Several members of the Southwest Michigan Kotz Sangster team had an excellent time supporting St. Joseph High School’s athletics department during their recent “Birdies Fore Bears” fundraising event, serving as the Platinum Sponsor of the event.
We are saddened to share the passing of the Honorable John E. Dewane, retired judge and close friend of many members of the Kotz Sangster team, on Thursday, October 14th. At 81 years old, John spent several years as a vital member of our firm in addition to his impactful career serving Berrien County as a Circuit Court judge.
Professionally, John was known for finding simplicity in complexity, displaying an aptitude for getting to the root of an issue and providing clarity to everyone involved. Well-known as an incredibly hard worker, John practiced law for near-50 years in various capacities, with an unmatched understanding of the law and its applications. In his personal life, his renowned storytelling ability, sense of humor, and profound kindness made him beloved by all.
His dedication to his community led him to serve on the boards of several organizations, including the Cornerstone Alliance; Big Michigan Doings, Inc.; the Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Workforce Development Board; the Private Industry Council; and serving as president of the Berrien County Mental Health Board.
Mitt Drew—Kotz Sangster attorney and Managing Director of the firm’s Southwest Michigan Offices, as well as John’s former mentee and close friend—had this to say about him: “John was a legal scholar and dedicated his entire career to serving the citizens of Berrien County. As a practitioner and jurist, he set the standard for professionalism, legal acumen and civility. For those of us who appeared before him and had the privilege of working with him, our lives have been forever touched and impacted by his commitment to the profession, friendship and keen wit.”
John’s family announced a celebration of life service at the Starks & Menchinger Chapel on Thursday, October 21st, from 4PM-7PM. They’ve asked that memorial contributions be made in his name to the Benton Harbor - St. Joseph YMCA in lieu of floral arrangements.
To say the very least, John’s passing represents a deep loss for our firm. His wisdom and kindness greatly impacted many members of our team, and we will all miss him dearly.