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Longtime Baylor Law Professor known as “The Godfather” passes away at 82

David "The Godfather" Guinn
David "The Godfather" Guinn((Courtesy Photos))
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 3:18 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A longtime beloved tenured professor at Baylor Law School affectionately known as “The Godfather” has passed away.

David Guinn who was known as much for his immense knowledge of constitutional law as he was for his open-door policy, friendliness, and dry wit, died at his home Thursday in Waco at the age of 82.

Funeral services for Guinn will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 515 Columbus Avenue.

Guinn taught at the Baylor Law School for more than 50 years.

The school’s website describes Guinn to the likes of a character off a movie but with a much softer touch.

“The Baylor Law family refers to Professor David Guinn as “the Godfather,” and when you see him in his handsome office, his father’s rolltop desk behind him, it is easy to picture a Texas version of Don Vito Corleone. And like the famous Sicilian, when Baylor Law’s senior faculty member makes an offer, few refuse him,” his bio on the law school website reads.

“However, unlike the fictional character’s proposals, Professor Guinn’s offers are likely to be lunch with him at Baylor University’s faculty dining room, a round of skeet shooting at the Waco Gun Club or perhaps a donut that he routinely brings to staff and students. ”Waco attorney J.D. Ressetar, who graduated Baylor Law in 2009, said Guinn was one of the most well-respected and memorable faculty members who always took a personal interest in students.

“Professor Guinn is an individual for which I have immense respect,” Ressetar said. " In class, his remarkable knowledge of Constitutional Law challenges his students. Outside of class his open-door policy, friendly personality and dry wit leads to many long-lasting relationships with his students.”

Guinn assisted in the drafting of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act. He was also involved in the redistricting process at the state and local level.

After the 2010 Census was released, he helped redistrict over 40 cities, counties, and school districts throughout Texas, according to Baylor’s website.

According his bio, Professor Guinn attended Baylor University, majored in Political Science, and received his J.D. from Baylor Law in 1963. He did not receive his bachelor’s degree until 37 years later. When Guinn left Baylor, he was six hours short of completing the requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

Guinn spent one summer doing course work at Oxford University and finished up at McLennan Community College.

Professor Guinn served as Faculty Representative to the Southwest and the Big XII athletic conferences from 1986-2001. He also served on the first Division I Management Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1997 and has continued to work with Baylor Athletics since that time.

“David Guinn was a force of nature in the classroom and beyond. Blessed indeed was anyone who ever had the privilege of ever witnessing him speak, eloquently and with pointed passion, on the Constitutional foundations of our great nation,” noted Dean Brad Toben in a statement from the Baylor Law website. “David fought to explicate and defend the majesty of our Constitutional structure, liberties, and processes before thousands of Baylor Lawyers. His life’s work will stand as a testament to its sanctity as a bulwark of freedom and democracy.”

Aside from his considerable work teaching and redistricting (his “professional hobby”), Professor Guinn immensely enjoyed traveling, reading, and exercising

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