In Memoriam: Outstanding local trial attorney Robert "Joe" VanLeuven dies


Robert “Joe” VanLeuven passed away Saturday, October 12, at the age of 82.  He had been residing at Seminole Shores Living Center where he continued to wage a courageous battle against Parkinson’s Disease.

VanLeuven was a graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan Law School. He was born in Detroit Michigan.  He served his country by enlisting in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Following his military service, VanLeuven moved to Muskegon and began a law practice that would span 43 years.

VanLeuven quickly became well known and respected as a brilliant trial lawyer. He was inducted as a Fellow into the nationally prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  Together with Robert Libner and Vern Kortering, he established the law firm of Libner, VanLeuven & Kortering which became well known for its aggressive and successful respresentation of plaintiffs. 

Former law partner of VanLeuven’s, Roy J. Portenga, shared the following: “Joe was intense and serious about the practice of law and incredibly detailed in his work. He was a very good and caring person who truly loved the practice of law and also genuinely cared for his clients and their needs.

“He was a mentor and was a wonderful partner during my association with the firm,” said Portenga.

VanLeuven was an avid bridge player and enjoyed his time spent in both Florida and Michigan with friends and family. His greatest joy was his family.  He is survived by his wife, Marri Lee and their three children, Jeo (Denise) VanLeuven of Oregon, Douglas (Cathy) VanLeuven of Wisconsin, Julie VanLeuven of North Carolina, and three step-daughters. The VanLeuvens were blessed with seventeen grandchildren and one great grandchild.  He is also survived by his faithful canine pal Henry. 

For a lasting memorial in Joe VanLeuven’s name, please consider the Parkinsons Association.