No, none that were BORN in that year, but a pair that served in the Michigan Legislature under the 1908 Constitution.
After all, if they were born in 1908, they would turn 112 years old this year. Maybe that’s a little too much to expect.
Last week, we reported that, with the death of former state Senator Jack Faxon at age 83 on January 9, only six members of the 1961-62 state Constitutional Convention delegation still survive, and former state legislator Ray Murphy (D-Detroit), age 92, is the only one who served in both Con-Con AND the Michigan Legislature.
But Michigan’s current Constitution, created by the Con-Con delegates, didn’t take effect until 1964. What about state legislators who served at any time before that date?
There are only two still living, They are Lawrence B. (Larry) Lindemer (R-Stockbridge), now living in a retirement home in Chelsea at age 98, and Henry M.(Hank) Hogan, Jr. (R-Birmingham), now of Clarkston, alive at 87.
Lindemer hits the quadrifecta: 1) He was a state 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 oldest survivor. Incredibly, Lindemer served a single term in the state House in 1951-52, a full decade before Con-Con assembled. He has been widowed twice, and is still playing bridge with a female partner two decades his junior.
Hogan is a former newspaper publisher who sold the Birmingham Eccentric to one Phil Power and is still practicing a little law in what is supposed to be retirement. He served in the state House from 1961-64, just before the new Constitution took effect.
As recently as 2017, there were 10 men still alive (no women) who served in the Michigan Legislature under the state’s 1908 Constitution. But eight have passed away in just the past two and a half years.
According to Alan Fox, a key aide to the Ingham Co. Treasurer who keeps track of these things, these recently-departed include:
— Former Rep. Martin Buth (R-Comstock Park), who served 12 terms in the state House from 1959-’82, the first three of which were under the 1908 Constitution. He died at age 99 on July 24, 2017.
— Former state Senator Charles Youngblood (D-Detroit), who died at age 85 on July 29, 2017. He served a dozen years in the state Senate. His first term (1963-64) was under the old Constitution.
— Former state Rep. and state Senate Majority Leader Ray Dzendzel (D-Detroit), who died at age 97 on May 1, 2018. Both his terms in the House (from 1955-’58) and most of his following decade in the Senate were under the 1908 charter.
— Former state Rep, Kenneth Sanborn, a Republican of Macomb Co. and later a circuit judge, who died Nov. 18, 2018, at age 91. He served a single term in the House (1957-’58) under the old Constitution.
— Former state Rep, state Senator, and U.S. Rep. William Broomfield (R-Bloomfield Hills), who died at age 95 on Feb. 20 of last year. He 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.
— Former state Rep. and state Senator Bill S. Huffman (D-Madison Heights), who died last July 10 at age 94. Huffman served in the state House from 1963-74, the first two years under the 1908 Constitution, and was later a state senator under the current charter.
— Former state Senator, Lt. Gov., and Gov. William G. Milliken (R-Traverse City), who died last October 18 at age 97. Milliken served two senate terms (1961-64) under the old Constitution, then four years (1965-69) as Lt. Gov. under the current Constitution and, finally, a record 14 years as Governor (1969-82).
— Former state Rep. and U.S. Rep. J. Robert Traxler (D-Bay City), who died last Oct. 30 at age 88. “Bingo Bob” 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 10 terms in the U.S. Congress.
The 1908 Constitution under which the 10 state legislators surviving in early 2017 had served lasted roughly 55 years until it was succeeded by what is called the 1963 Constitution, which took effect Jan. 1, 1964. This current Constitution has now surpassed by about a year the amount of time the 1908 Constitution existed.
The survivors of 1908 as of three years ago were clearly a distinguished group, including a former governor and lieutenant governor, a supreme court justice, a senate majority leader, a circuit judge and a pair of Congressmen. At a comparable stage in the time-span of the current Constitution, will we be able to say as much about those who have served under it who are still alive in, say, 2076?