Breaking News
More () »

Grand Rapids's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Grand Rapids, Michigan | WZZM13.com

Founder of WMU Cooley Law School dies at 89

The WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School community in Lansing is mourning the death of its founder, Hon. Thomas R. Brennan.

LANSING, Mich. - The founder of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing has died.

The Honorable Thomas E. Brennan, Sr. died on Sept. 29, 2018, in Lansing, Michigan. According to his obituary, he died "peacefully" and "surrounded by family." Brennan was 89.

Among founding the Cooley Law School, Brennan was also the 81st Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and the youngest Supreme Court Chief Justice in the history of the State of Michigan.

Hon. Thomas E. Brennan, photo provided.

►Read more: Law School community mourns passing of its founder Hon. Thomas E. Brennan

"Tom Brennan was a giant in legal education," said WMU-Cooley's Interim President Jeffrey Martlew in Brennan's obituary. "More than 20,000 WMU-Cooley graduates owe him a debt of gratitude for pursuing his vision in creating a law school focused on teaching knowledge, skills, and ethics. Beyond that, Tom had a genuine love for people. He was a terrific mentor and a true friend, and I shall miss him."

Brennan is survived by his wife Polly and their children: Thomas, Jr. (Julie), Margaret (David) Radelet, John (Catherine), William (Lisa), Marybeth (James) Hicks, and Ellen (Peter) Campbell; nineteen grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; siblings Raymond (Loretta) of East Lansing, Michigan, Mary (James) Bernard of Fraser, Colorado, and Sally Giraud of Westland, Michigan, and sister-in-law Patricia Brennan of Rochester Hills, Michigan. He is preceded in death by parents Joseph and Jeanette Brennan and brother Joseph Terrence, Jr.

Details about Memorial Service will be shared once they are available. Click here to read more about Brennan, the early years of his political career, his time serving on the Bench and his time at Cooley Law School.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.