Donald Lee Reisig

Leland, Michigan.

Donald was born on December 16, 1934, in Parma, Michigan, to school teacher parents, Victor A. and Bernice Reisig, and died on Friday, October 21, 2016 in Charlotte, MI.


Donald grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan, where he won a Whirlpool Corporation academic scholarship, and thereafter attended both Northwestern University and the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, and the University of Michigan Law School. Upon law school graduation in 1958 he commenced his legal career in Lansing, MI as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Donald, thereafter in the 1960s served consecutively as Chief Asst. Prosecuting Attorney, Lansing City Attorney, Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney, and Ingham County Circuit Judge (30th Circuit), and was often referred to by friends and colleagues as the “boy wonder” of Ingham County politics. While serving as Prosecuting Attorney, Donald found time to write two treatises and a number of articles on emerging criminal law and procedure issues, as well as other topics. He was a frequent speaker before civic and bar related groups on law and law related topics. During this time he also served as a visiting professor and lecturer as the MSU School of Criminal Justice and the newly formed Thomas M. Cooley Law School.


In 1976, Donald entered private practice with the law firm of Sinas, Dramis, Brake, Boughton, McIntyre and Reisig; however his public service was not over. Between 1988/9 he served as President of the State Bar of Michigan. In 1989 he was asked by then Governor James Blanchard to serve as Michigan Director of Drug Agencies. In 1995, upon the fall of the Iron Curtain, at the request of the American Bar Association, he served as a legal liaison to the former Soviet countries of Ukraine and Georgia to assist in converting the legal systems of those newly independent states to the rule of law.


In 1996, Donald again left retirement to become Director of Legal Affairs for the Central Michigan Legal Services Agency, serving to meet the needs of the indigent in obtaining essential legal services. Thereafter, he was asked by the Judges of the 30th Judicial Circuit to serve as administrator of the newly created Juvenile Division of the court which included responsibilities as Friend of the Court where he served until 2007.


Donald is survived by his wife, Carol Ann Keyes Reisig; three children, Chris Ward Reisig (Rory) of Williamston, Deborah Engstrom (Mark) of Okemos, and Charles Reisig of Tucson, AZ; four grandchildren, Daniel Viaches (Laura) of Indianapolis, IN, Matthew Viaches (Lisa) of Carmel, IN, Kristi Viaches of New York City and Dalton Reisig of Tucson, AZ; stepchildren, Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, Elizabeth Geraghty of New York, Richard Whitmer Jr. of Lansing, Kristin M. Pierce of Mason, and Kimberly M. Patterson (Joseph Titlebaum) of Port Aransas, TX; and step-granddaughter, Lauren Pierce. Also surviving are three dear great-grandchildren, James, Adam and Ava.


Don was a kind, generous and humorous man. His legal tactics were brilliant and he was known for his diligent attention to detail and his ability to wait out his opponent. His contributions to the legal field were many and significant.


A devoted family man, Don was an avid U of M Alumni and fan, a world traveler and classical music connoisseur. He enjoyed the Leland sunsets while sipping local wine and discussing global politics.


A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. His family will receive friends at the funeral home beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday until service time. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Eaton Community Palliative Care, 2675 S. Cochran Rd., Charlotte, MI 48813 or the National Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131,


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7 Messages to “Donald Lee Reisig

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Carla Kennedy Giddings
October 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Dear Carol and family, sending you all heartfelt sympathy, thoughts and prayers on your loss. Carla

Melody crandall
October 23, 2016 at 7:42 am

To the family of Don. Please know how truly sorry I am for your loss. It was my extreme pleasure to work with Don for a few years at FOC. He was an amazing man with an amazing attitude. If you told him something wasn’t right on a case he fixed it. If you did something wrong you were told immediately and it was resolved. I will miss him very much. I learned so much from him. Again, I am so sorry for your loss and the loss in the community. A good man. Sincerely Melody Crandall

Sherrie Hardesty Duncan
October 23, 2016 at 9:54 am

Dear Carol and family,
Thinking of you at this time of
Sorrow. Don was a wonderful
Man, and I know you will miss
Him. God will take care of him
And you too.

Catherine Stevens
October 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Carol and Family, I’m so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in the many memories of Don. I was lucky enough to be a part of making some of those memories on our trip to the Amalfi Coast and our shared time in Florida. Many blessings to you and the family.

Deris & David Southworth
October 23, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Prayers from both of us to Carol and family during the loss of ur special loved one Don. God Bless. Deris and David

Tommy Wright
October 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm

We thank him for his years of service and years on the bench. I was a very young LPD Officer then testifying on big cases. On a drug case, he ordered the jury, court reporter, attorney’s, defendant and myself the testifying/arresting Officer to go out on Ottawa St and recreate the plain view drug search situation in the defendants car. I placed the clear amber prescription bottle just where I saw it tucked just under the defendant’s seat. I had observed it at night through the front windshield using my flashlight. The tin foil “bindles” of heroin were easily seen. The attorneys looked along with Judge Resig and each of jury. We went back into the court room and on the record. The Judge stated “let the record reflect the I am shorter than the arresting Officer and I easily saw the container”! The motion to quash the search was denied. The suspect was convicted by the jury. The case went to the Court of Appeals and the conviction was upheld. I enjoyed his fairness and order in his court room. RIP your Honor. Prayers to the family

Nancy A. Galloway
October 24, 2016 at 9:43 pm

My deepest sympathy to the family of Don Reisig. As State Bar of Michigan staff it was my pleasure to work with Don when he was President of the State Bar. Don was a dedicated lawyer and someone I was proud to travel with to the various bar bar functions around the State. He represented the lawyers well and made me proud that he was the leader of the Bar.

Rest in Peace my friend.

Nancy A. Galloway, retired State Bar of Michigan


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