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Michael Robert Smolenski

11/28/1944
05/30/2009

SMOLENSKI – Michael Robert Smolenski died May 30 2009 in Middleville following a courageous battle with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a rare degenerative neurological disorder. He died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him most at the familys cottage on Barlow Lake a retreat he had known and cherished since childhood.Born November 28 1944 in Grand Rapids Mike was the first of ten children born to the Honorable J. Robert and Mary Burkholder Smolenski.A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School Mike led a distinguished legal career and a lifetime of civil and public service to the State of Michigan and the Grand Rapids community. His legal career began as a Judge Advocate General officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1970 to 1973.Following more than a decade in private practice Mike was appointed to the 61st District Court in 1984 and was elected in 1990 to the Kent Circuit Court. Mike was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals effective January 1 1995 and re-elected to additional six-year terms commencing January 1 2001 and January 1 2007. Among his numerous civic and community contributions Mike was a founding member of the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association and the Stepping Stones Montessori School. A grass roots campaigner he felt a strong sense of responsibility to his community and fully appreciated the privilege of holding public office. His integrity and compassion guided him throughout his legal career.A loving husband and devoted father Mike was above all else a dedicated family man. From the songs he loved to sing to his kids at night to the family camping and road trips he captained he represented to his family a model of warmth love and commitment. While his humor and unmistakable presence will forever be missed Mikes spirit will endure in the lives of his wife seven children and nine grandchildren as they continue to draw upon his magnificent example in life and in death of strength courage grace and generosity. In addition to his devotion to family and his career Mike was an avid runner and outdoorsman and an automobile and wooden boat enthusiast.Mike is survived by his wife of 39 years Kathy his father Judge J.Robert Smolenski his nine sisters Anne (Peter) Fitch Mary Sue (Bob) Grinnell Roberta (Scott) Hummel Meg (Ken) Hillary Laura (Harold) Hupp Jane DeYoung Judge Sara Smolenski Linda Burpee Pat (Rich) Spreng Martha (John) Johnson his children Dan Smolenski Ginny (Jeff) Korte Andy (Erin) Smolenski Emily (John) Schetz Katie (Jason) Canfield Steve and Hannah and his grandchildren Claire and Ava (Korte), Sophia Luke Greta and Nate (Smolenski), William and Henry (Schetz), and Michael (Canfield), and twenty-five nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his mother Mary Burkholder Smolenski. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered June 4 2009 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew 265 Sheldon Ave. SE with Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley presiding. Vigil service at 7 p.m. Interment Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Cemetery 1591 131st Ave., Wayland. Visitation and from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at the OBrien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home 3980 Cascade Rd SE. As an alternative to flowers Mikes family welcomes donations for MSA research to the University of Michigan Health System Department of Neurology 1500 E. Medical Center Drive Ann Arbor Michigan 48109-0316 (734) 936-4020.

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Born: November 28, 1944
Death: May 30, 2009

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Born: November 28, 1944
Death: May 30, 2009