OCTOBER 2, 1945
Services held by the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, on Tuesday, October 2, 1945, at 1:00 P.M.
Chief Justice RAYMOND W. STARR: The Court convenes today in a memorial here in tribute of our respect and our esteem for the late Justice HOWARD WIEST. We are very happy to note the family of Justice WIEST is present, and we are honored by the presence of the Chief Executive of our State, Governor KELLY, and by many distinguished members of the bench and, the bar of the State. At this point I understand Wilber N. Burns, the President of the State Bar, will address the Court.
Mr. WILBER N. BURNS: If it please the Court:
On occasions such as this it has become traditional for the State Bar of Michigan to select from its membership some eminent lawyer who, by reason of his intimate friendship and co-labors with the one whose memory we seek to perpetuate, may best express the universal sentiments of the bar. Upon this occasion the bar has designated the friend, neighbor, and colleague of Mr. Justice WIEST, the past president of the State Bar, the Honorable Dean W. Kelley, of Lansing, who will speak for the lawyers of Michigan. Dean Kelley.
Mr. DEAN W. KELLEY: May it please the Court:
Pursuant to a worthy tradition I have been asked by the President of the State Bar of Michigan to participate in these proceedings in honor of the memory of our distinguished and revered member Justice HOWARD WIEST, who departed this life on September 16, 1945.
Because of the long period during which he lived and labored, and his prodigious contribution to our jurisprudence, one realizes that the influence of his industry and imposing personality cannot be adequately appraised at this memorial, but that his life and works are the fit subject for a volume of biography. His passing marks an epoch measured by a long and fruitful life of eighty-one and one-half years, with the fire of his intellectual genius and moral integrity burning bright well nigh up to his last breath.
His birth in Macomb County, in this State, on February 24, 1864, occurred in a stern but wholesome environment, at a time when the Civil War was at its pivotal stage. The Mississippi Campaign was evolving with tremendous portent to the cause of the Union, and General Grant was commissioned Lieutenant General of the Armies of the Republic only 15 days after Justice WIEST was born.
He lived through many national crises, domestic and foreign, and his light went out in the midst of stupendous, prophetic events; and in the future his devotion to constitutional government, liberty under law, as expressed in 100 volumes of the Reports of the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, time and again, we hope and pray, will contribute to the ultimate preservation of our institutions.
His life and works stand out as an impelling example of the fruits of constitutional institutions operating in a land of free opportunity. Though deprived by humble circumstances of the privilege of formal education, he was truly an educated man in the most inclusive sense of that term. His opinions reflect recourse to history, literatures, ancient legal systems and philosophies. His general library of ten thousand volumes, to which he referred as his “university,” has contributed vastly and effectively to our legal-judicial literature. When our great University of Michigan bestowed upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws on April 22, 1935, the ceremony was not an empty one, but was rather in recognition of his solid scholarly attainments in the field of jurisprudence, seldom excelled by men who have enjoyed the privileges and advantages of colleges and universities.
Because of his self-discipline, expressing itself in an unrelenting industry, the God-given logical quality of his mind that compelled him to search for the governing principle, his cultivated, precise, and forceful power of expression, his unswerving intellectual and moral honesty and courage, compel the conclusion that in the incident of his birth he was endowed by his Creator as a favored son.
Justice WIEST was one of a family of nine children, only one of whom now survives, Dr. Sard Wiest, a physician residing at Portland, Oregon.
His father was a journeyman mason, from whom his son evidently acquired the skill of that trade. This is evidenced by the fact that Justice WIEST found recreation for many years in exercising his skill in the upbuilding of “Shagbark” (his country estate near the village of Williamston, in this county), and that he was heartily proud of his own handiwork.
He never finished high school, and became an apprentice in the machinist trade. Ambition called and he went to the city of Detroit and entered the law office of Atkinson and Atkinson as an office boy and student. He was admitted to the bar of Michigan in Wayne county in October, 1885. By appointment of Governor Luce he served as circuit court commissioner in 1887-1888.
