… men still alive who served in the Michigan Legislature under Michigan’s 1908 Constitution. No women survive.
This follows the death July 24 of former state Rep. Martin (Marty) Buth of the Grand Rapids suburb of Comstock Park. He was 99 years old. Buth served in the House from 1959 through 1982. He later served two terms on the Kent County Board of Commissioners. Gov. Rick Snyder ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff within the Capitol complex on Monday, July 31, the day on which a service will be held in Buth’s honor at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids.
Michigan’s 1908 Constitution was succeeded on Jan. 1, 1964, by the state’s current charter, which was written at the 1961-62 state Constitutional Convention in Lansing.
According to Alan Fox, who keeps track of these things for Practical Political Consulting, the nine men still alive who served all or part of their tenure in the Legislature under the 1908 Constitution are a distinguished group, including a former governor, a supreme court justice, a senate majority leader, a circuit judge and a pair of Congressmen.
The list includes ex-Gov. William G. Milliken (R-Traverse City), who served in the state Senate from 1961-64 and is now the third-oldest of the survivors at age 95.
The oldest is former Senate Majority Leader Ray Dzendzel (D-Detroit), who is now 96. Dzendzel served in the state house from 1955-58 and in the Senate from 1959-68.
Also “up there” in years is Lawrence B. (Larry) Lindemer (R-Stockbridge), 95, who hits the quadrifecta: 1) He was a Supreme Court Justice; 2) He was a U-M Regent; 3) He was the state Republican Party chairman from 1957-61; and 4) He’s the second-oldest of the survivors, just behind Dzendzel. Lindemer served a single term in the state House in 1951-52.
Six others are on the list as well:
— William S. Broomfield (R-Bloomfield Hills), 95, who served in the state House from 1949-54 and in the Senate in 1955-56 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 straight terms;
— Kenneth N. Sanborn (R-Macomb Co.), 90, who served in the state House from 1957-58 and later became a Macomb Co. circuit judge;
— Henry M. Hogan, Jr. (R-Birmingham), a former newspaper publisher who is still practicing a little law in Clarkson at age 84. He served in the state House from 1961-64;
— Bill S. Huffman (D-Madison Heights), now 92, who served in the state House from 1963-64 and was later a state senator under the current Constitution;
— J. Bob Traxler (D-Bay City), now 86, who served in the state House in 1963-64 under the 1908 charter and then another decade in the same chamber under the current Constitution before being elected to the first of 10 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives; and
— Charles N. Youngblood. Jr.. now 85, who served a dozen years in the state Senate. His first term (1963-64) was partly under the old Constitution.