Since 1969, Male High School recognizes an outstanding alumnus each year with the school’s highest honor, the Grover Sales Cup, for service to the community and to the honoree’s profession. This year, the Grover Sales Cup goes to Carl Bensinger.
“I was so happy” to receive the award,” he said, “and it came as such a surprise. It’s one of those things you know about and never feel it will happen to you.”
“If there is a person I wanted to emulate,” he added, “it is Lewis Cole. He was a figure who gave all of us a desire to do something in the community. None of us could ever equal him, but [he set an example that was] something to strive for.”
Bensinger is an attorney in private practice as Carl J. Bensinger and Associates, and he is licensed and has bar admission to practice in Kentucky; at the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; U.S. District Court, Western District Kentucky; and U.S. Tax Court. He is also a U.S. Army veteran and served in the Army Reserves 100th Division.
He serves as an elected member of the Board of Governors of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and is in Who’s Who in American Law in the fields of real property, probate and state civil litigation.
An active member of the Louisville Bar Association, he has served on several committees. He is also a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Professionally, he was twice appointed as a special justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court for specific cases, was appointed to the Kentucky Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee, and has been nominated by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Committee for openings on both the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court.
He served on the Board of Governors of the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys.
Throughout his career, Bensinger has been an active in the community.
In the Jewish community, he is a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council Executive Committee, the Jewish Community Center and Congregation Adath Jeshurun.
Each year, Bensinger and his family host a Seder at The J in memory of his mother, Judith Bensinger, and his sister, Margot Barr. “It’s really meaningful to people who do not have a Seder to go to,” he said.
In the past, he also served as a Board member of the Jewish Community Federation and a member of its Delegate Assembly and its Publications Committee, president of the American Jewish Committee and a member of its national Executive Committee, on the Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League and chair of the ADL’s B’nai B’rith Lodge, and on the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
He has been involved in many civic activities as well. He was involved in the civil rights movement and worked with many of its local leaders.
He has served two terms on the Jefferson County Board of Elections. He served as chairman of the Board of Jefferson Community and Technical College Foundation and today holds the title of chairman emeritus.
He also served on the Board of Directors of Bridgehaven and on the Jefferson County Human Relations Commission.
Bensinger was appointed by Governor Brereton Jones to the Jefferson Community College Board of Directors (now Jefferson Community and Technical College) and by Governor Martha Layne Collins to the State Job Training Commission.
He served as a commissioner of the Jefferson County Community Improvement District and on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Volunteer Services and he is a past chairman of the Jefferson County Code Enforcement Board.
Bensinger has received a number of other awards. Long active in the Democratic Party, in 2010, he received the Party’s highest honor, the John Crimmins Award, for community service, volunteerism, devotion, financial commitment and support of Democrats across the city. He is currently a member-at-large of the 43rd Legislative District and has been bylaws chairman and counsel of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. He is past chairman of the 32nd Legislative District of the Democratic Executive Committee, which he also served as member-at-large and counsel. He was president East End Democratic Club and has been either an alternate or a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for many years.
He also received the Public Service Award from Jefferson Community and Technical College in 2007 and was elected to the Male High School Hall of Fame in 1995.
Grover G. Sales was a Jewish immigrant who graduated with honors from Louisville Male High School in 1904. He earned a law degree from Columbia University. He served as an attorney for Churchill Downs for almost 50 years and was one of the best known attorneys in Kentucky. He later became a judge and is credited with stopping the Ku Klux Klan from organizing in Louisville.
In 1954, he celebrated his 50th high school reunion by “putting $10,000 in the bank and starting the Louisville Male High School Distinguished Alumni Cup, which is given to doctors, layers, politicians and other celebrated persons,” said his grandson and namesake, Grover Sales. Sales continues the tradition of presenting the cup in his grandfather’s name today.