Paul Adams

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Paul Adams

Served from 1962 through 1962 and 1964 through 1972

Paul L. Adams was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on April 9, 1908, to a family that had lived and farmed in the area since 1879. The family turned from farming to real estate and insurance in the early 1900s, founding a company that today advertises “Five Generations Serving You.”

Adams graduated from Sault High School in 1926, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1930, and his master’s the next year. After three years at home in the family businesses, he enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School, receiving his degree and passing the Bar in 1936. While in law school he formed what turned out to be an important friendship with G. Mennen Williams and other men who were later to become important in Michigan politics. During the same time he formed what was to be an even more long-lasting relationship by marrying Ruth Karpinski, daughter of University of Michigan math professor Louis Karpinski.

After his law training, Adams returned to the Soo to practice law and perform many different civic roles. He was mayor of Sault Ste. Marie from 1938 until 1942 and served as director of Civilian Defense from 1941 until 1943, just to name a few. He was elected a member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents in 1956, and in 1957 Adams was appointed Michigan Attorney General. He continued to serve as Attorney General until 1962, when Governor John Swainson appointed him to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Adams retired in 1973 and spent much his time cultivating his Clinton County estate orchards. He passed away on November 23, 1990, and was survived by his wife Ruth, and four daughters. (Biography compiled by Ann Lucas, Serials Librarian of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan, 1998.)

Portrait Artist:
Walford, Ron A.

Oil on canvas

39 1/5″ X 39 1/2″

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
Hall of Justice – 6th Floor:
Justice Brian Zahra’s Suite

Portrait photo by:
Doug Elbinger, Lansing – June 1996