He was married in 1888 to Cora Newman, of Pontiac, who survives him. Commonplace events occurred in their order and he settled in Williamston, in Ingham county, in 1890.
In April, 1899 he was elected judge of the thirtieth judicial circuit, and was re-elected in 1905, 1911 and 1917. In that high office he grew in judicial stature and, reflecting his personality, the office grew with him in public confidence and influence. His term as circuit judge began on January 1, 1900, and he served continuously for 21 years when, by a turn in circumstances, he was elevated to the Supreme Bench of this State.
As a trial judge upon the circuit he presided with great poise and dignity, and the influence of his personality pervaded the proceedings. His instructions to juries were marked by clarity of expression, and his sincerity in the performance of his duties had a profound influence at all times upon lawyers and juries. Friendly and courteous, he could express righteous indignation with force and effect, and true to his instincts and character, he ruled courageously.
He was appointed to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the passing of Justice FLAVIUS BROOKE on January 25, 1921. He served as a Justice of this Court for 24 ½ years. The first opinion in which he took part was in the case of Davis v. Niehardt, which was rendered February 10, 1921, and the first opinion he wrote was In re Grabinski, decided on March 9, 1921. The last opinion written by him to come down was rendered on June 25, 1945. He appears first in volume 213 of the Michigan Reports and last in volume 312 thereof. Thus he accomplished his avowed ambition to express himself in 100 consecutive volumes of the Michigan Reports.
It may be of interest to note that his first opinion dealt with the rights of a convicted prisoner in habeas corpus proceedings which resulted in discharge of the prisoner, and that the last one involved a criminal prosecution wherein the law as to dying declarations was restated and clarified.
He is survived by the widow and two daughters, Lucille Wiest, residing in the city of Lansing, and Theodosia Milkton, residing in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. And we deem it appropriate in behalf of the State Bar of Michigan to make public acknowledgment of their fidelity and devotion to his comfort and well-being, especially since physical infirmity crossed the threshold; for they contributed in so doing in supporting him in his labors well nigh unto the hour when the call came.
Throughout his judicial career, and as often as occasion arose, Justice WIEST forcibly expressed his loyalty to and convictions upon proposed perversions or evasions of constitutional rights and guaranties. On one occasion, on January 16, 1942, he expressed himself forcibly as follows: “I like the declaration in the Constitution of Kentucky which provides that ‘Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.’ ” (Section 2.)
Again on this occasion, in referring to the unhealthy growth of bureaus, commissions and agencies vested with judicial powers without any of the restraints inherent in the judicial process, he emphatically said: “The country is filled with demagogues who advocate that constitutional provisions must not stand in the way of their wishes. Their shallow talk reminds one of the observation of the ancient who, in plucking a nightingale, discovered that it was all voice and nothing else. A demagogue would take away every obstacle between the opinion of the moment and the wisdom of the ages.
They employ smart epigram, defined as follows by John G. Saxe:
“’Smart epigrams, all sadly out of joint
Pointless, save the exclamation point;
Which stands in state, with vacant wonder frought,
The pompous tombstone of some pauper thought.’”
Justice WIEST was of stern demeanor and often pungently severe in stating his convictions; but, nevertheless, he was kind and courteous in his relations to the bar and his colleagues and was actuated by refined humane motives. He understood the realities of everyday living and had sympathy for the humble and unfortunate when constitutional rights, privileges and immunities were involved.
He was inherently suspicious of the growing centralization of Federal power as opposed to the constitutional rights of the States; the constitutional separation of the powers of government he conceived to be the cornerstone of the American system. While not essentially an obstructionist, he critically examined proposed innovations in the law both substantive and procedural, and was alert and positive when the issue was one of infringement upon civil liberties.
