David Hopkins Semmes—longtime Master of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA), amateur steeplechase rider, and deep-water sailor—died peacefully at his home, Indian Run Farm, near Flint Hill, Virginia, on New Years Day, just four days shy of his eighty-seventh birthday.
Born in Washington, D.C., Semmes graduated from Episcopal High School then served a tour of duty in World War II as an aviation radio crewman. He graduated from Princeton in 1949, and in 1950 served in Army intelligence on the Pusan perimeter during the Korean conflict. He worked as a government service officer in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong before returning to Washington to practice law.
Semmes managed intellectual property for forty-one years, notably patenting the so-called “black box” used on airplanes, and the technology used for protective vests for jockeys.