Monday Profile: Tom Bengston

 By Jo Mathis

Legal News
Tom Bengtson was born in Menominee, along with a twin brother, Tim, on October 30, 1942.  He graduated from Menominee High School in 1960, having been voted president of the student council. He started his college career at Northern Michigan University and later transferred to the University of Michigan, graduating in 1964.  He graduated from Michigan Law School in 1967.
After a brief stint as an executive trainee with MET Life, Bengston volunteered to join the U.S. Army and later requested to serve in Vietnam.  He was honorably discharged in 1970, having earned a Bronze Star.
Bengtson began his legal career at the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office. In 1972, he joined the Hubbard Law Firm in Lansing, where he remained until his retirement in 2007. He is a dedicated fan of U-M football, an avid collector of sports memorabilia and active in a variety of local community activities. He is married with four adult children, one of whom is practicing law in Washington, D.C.   
Residence: Williamston.
Currently reading: “My Father, My Son” by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr/Lieutenant Elmo Zumwalt III, which addresses the U.S. introduction of Agent Orange defoliant during the RVN conflict.
What is your most treasured material possession? Autograph collection.
What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Just don’t do it! Law school has become cost prohibitive.
What is the best and worst thing about retirement?
Best: no more meetings, no more office politics, no more getting up at the crack of dawn. Worst: no more year-end bonuses. 
Favorite local hangouts: Spag’s in Williamston; Blue Gill Grill, Haslett; and Dagwood’s, Lansing.
Favorite websites: Ebay and PSA Insider….a sports card grading service.
What is your happiest childhood memory? Weeklong family vacations in Milwaukee where we attended  the Brave’s home games and freely collected autographs from the players in the lobby of the Schroeder Hotel on Wisconsin Ave: Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Don Larson, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks to name a few.
Which things do you not like to do? Shovel snow and all things related to home improvement.
What has been your favorite year so far? 1967: I graduated from Law School, enlisted in the U.S. Army; met Senator Robert Kennedy; and attended multiple Tiger’s games at Briggs Stadium.
What’s your most typical mood? Content.
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Miguel Cabrera, who is paid $3.6 million per month ($120,000 per day to play professional baseball, the love of his life.)
What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? Following plea negotiations in a multiple homicide matter, pursuant to instructions from my client and his family, client directed police officials to the remains of three missing women, providing families closure.
Have you ever had to hire a lawyer? Yes. Only a fool represents him/herself.
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? Vatican City.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Don’t take life so seriously.
What’s your biggest regret? Not accepting the invitation of my classmates to take a month long, cross country road trip following law school graduation. They were a great group and I know I would have had a truly memorable trip.
What word do you overuse? “Yes.”
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? Advanced First Aid.
What is something most people don’t know about you? I turned down the opportunity to personally interview Senator John F. Kennedy, when he was a candidate for President, because I wanted to sleep in on Saturday morning.
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? Lee Harvey Oswald; Jimmy Hoffa; and Natalie Wood.
Can’t live without technology: I’m not a technology guy; more like a technology dinosaur, but I would be lost without my phone.
What’s the best advice you ever received? My senior partner, Harry Hubbard, made the point early on that I should not depend on the practice of law for my financial security.
If you can help it, where will you never return? While on R&R from RVN in Japan, my judgment was unmistakably impaired, as I voluntarily boarded a gondola, en route to the top of the tallest mountain in Japan, which predictably scared me out of my wits. Fearing all heights, my bravery was short lived as the gondola ascended skyward. I will never repeat this terrible experience. Never...
What do you drive?  Buick LaCrosse.
What would you drive if money were no object? Buick Lacrosse.
Favorite place to spend money: Travel websites and eBay.
What is your motto? Plan your work. Work your plan.
Where would you like to be when you’re 90? At the tables in Vegas.
What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Loyal to the end and beyond.


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