Withal, his characteristic austerity was tempered by a quaint humor and often picturesque statement. In one case in which he wrote the prevailing opinion the question arose as to the interpretation of a statute restraining unnaturalized foreign-born residents in the use of firearms as against the constitutional provision to the effect that “every person has the right to bear arms for the defense of himself and the State.” He disposed of the issue in the following manner:
“Must an alien owner of a farm sit with folded arms and watch henhawks steal his chickens? No, the act permits him to kill noxious birds and animals, when necessary in defense of his person or property. But what is he going to use for that purpose? Until the occasion arises, if this statute is given the construction contended for by the people, it is a crime for him to possess a firearm, and he, therefore, cannot be prepared to exercise the leave granted without committing a crime. Woodchucks could burrow in his yard and meadows with impunity, owls rob his hen roost, rats run about his feet at chore time, and in some sections of the State, wolves could sit on his very door step, and howl defiance. Even the predatory skunk, in the open season, would be more offensively armed than the unnaturalized farmer faring forth to drive it away. Must such a farmer whistle off the dog discovered in the act of killing his sheep? Another statute gives him the right to kill such a dog discovered in the act. Must he request the burglar to come unarmed because he has been unarmed by the law? This act, if construed as contended for by the people, is so sharp shod as to calk itself.” (People v. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635.)
Again in meeting the issue raised by a statute which undertook to make the reputation of an accused prima facie evidence of being engaged in an illegal business, his opinion met the issue head on in this fashion:
“Reputation, without regard to verity, is constituted prima facie evidence of guilt–not guilt of having such reputation, but guilt of the specified crime. * * * The statute constitutes extra-,judicial utterances prima facie evidence of the ultimate
fact of guilt. This takes no cognizance of the generic and strongest presumption known to the criminal law–that of innocence until guilt is established by competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The petty case at bar, and the claimed bad character of the defendants, does not cause me to overlook the consequences of judicial sanction of the course of law prescribed by this enactment.” (People v. Licavoli, 264 Mich. 643.)
Again, in a case where the constitutional provision against “searches and seizures” was before the Court; in expressing his dissent he wrote pointedly:
“The American spirit of right of security against searches and seizures never has submitted, and, it is to be hoped, never will submit to a system of uncontrolled police surveillance. Such a system is un-American, arbitrary and despotic, subordinates individual security to police suspicion, constitutes an indictment of all persons in rendering them subject to uncontrolled espionage and visitation by the police and search of their possessions at the instigation of possible slander, ill-will, hatred, vicious zeal, or hope of personal aggrandizement. * * *
“Suppose the prosecution here involved certain editions of the Bible, and searches and seizures were aimed to destroy the same, as in the time of Henry VIII, when parliament forbade the use of Tyndale’s version, and granted permission to read the Bible in English to certain classes only, under severe penalties, and on all sides the prohibited Bibles were sought for and destroyed, the rule of right to search and seize would be the same.” (People v. Case, 220 Mich. 379.)
And thus might one continue indefinitely in quoting examples which not only exhibit the mental fiber of Justice WIEST, but exemplify his faculty for clear and forceful expression of his convictions, honestly and laboriously reached by profound research.
But we must conclude:
If, in the Providence of Almighty God, or in the economy of the Universe, a soul like his shall not survive in a spiritual immortality, then it indeed must be that there is an irreparable loss in his passing, ameliorated only by the influence of his personality and accomplishments so long as men who knew him are able to remember.
But, taking a less melancholy view, we quote from another:
“That man is long remembered whose endeavors are most imitated; whose words and deeds are published by the words and deeds of other men; who lives in the lives of those who follow him, their spirits kindled by his spirit.” (The Monument does not Remember, Joseph Hudnut. The Atlantic, September, 1945.)
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Mr. Kelley. The Honorable Charles P. Van Note, President of the Ingham County Bar Association, will address the Court at this point.
Mr. CHARLES P. VAN NOTE: May it please the Court:
There will be many, more qualified from a professional viewpoint , to attest the worth and standing of Mr. Justice WIEST and to record for posterity his legal skill as it may be adjudged to have affected the course of law in our sovereign State of Michigan during the past quarter century.
