Clare County Historical Society members Jon H. Ringelberg and Lee Wixom undertook the project of re-hanging the Clare County Circuit Court Judges in the Circuit Courtroom. The portraits had been taken down when the Circuit Courtroom was remodeled several years ago and only about 4 of the portraits had been re-hung. Also, one portrait previously hung was not that of a Circuit Court Judge.
“It was a project that needed to be done”, according to Ringelberg, a former Clare County District Judge.
The project involved researching the names and years of service of Clare County’s past 10 Circuit Judges serving in 3 different Circuits over the past 145 years, the 10th, 21st and 55th Circuits. One of the challenges was the finding of two pictures which had not been present previously – Judge John Moore’s (1870-1874) portrait was discovered at the Saginaw Museum and Judge Wm. Tennant’s (1874-1875) was found after several hours of searching on the internet. Pictures of Judges Donald Holbrook, Sr. (1946-1964) Donald Holbrook, Jr. (1973-1974) and Robert Campbell (1965-1981) were provided by family members. The portraits of Judges Henry Hart (1875-1893), Peter Dodds (1894-1917), Ray Hart (1918-1947), Paul O’Connell (1975-1981), and Kurt Hansen (1981-2005) were at the Courthouse.
Ringelberg and Wixom constructed new frames of equal size for each portrait, obtained the matting, acrylic, and name labels. Two additional frames are ready for the present Circuit Court Judges — Judge Thomas Evans and Judge Roy Mienk. A number of Clare businesses contributed to the project – Guys & Dolls Photography, Coblentz Millworks, and Artistic Engraving. Circuit/Probate Court Administrator and Referee Darrell A. Schlese assisted in facilitating the project. He noted that the Circuit Court Judges are extremely pleased with new look of the judicial portraits and thanked the Clare County Historical Society for undertaking the project.”