Retiring judge lauded at soiree

By Frank Weir Legal News Friends, relatives and a host of legal colleagues saluted retiring Circuit Court Judge Melinda Morris recently at the Michigan League ballroom. Several hundred attendees participated including the judge's two sisters and two daughters. Appropriately enough, the short program took the form of a trial with the testimonies of several "expert witnesses." One of the surprise witnesses was Morris herself who walked to a piano and played two jazz numbers with supporting bass and drum players. Another highlight was the unveiling of Morris' official portrait painted by her daughter Melissa, who now resides in Italy. Attorney Judy Judge summarized comments from legal colleagues praising Morris. Cheryl Elliott, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, which Morris and her late husband Bob have heavily supported over the years, said Morris was "a board member that all non-profits crave. "When she provided her input, it was caring and helpful and after attending a foundation event, we could count on hearing her words of encouragement," she said. "She always impressed us with how tuned in she was to all things at the foundation. She studied the information she received and when she offered suggestions, we listened carefully and we benefited." Daughters Melissa and Molly then sang "Quitting Time" by The Roches, adapting it to the judge's life in the law. They concluded by saying, "One of the most profound things she taught us was the importance of doing what you love. " Judge Donald Shelton, who spearheaded the planning for the event, said he reminds attorneys that being a lawyer is just what you do, not who you are. "But judges don't have that luxury," he said. "As a judge, what you do from the bench is what you are and Melinda Morris never ever forgot that." He noted that the person sitting on the bench was the same one who went home every night saying, "I think I did some good today." "Her personal compassion for people came to work with her everyday," he said. "This is a lady who knew who she was and what she was. She was always comfortable in her own skin. She is a kind person who cares deeply about the welfare of others. You could never ask for anything more from a judge." Taking the microphone, Morris thanked her longtime supporters. "There are people here tonight who supported me when I ran for judge and all the way through my journey on the bench," she said. "I see good friends, family, foundation representatives. You are all so important to me. " She said it's been a "wonderful journey." "A colleague more literary than I said an expression that I found I liked," she said. "He talked about a thankful heart. I have a thankful heart. This has meant so much to me." Published: Thu, Dec 20, 2012

Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available