Why Join the Bar Memorial Committee?

By Mike Burke and Dave Hutchinson

Dear colleagues,

Like many of you, we’ve attended funerals—not because we like funerals, but because they're a way to honor someone's life. Although the occasion is somber, the best part of a funeral is when a family member or longtime friend of the decedent gives the eulogy. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter from the attendees when the eulogist tells the stories about the person helps us all remember the decedent: who they were to us and what they contributed.

When the decedent is a colleague, hearing a eulogy is also a chance for us to learn about who they were outside of their work: their hobbies, their character, their traits, all those things that explain why they were so loved. 

The RCBA Memorials Committee assists the court in organizing its annual Memorial Service. We are currently welcoming new members to the committee. Our job is to:

• review a list of attorneys and judges who lived or worked in Ramsey County who have died in the previous year 
• to find and reach out to a family member, friend, or former workmate of the decedent

• to let that relative or friend know that there is an annual gathering to honor deceased attorneys—our colleagues—for their years of service to the Bar and the community

The decedent's family and friends are invited, with the general public, to a special session of the Ramsey County District Court. An attorney with a personal relationship to each decedent reads a short memorial, honoring their life and their contributions to our community. It is truly a special and meaningful occasion.

Being a member of the RCBA Memorials Committee is an opportunity to honor our deceased colleagues and to connect with their family members. Each year, talking to their family members and reading their obituaries gives us an opportunity to appreciate the scope, depth, and goodness of our profession and its members. 

We are proud that the judges of Ramsey County dedicate a session of court to recognize our colleagues, and we are proud to be involved in planning that session. We strongly encourage RCBA members of all ages and backgrounds to serve on the Memorials Committee. We would love to have you.

—Mike Burke and Dave Hutchinson

To join the memorial committee, contact Sabrina Sands at ssands@mnbars.org.

Michael J. Burke is a life-long resident of St. Paul, married with five children.  Mike is a 1986 graduate of William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) and a long-time solo attorney practicing in the areas of estate planning, probate/trust administration, real estate and guardianship/conservatorship law.




Dave Hutchinson is a civil trial lawyer who has been a member of the Ramsey County Bar Association since 1975 when he graduated from William Mitchell College of Law and joined the predecessor of the Geraghty, O’Loughlin and Kenney, P.A. law firm in St. Paul.  For several decades he has specialized in defending medical malpractice claims. Dave is now semi-retired.