Donald L. Gaffney
Phoenix - Loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Donald L. Gaffney, age 68, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, September 3, 2020 at this home in Phoenix, Arizona after a multi-year battle with cancer. Don was born to Leroy and Myriam Gaffney on July 7, 1952, in Dallas, Texas. He is a graduate of Justin F. Kimball High School in Dallas (1970), Austin College (1974), and The University of Texas at Austin School of Law (1977).
Don and Debby were married in 1974 in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from law school, and against the advice of future Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, William Rehnquist, Don moved to Phoenix to begin his long and illustrious legal practice. Don joined Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in 1989, where he was to be the leader of the firm's Bankruptcy Group for over 25 years. His legal practice spanned over four decades and included many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy and fraud cases in the history of Arizona and the West.
Don was consistently recognized as one of the top lawyer's in America. His professional recognitions include: The Best Lawyers in America, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (1995-2020); Bankruptcy Litigation (2012-2020); Commercial Litigation (2013-2020) (including Lawyer of the Year, Bankruptcy Litigation in 2015 and Lawyer of the Year, Phoenix Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law in 2014); Southwest Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy: Business (2017-2020); Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (2013-2015), Bankruptcy (2007-2012); Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy - Business Edition (2011); Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy - Corporate Counsel Edition (2009-2010); Lawdragon Top 3000 Leading Lawyers in America (2010-2011); Ranking Arizona: The Best of Arizona Attorneys, Bankruptcy (2010-2011); Arizona's Top Lawyers, Arizona Business Magazine (2010); Arizona's Finest Lawyers; Who's Who in American Law (1992-2020); Who's Who in America (2006).
In addition to his success in the courtroom, Don was also recognized for his many pro bono contributions to the Phoenix community including Brophy College Preparatory and The Phoenix Symphony. In 2018, Don was presented the State Bar of Arizona Bankruptcy Section Pro Bono Superhero Award.
Don was also active in many professional and bar associations including: the Federal Bar Association, Phoenix Chapter where he was President from 2015-2016; Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, Board of Directors (2011-2020); Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative (2005-2008); State Bar of Arizona (Twice Chair of the Bankruptcy Section); University of Texas Law School - Executive Council of Alumni Association (2009-2015); Arizona State University College of Law, Former Adjunct Professor; American Bankruptcy Institute; and was a Keeton Fellow at University of Texas Law School.
Don is survived by his amazing wife, Debby, three successful and tremendous children and their spouses, Brian and Abby Gaffney, Colin Gaffney, and Caitlin and Ryan Caval, six beautiful and talented grandchildren who were his pride and joy, Molly, Mason, Nolan, Tobin, Colton, and Cora, his sister Elaine, and his nieces Stephanie Cason and Laura Checki.
The Gaffney Family will be holding a private ceremony, but is planning a Celebration of Life in the Spring of 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don's name to The Phoenix Symphony.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Sep. 10 to Sep. 11, 2020.