Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice John L. Coffey died Saturday at the age of 90.
Coffey, a Milwaukee native, graduated from Marquette University in 1943 and Marquette University Law School in 1948. He became Milwaukee’s assistant city attorney in 1949 and served until 1954 when he was elected a civil court judge for Milwaukee County. In 1960, he was elected a municipal judge and served until the court reorganization in 1962, when he was elected a circuit judge for Milwaukee County.
During his 16 years on the bench in Milwaukee, he served as senior judge and chief presiding judge in the felony division, as well as a judge in the civil division. In 1977, Coffey was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
In 1981, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit by then-President Ronald Reagan.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said Coffey’s experience earlier in his career as an assistant city attorney, municipal court judge and county court judge gave him a well-rounded perspective on the law.
He is survived by two children and his wife of 62 years, Marion.
Visitation will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Feerick Funeral Home. Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Gesu Church, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee.