Former circuit court judge Ross Campbell dies at 94

Judge Ross W. Campbell, who served as a Washtenaw County probate and circuit court judge for 25 years, died April 6 at the age of 94, in Ann Arbor.

A former Eagle Scout in Detroit, Campbell attended the U.S. Military Academy and later served in the Army of Occupation in Germany and Italy, helping several displaced persons escape Russian occupied areas in post-war Germany.

After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1955, Campbell practiced law in Ann Arbor. In 1967, he was elected as a Judge of Probate for Washtenaw County, and was appointed to the Washtenaw Circuit Court Bench by Gov. Bill Milliken in 1969. He was re-elected to successive judicial terms until his retirement in 1992.

In his judicial capacity, Campbell helped reform the way people with mental illness are treated in the criminal justice system, both locally and in several commissions for Michigan Department of Mental Health; and he began the now general practice of traveling with court staff to mental health facilities for legal hearings.

Campbell authored eight published articles on juvenile law, children's rights, and medical malpractice.

Ordained to the Episcopal Diaconate in 1981, and the Episcopal Priesthood in 1987, Campbell served as an assistant minister at St. Clare's of Assisi Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, and established the Episcopal Hospital Chaplaincy Program for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, the VA Hospital, and the U of M Hospital. His community service included Ann Arbor’s Kiwanis, Breakfast Optimist, Masonry, the A2 PTO, and as a Scouting Commissioner.

His activities and interests including writing songs and mystery short stories and reading; and his extensive photo slide show collection of the history of the Washtenaw County area is placed with the Washtenaw County Historical Society.
Predeceased by his first wife, Jean, and second wife, Beverly, Campbell is survived by his sons Chris and Charles and their wives, and grandchildren Lauren and Jared.

A memorial gathering will be held at 3 p.m., on April 22, at the Glacier Hills Manor senior residence in Ann Arbor. Campbell’s Book of Memories can be visited at


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