Judge to retire after two decades on probate bench

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Macomb County Probate Court Judge Kathryn A. George has announced her retirement after nearly 20 years serving on the bench.

George is the second judge to announce such a decision in recent months. In late September, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski also said he was retiring.

Both retirements take effect in January.

“My time on the bench was the highlight of my professional career and I will greatly miss serving the people of Macomb County,” George said in a statement released by the court Monday. “Unfortunately, medical issues caused by an auto accident have forced my retirement.”

George said she was grateful to fellow Probate Court Judge Sandra Harrison “for her collegiality and tremendous assistance” and expressed gratitude as well to current and former Macomb County probate and circuit court judges.

“It has been an honor to have served alongside all of you.”

George, 70, has been absent from the bench for a year recovering from injuries sustained in a 2019 traffic accident.

She was first elected to Macomb County Probate Court in 2002. Prior to her election, she served as councilwoman and mayor pro tem for the city of Sterling Heights.

George earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Idaho in 1988.

She was raised in Macomb County, earning her RN degree from Harper Hospital School of Nursing in 1973 and a BSN in Nursing from Oakland University in 1985.

She worked as an acute care nurse before launching her legal career.

George was appointed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board by Gov. James Blanchard and later worked as a general practitioner with an emphasis on probate and family law.

A news release issued by the court noted that George has received numerous accolades, including awards from the Macomb County Probate Bar Association and the Macomb County Bar Association.

In 2005, the Michigan National Guard presented George with an award for her support of U.S. military members and their families.

In 2007, George was inducted into the Macomb County Hall of Fame for her outstanding community service. She also received a Certification of U.S. Congress Special Recognition for valuable and dedicated assistance to Macomb County and its communities.

In her retirement announcement, George expressed gratitude to her staff, the Macomb County Probate Court staff and court administrators.

“Their professionalism and commitment throughout my time on the bench has been exceptional,” she said. “A special thanks to the Macomb County legal community for their exemplary service to Macomb County.”

Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge James Biernat issued a statement offering his “sincere congratulations” to George on her retirement.

“I hope this next chapter in her life is a happy and fulfilling one and I wish her all the best,”?he added.

A replacement for both George and Switalski will be announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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