It is rather my purpose, representing his local association, the Ingham County Bar, to make brief mention of the kindliness and human side of the man whose memory we today honor at this Court session, and to have recorded in our official reports, for perusal by his contemporaries and for reference by future generations of our profession, something of the earthy and spartan nature of our colleagues.
Paradoxical as it may appear, although Justice WIEST was time without number called upon to decide questions of great magnitude directly relating to scientific and economic progress, he was personally slow to accept changing times and the external expression of them. The paradox lies in the fact that his personal preferences found no reflection in his holdings. Thus, while the automobile has in tremendous manner affected our very day-to-day existence, and while the motor car created a prolific field of litigation, the late Justice retained until but a comparatively recent date a personal preference for travel by rail and by horse and carriage. The electric age with its many ramifications, within the past 25 years, has vitally affected our daily lives, but Justice WIEST retained his personal preference for illuminating gas and kerosene.
His books and home provided entertainment which travel, the cinema and extended vacation tours provided for others. The art of neighborly conversation retained its appeal for him and I suspect that nothing was more satisfying and stimulating to the Justice than a friendly chat with neighbor or professional associate.
Another matter of sincere personal satisfaction and pleasure to our late friend was the enjoyment of his simple country estate down county near Williamston. The name “Shagbark” is and will remain eloquent witness to the type of man who presided over its acres. Of special privilege to him and I think he always considered it a privilege in the real sense of the word was the entertainment of bench and bar at this quiet, rural retreat. Many of us will not soon forget the picture he made, perhaps even a little startling to the newly initiated member of the bar, as he wandered around his estate with a company of lawyers present as his guests battered straw hat set firmly on his head, collarless, corn cob pipe in hand, greeting all and sundry, maintaining the while the dignity which never left him making all feel at home and welcome. It is entirely possible that more of us will recall him longer as we met him under these circumstances than in the more austere surroundings of the court.
We shall not soon forget the hospitality shown us, always followed at sundown with the lowering of the flag and a verse of “America.”
I speak only in platitudes when I say the members of his bar association will miss him, but lawyers are not generally sentimentalists and I prefer not to view his passing as a calamitous event. Rather I prefer to look upon his full four score years as a life of great service and studious effort to have made our world a better place for his having been with us; to say for all his friends and admirers, and these are legion, “Well done, you have run the course and have carried high the torch; let us live as kindly and with the same gentle dignity.”
And now I beg leave to incorporate the official recognition of our association contained in a resolution of respect and condolence upon the passing of HOWARD WIEST.
INGHAM COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
RESOLUTION OF RESPECT AND CONDOLENCE
UPON THE PASSING OF HOWARD WIEST
In the fullness of time and inevitably, as it must to every man, death came to our distinguished member, HOWARD WIEST, on the 16th day of September, A. D. 1945.
Born in Macomb county, Michigan, in the turbulent era of the Civil War, he acquired his formal education in the elementary schools of the day. Young manhood saw him turn to the law, then as now, the bulwark of our American system and ideals. At the age of 21, following a course of reading law in our metropolitan center of Detroit, HOWARD WIEST was admitted to practice and commenced that long and distinguished career which was indelibly to leave its stamp upon the great body of the law as we find it written for the ages in our Michigan State Reports.
From a modest beginning in matters political as a Wayne county circuit court commissioner, the turn of the century found him elevated to the post of Ingham county circuit judge, a position which he filled with distinction and honor to himself, the bar, and the public, until opportunity offered for his appointment to our highest tribunal, the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, in the first month of the year 1921.
Steadfast and strong, his sturdy character founded upon a burning reverence for the Constitution, he dispensed evenhanded justice to rich and poor alike, without fear or favor, without prejudice or bias, through just short of a quarter century. January 25, 1946, but a short few months hence, would have seen the rounding out of a full 25 years as a member of our State Court of last resort. In this period his stature increased with the passing of the years. His strong and never-failing purpose to do right and to be charitable and kind to all men, placed him indeed in the revered and enviable position in our profession as the dean of bench and bar.
