
Visitation will be 9 a.m. Saturday, October 15, followed by the funeral service at 10 a.m., at Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust St. The burial will be at St. Peter’s Cemetery, 2101 Lucas and Hunt Rd. A repast will follow at Triumph Grill, 3419 Olive St.