The Hon. Robert B. Webster, of Royal Oak, died May 15 at the age of 81. In addition to distinguished service as a lawyer and judge, Mr. Webster served as a major in the Michigan Air National Guard.
After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1957 he clerked for Judge Ralph M. Freeman, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. In private practice, he specialized in civil litigation, family law and alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation, and brought his practical expertise to bear in his work as chair of the State Bar Committee on Civil Procedure, and as the chairperson of the Committee to Revise and Consolidate the Michigan Court Rules. He was a co-author of Michigan Court Rules Practice, Martin, Dean and Webster, West Publishing Company.
He was appointed an Oakland County circuit judge be Governor Milliken in 1973 and served until 1982, including service as chief judge. He was elected President of the State Bar in 1989. From his contributions to the seminal work of the Commission on the Courts in the 21st Century to his long years of leadership on the Judicial Qualifications Committee, he contributed immeasurably and tirelessly to his profession and to the improvement of the administration of justice in Michigan. In 1993, the State Bar awarded him the Roberts P. Hudson Award for outstanding and unique service to and on behalf of the State Bar of Michigan, the legal profession, and public. The Hudson Award is considered the highest award conferred by the State Bar.
Judge Webster is survived by his children Anne E. Webster Jacobs and husband, Chris Jacobs; Allison D. Webster Giddings and husband, Gavin Giddings; Peter H. Webster and wife Penny; James B. Webster; by their mother, Marilyn Hey Webster; and by his grandchildren: Colin Jacobs, Samuel Giddings, Ethan Webster, Kyle Jacobs, Glennie Webster, Alexander Jacobs and Sydney Giddings.
Visitation will be held at Sullivan Funeral Home in Royal Oak, Michigan, on Tuesday, May 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held Friday, May 31, at Birmingham Community House, 380 S. Bates, Birmingham. Memorials to Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties or the Crystal Lake and Watershed Association are suggested.