History will more fully record the worth of our departed frater than any appraisal of his career today enrolled. From his first official act of printed record, documented in volume 213 of the Michigan Reports, his hand and mark are placed for all time in the succeeding 100 volumes, and in his opinions and decisions so recorded may be found the philosophy and understanding of our now departed colleague.
BE IT RESOLVED THEREFORE, by the Ingham County Bar Association in meeting assembled:
THAT we are thoroughly mindful of the great loss to community, State and Nation in the passing of HOWARD WIEST;
THAT our own ranks have been depleted by the passing of a staunch and respected member of the bar, leaving a void which will not soon be filled;
THAT we extend our deep and sincere sympathy and respect to the members of his family him surviving and we urge that their grief be assuaged in the knowledge that husband and father had lived a full life of profit and service beyond man’s usual allotted span of years;
AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that this resolution and its accompanying preamble be spread upon the records of our Association for all time and that a suitably prepared copy hereof be conveyed to the family of the late, the Honorable, Mr. Justice HOWARD WIEST.
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Mr. Van Note. In the earlier years of his life, Justice WIEST was an active practitioner in the city of Detroit, and at this time we would enjoy hearing from the Honorable Howard C. Baldwin, former President of the Detroit Bar Association, who will speak in behalf of that Association.
Mr. HOWARD C. BALDWIN: May it please the Court:
The members of the Detroit Bar had profound respect for HOWARD WIEST, the lawyer, and a very great affection for HOWARD WIEST, the man. We reverently join in the tribute to the memory of one of the first citizens of our State. We are proud of his life and his career, and of his membership in our profession.
Our acquaintance with him was not based on hearsay. In the days of his judicial service in the thirtieth circuit he was frequently assigned to sit in Wayne county at a time when local judges had considerable difficulty in keeping pace with the badly congested docket. Detroit was on the eve of a phenomenal growth which surprised itself and the State, and which taxed its civic facilities. His assignment to the Wayne court was welcomed, and his judicial performance was outstanding. He seemed to fit naturally in any situation requiring honest judgment, clear thinking, and judicial balance. He knew that city people were not different than other people, they came from different places and in such numbers that they could not become acquainted, but in his court they were fellow citizens of his State, a State with a tradition that he was bound to uphold.
His advancement to the Supreme Court was recognized in Detroit as the logical promotion of a faithful public servant whose natural endowments inevitably led to this Court. It did not terminate our fellowship with him. It was his custom annually to come to Detroit to attend the luncheons of the Thomas M. Cooley Club tendered in honor of this Court. This club is an organization of lawyers who meet in fellowship based upon the common love of a great profession. The fact that it was named after the famed jurist of our State probably was a factor in his acceptance of the first invitation. He loved this State, its people, its institutions, and its history.
In November, 1935, he celebrated the anniversary of the fiftieth year of his admission to the Bar, and in Detroit we met at dinner in his honor. As a symbol of the occasion, and of our affection, we presented him with the first uniform edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries. His knowledge of books was such that he recognized the edition immediately. He received it with affection, and as he leafed its sacred pages he must have recognized that it typified the love of his life—the development of a body of common law under which free men can work and live.
It is probable that in our generation our legal activities are outstripping the growth of our citizenship. There are men of legal genius who seem too little concerned with the common welfare, and there are men of large heart and good intention whose legal equipment and ability is inadequate to build a structure that will preserve the rights of all–but this man had legal competence and human understanding. He had the qualities that make the perfect partnership of head and of heart. It would not occur to him that there is anything unusual in a dignified and independent stand for the rights of man. Is there anything spectacular in lighting the candle that burns before the altar of justice? Could he do otherwise than march with those who loved their fellow men and who lived decently under law? No. He could not. No more than he could stain his judicial robes by a decision which was contrary to the command of his conscience. There is no statute of limitation terminating the influence of a good man. No writ can seize his soul, and the laughter of his honest heart is not subject to specific performance. Here was such a man. In life, we were warmed by his handclasp–in death, we stand at salute. He gave us much. He is gone from Shagbark–and the shadows will be a little stronger, the frosts will sink a little deeper, and the snows will melt a little later in the Spring-but elsewhere in these Peninsulas there are people who will walk with a surer step and with a happier heart because this great and simple soul moved among us.
