Schwedler retires as probate judge
For the Reporter
CRYSTAL FALLS—On a rainy morning a few days after Christmas, Probate Judge C. Joseph Schwedler cleaned out the Iron County Courthouse office he occupied for nearly 30 years.
He took the framed print of three attorneys gifted to him by his mother-in-law when he first moved to Crystal Falls to practice law in 1976. He took the weathered gavel given to him by his predecessor, Oswald Casanova. He took family photos. The old desk stays.
Schwedler retired on Dec. 31, the end of his current term as Iron County Probate Judge. Donald S. Powell, who was elected probate judge in November, began his term Jan.1.
Schwedler was appointed Iron County Probate Judge by Gov. James Blanchard in 1990. In 1992, Schwedler was elected to finish the term of the retiring Probate Judge Oswald Casanova.
Schwedler was subsequently re-elected to four additional six-year terms. Having served more than 28 years, he is the longest serving probate judge in Iron County.
In 1999, as part of a consolidation project to increase court efficiency and public access to judges, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed Schwedler to serve as Iron County’s first trial court judge.
As the trial court judge, Schwedler presided over the 41st Circuit Court in Iron County, Iron County Probate Court and 95B District Court in Iron County.
“He was a path-breaker,” said local attorney Vincent Petrucelli of Schwedler’s work as Iron County’s first trial court judge. “He was the first one that did it, so he set the pathway for those that followed him, and he set a great example. People will follow his lead for generations.”