Robert D. Sundby

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The Honorable

Robert D. Sundby
Judge Sundby.jpg
Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV
In office
August 1, 1986 – July 31, 1996
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byDavid G. Deininger
Personal details
Born(1925-10-21)October 21, 1925
Dunkirk, Wisconsin
DiedDecember 12, 1997(1997-12-12) (aged 72)
Madison, Wisconsin
Cause of deathCancer
  • Beverly Hocking (m. 1946)
  • MaryAnn Ostrander (m. 1953)
  • Analee Grove (m. 1989–1997)
ChildrenMichael, Dana, Scott, Debra
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin Law School
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Seal of the United States Navy Reserve.svg U.S. Navy Reserve
Years of service1943–1946
RankUS Navy O1 infobox.svg Ensign
Battles/warsWorld War II

Robert D. Sundby (October 21, 1925 – December 12, 1997) was an American lawyer and jurist. He was a judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in the Madison-based District IV for ten years (1986–1996).

Early life and education[edit]

Born in the rural town of Dunkirk, Wisconsin, just south of Stoughton, Sundby was raised on a small farm and graduated from Stoughton High School in 1943.[1] He enrolled in the United States Navy's V-12 Navy College Training Program, designed to supplement the Navy's commissioned officer corps. Through the V-12 program, Sundby was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign College of Engineering and the University of Texas. He graduate from the program October 30, 1945, received his commission as an ensign, and was sent to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado for amphibious warfare training.[2] Following his training, he was assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes, but, with World War II now over, Ensign Sundby was soon sent home and placed on inactive reserve.[3]

Returning to Wisconsin, Sundby immediately entered the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he graduated in 1949.[4]

Legal career[edit]

As general counsel for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities from 1950 to 1960, he gained expertise in municipal law and drafted much related legislation.[4] Throughout the years 1960 to 1986 he was an associate and partner in the Madison law firm now known as DeWitt LLP, though at the time rotated through several names. At the time of his departure to the Appeals Court in 1986, it was DeWitt, Sundby, Huggett, Schumacher & Morgan.[5] Sundby also served as City Attorney of Monona, Wisconsin, from 1970 to 1981, and of Evansville, Wisconsin, from 1975 to 1985.[4]

Judicial career[edit]

When a new seat was created in District IV of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Sundby decided to run. In what, at the time, was considered a stunning upset, he defeated veteran Dane County Judge P. Charles Jones in the April election.[6] He was subsequently re-elected without opposition in 1991. In 1996, Judge Sundby announced his plans to retire at the end of the 1995–1996 court term.

Personal life and family[edit]

Sundby was married three times. He married his first wife, Beverly Hocking, of Janesville, Wisconsin, in October of 1946, shortly after returning from Naval duty.[7] Sundby later married MaryAnn Ostrander, with whom he had four children: Michael, Dana, Scott, and Debra.[4] His second marriage ended in divorce. In 1989, he married Analee "Casey" Grove, becoming step-father to Richard and Jim Grove.[4][8]

He died of cancer in December 1997, 18 months after retiring from the judiciary.[4]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV Election, 1986[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
General Election, April, 1986
Nonpartisan Robert D. Sundby 76,201 52.98%
Nonpartisan P. Charles Jones 67,636 47.02%
Plurality 8,565 5.95%
Total votes 143,837 100.0%


  1. "Judge Robert D. Sundby". Wisconsin Court System. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  2. "Returns to West Coast". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. November 29, 1945. p. 9. Retrieved September 22, 2020 – via
  3. "Stoughton". The Capital Times. Stoughton, Wisconsin. July 20, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved September 22, 2020 – via
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Sundby, Honorable Robert D." Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. December 16, 1997. p. 6. Retrieved February 10, 2019 – via open access
  5. "Dewitt Ross & Stevens Firm History" (PDF). DeWitt LLP. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  6. Miller, Mike (April 2, 1986). "Aulik, Sundby win hard-fought judge posts". The Capital Times. Madison, Wisconsin. p. 1. Retrieved September 23, 2020 – via
  7. "Hocking-Sundby". The Capital Times. Stoughton, Wisconsin. October 30, 1946. p. 9. Retrieved September 22, 2020 – via
  8. "He liked her photo; now they're married". Wisconsin State Journal. December 31, 1989. p. 8G. Retrieved September 22, 2020 – via
  9. Theobald, H. Rupert; Barish, Lawrence S., eds. (1987). "Elections in Wisconsin: Nonpartisan Elections" (PDF). The state of Wisconsin 1987-1988 Blue Book (Report). Madison, Wisconsin: State of Wisconsin. p. 866. Retrieved September 23, 2020.

Legal offices
New seat Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV
August 1, 1986 – July 31, 1996
Succeeded by
David G. Deininger

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