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Mr. Baldwin. As I mentioned before, this occasion is honored by the presence of Governor Kelly, and, Governor, I trust we may hear from you.
Governor HARRY F. KELLY: May it please the Court:
I think it is most fitting today we should assemble in these Chambers of Justice, the room that the man, whose memory we honor, loved so much. I agree with all that has been stated by representatives of the State bar, the Ingham county bar, the Wayne county bar, the beautiful tribute to Justice HOWARD WIEST. I do not speak as a member of the bar, although I am very happy to be a member of Michigan’s bar. I think in the State of Michigan we are justifiably proud that we have a bench and bar second to none in the United States of America.
It is fitting that we should gather here to pay our respects to the late lamented dean of Michigan jurists and oldest member of the State Supreme Court at the time of his death–Associate Justice HOWARD WIEST
Without benefit of a college legal training, Justice WIEST was truly a self-educated man. Through dogged perseverance and the sheer force of his particular abilities, he rose from a machinist and steamfitter to the peak of his profession. His life constitutes a notable chapter in the history of Michigan jurisprudence.
I am sure that I speak the sentiments of not only the bench and bar, but of the entire people of the State of Michigan, when I say that Justice WIEST, during his almost half century as a Michigan jurist, made a contribution recognized throughout the State and Nation.
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Governor Kelly. We are also honored today by the presence of former Justice BERT D. CHANDLER. Justice CHANDLER, I hope that you would express yourself on this occasion.
Former Justice BERT D. CHANDLER: May it please the Court:
I think the day of the funeral rites for Justice WIEST was one of the saddest days of my life, doubly so because of my inability to attend. When I noted by the paper the date of these exercises, I resolved that, God willing, I would attend these exercises, and, to be perfectly frank, I expected to be called upon by the Chief Justice and so I prepared a few remarks which I desire to submit at this time.
I had known Justice WIEST, as a judicial officer, for several years before I became an associate of his on this Bench, and I had always had the highest respect and admiration for his ability as a judge, but it was not until I became associated and almost daily in contact with him, when I came here nine years ago, that I knew Justice WIEST, the man. I learned to love him for his sterling qualities and great capacity for friendship. I came here illy fitted, both by education and experience, to become one of the arbitrators of the highest judicial tribunal in this State. I expressed to Justice WIEST my fear that I could not fit into the niche, to which I had been selected. He gave me excellent advice and assured me of not only his willingness, but his desire, to be of assistance to me, and during the time I was here he was ever ready and willing to assist, advise and counsel with me and made my tenure here not only possible, but pleasant and desirable. I might add that Justice WIEST was not the only one, but that every member of this body with whom I was associated also cooperated with me and rendered me valuable assistance, and to Justice WIEST and my other associates I am deeply indebted for a most pleasant and valuable experience covering a period of seven years.
In the death of Justice WIEST this State has sustained a loss, the proportions of which it is indeed difficult to measure. The news of his passing has been the burden of our thoughts.
It could scarcely be otherwise, for it is always difficult to accept casually the knowledge that a friend has gone out of our daily lives, gone out forever, so far as our earthly activities are concerned. We are now called upon to realize that the judge has written his last opinion and has been obliged to make the final surrender. It will be worthy of, and a real tribute to his memory, if we catch something of his spirit, together with his indomitable will and courage, and face such tasks as await us, going on as he most certainly would were he still here.
We mourn today the passing of a man who, again and again, proved his worth in the field in which he chose to employ his faculties and his skills. While thus employed he won the respect, the admiration and the esteem of his co-professionals, and laymen alike.
