Profile in Brief: Kaye Tertzag - Tertzag Tribute Dinner


By John Minnis
Legal News

In a fitting gesture, former Gov. James Blanchard, who appointed Kaye Tertzag to the Wayne County Circuit Court in 1987, will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Tertzag Tribute Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Park Place Banquet Hall in Dearborn.

It is also fitting that attorney Joseph G. Lujan, a Detroit College of Law classmate and lifelong friend of Tertzag, be the second recipient of the coveted Purple Sportcoat Award. Retired Judge James Rashid, the inaugural Purple Sportcoat Award recipient, will present the coat to Lujan at the end of the Tribute Dinner, followed by daughter Kara Tertzag Lividini’s memorial Sambuca toast.

“We are proud to take this opportunity each year to honor my Dad, and one of the best ways to do that is to honor a member of our bar who exemplifies the example my Dad set during his time in practice, on the bench and facilitating,” Tertzag Lividini said. “We are also delighted we have the distinguished former Gov. James Blanchard as our keynote speaker. The Tribute Dinner last year was one of the highlights of the year for our family. We are anticipating a great turnout again this year.”

“Chach” Tertzag, who died Feb. 4, 2009, was known for his colorful sport coats and ties. The idea for the Tertzag Tribute Dinner and Purple Sportcoat Award came from Southfield attorney and blogger Mike Butler, a longtime friend, colleague and admirer. He received such a favorable response to his blog suggestion, including support from the Tertzag family, that the first tribute dinner and award became a reality last February.

Tertzag is fondly remembered for his selfless commitment to family, friends and the law. His motto to attorneys coming before him was “Be Prompt. Be Prepared. Be Polite.” His parting words to everyone were “Be Well.”

The Purple Sportcoat Award is presented to those who best exemplify Tertzag’s words and life. Last year’s recipient, Judge Rashid, served with Tertzag on the Wayne County bench and in retirement went on to follow his colleague’s example by becoming a facilitator.

This year’s recipient, Lujan, opened his own firm, Lujan ADR Services, after 36 years of practicing law at Plunkett Cooney. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for 45 years and are the proud parents of four daughters: Rebecca, Deborah, Jennifer and Christine.

“Not only were Kaye and Joe (Lujan) good friends,” Butler wrote in his blog. “Joe’s career exemplifies Judge Tertzag’s motto: Be Prompt. Be Prepared. Be Polite.  And his signature parting words, Be Well.”

The dinner and Purple Sportcoat Award are organized by the Tertzag Tribute Dinner committee, consisting of family friends and colleagues: wife, Kathy Tertzag; daughter, Kara Tertzag Lividini; son, Kyle; Wayne County Circuit Judges David Allen and Gregory Bill; Butler; Robert Cassar; Anthony Guerriero; Lance E. Mermel; and Norm Tucker, who was the inaugural keynote speaker.

“The committee is truly honored to have James Blanchard, 45th governor of the State of Michigan, as the keynote speaker,” Butler reported in his blog.

The second annual Tertzag Tribute Dinner will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Park Place Banquet Hall, 23400 Park Street, Dearborn, located at the corner of Park and Outer Drive, just south of Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $35 and include dinner and an open bar.

Checks should be made payable to Tertzag Tribute Dinner LLC, and sent to 26815 Winslow Drive, Flat Rock, MI 48134. Spouses and significant others are welcome. The event will be a sellout.

For more information, contact Kara Tertzag Lividini at (313) 645-9511 or