Raymond Starr

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Served from 1941 through 1946
Chief Justice: 1945

Raymond W. Starr was born on August 24, 1888, and raised near Harbor Springs, Michigan. After graduation from Harbor Springs High School, he attended Ferris Institute, now Ferris State University, and graduated in 1907. He then attended the University of Michigan Law School, where he graduated in 1910.

Upon Starr’s graduation he went to Grand Rapids to practice, and after a few years formed the legal firm of Wicks, Fuller and Starr. While engaged in practice in Grand Rapids, he was the founder of the Legal Aid Bureau. He started it himself, and would go there at night and help the poor people of Grand Rapids.

In 1936, Starr was elected Attorney General of Michigan. He served for two years during the Depression when the politics of the time dictated a new Attorney General every two years. In May of 1941, Starr was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor Murray D. Van Wagoner to succeed Justice Thomas McAllister, who had been appointed to the Court of Appeals. On June 2, 1946, he was appointed United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan by President Harry S. Truman and served with distinction for 15 years, until his retirement in August of 1961. Raymond W. Starr died November 2, 1968.

G. Mennen Williams reflected on Starr and said that, “Raymond Starr, with one of his hearty northern Michigan chuckles, said to me one day, ‘Mennen, when you go campaigning, remember there’s more votes in a bar than in a church.’ I don’t know whether that is to what I owe my success in six terms as Governor or not. But in any event, I owe a great debt to Raymond Starr.” (Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Reports: Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan. Rochester, N.Y.: Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co., 1949–1998, Vol. 417.)

Portrait presented on: (Click link to read transcript)
October 19, 1983

Portrait Artist:
Gamble, Roy C.

Oil on canvas

111.76cm X 86.36cm (44″ X 34″)

Owned by:
State of Michigan

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

Portrait photo by:
Doug Elbinger, Lansing – June 1996