We mourn the passing of a man who had an intellect of unusual capacity and vigor which was sustained by lofty purpose and animated by a heart that was honest and sympathetic. Such we believe was his ambition to be. Long after this day is done he will continue to be admired as one of the richest assets in the life of this city and State. The universal expression of gratitude and sympathy form a precious tribute to his work and give assurance that he did not live in vain; and that his name and deeds will be held in remembrance as long as memory of those now living shall last.
We pay tribute to his worth as a citizen, a lawyer, a judicial officer, and an American gentleman of high rank, but we feel that the greatest tribute lies in the testimony that he was to many of us a good friend. For
“Life is sweet just because of the friends
We have made and the things which in common we share:
We want to live on not because of our-selves,
But because of the people who care;
It’s giving and doing for somebody else–
On that all life’s splendor depends;
And the joy of this world when you’ve
summed it all up,
Is found in the making of friends.”
“Farewell, dear voyageur–‘twill not be
Thy work is done–now may peace rest
Thy kindly thoughts and deeds–they will
This is not death–’tis immortality!”
For the Judge WIEST that we have known and enjoyed, the tomb is not a dead-end street; it is an open highway leading away from the dawn into the broad expanse of the new day of life and service. He loved activity here; and now it is his privilege to renew his strength and service continually in the temple of the universe.
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Justice CHANDLER. We will be so glad to hear from anyone else present who would like to express themselves on this occasion.
As you know, Justice WALTER H. NORTH was associated with Justice WIEST on this Court for about 17 years and it is very fitting and proper that Justice NORTH should speak for the Court on this memorial occasion. Justice NORTH.
Associate Justice WALTER H. NORTH:
Not long since, on an occasion such as this incident to which we are here assembled, Justice WIEST said, as well we may say today: “This is memory’s hour, when tributes of our respect and esteem for the departed are placed upon the records of this Court.” To those of us who knew and loved Justice WIEST, this day of tribute is as solemn and as sacred as the hour of prayer.
As has already been noted Justice HOWARD WIEST, the dean of the bench and bar of Michigan, has passed from among us. Including the present members of this Court, 46 men have served as justices on this bench prior to the demise of our Brother. It fell to the lot of Justice WIEST to serve as a member of this Court for more years than any other justice with two exceptions–Justice CAMPBELL and Justice MOORE. In his 24 years of service on this bench, Justice WIEST rendered to the people of this State, and especially to the bench and bar, an outstanding service, the character and value of which can scarcely be expressed in words. His life’s work is his own eulogy.
But were we today to respect the sincere wish of out departed friend and Brother, I am sure we would not indulge in excessive superlatives. Rather he would only have us say, he was a man among men, one who was ever a seeker for truth, and bent on the errand of doing simple, evenhanded justice. That he was a disciple of the Constitution and a profound student of the law is so well known that it scarcely need be here recorded. To those of us who in past years have been privileged to associate with Justice WIEST in our daily work, he has been a pillar of strength. His counsel, given unstintingly, has been a most dependable guide. His passing has brought to us the loss of a beloved companion, a true friend and a valued counselor. In coming days and years echoing memories of our associations with Justice WIEST will be among our most prized possessions. And in this sorrow-ladened hour, our fond hope is that we shall meet him and know him again at the dawning of another day.
Chief Justice STARR: Thank you, Justice NORTH.
By the monument of his life, his career, and his judicial service, Justice WIEST will live immortal. In tribute and respect to our departed Brother, all that has been said here today will be spread upon the records of the Court and will be included in its published reports. In concluding, I would like to repeat the four lines of a hymn which Justice WIEST quoted in speaking at the memorial services for the late Justice FEAD:
“The pains of death are past,
Labor and sorrow cease;
And life’s long warfare closed at last,
His soul is found in peace.”
In tribute to the memory of Justice WIEST, the Court will now stand adjourned.