Kanne was 83

Judge Michael Kanne served over 50 years in the law profession.

RENSSELAER — The Rensselaer community is saddened to hear the death of Indiana Circuit Court Judge and long-time resident Michael S. Kanne on June 16.

Kanne died at home with his wife Judy at his side. He was 83.

Kanne was appointed to the Northern District of Indiana by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 before being elevated to the Seventh Circuit Court in 1987.

A graduate of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in 1962, he served as a trial judge in Indiana’s 30th Judicial Circuit prior to his appointment by President Reagan.

“Judge Kanne’s colleagues on the court join his wife, Judy, and their daughters Anne and Kate, together with many friends — including scores of former law clerks — in mourning his passing,” said Chief Judge Diane S. Sykes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Court. “He was a devoted husband and father, a respected judge, a proud Hoosier and a patriotic public servant. He leaves tremendous legal and human legacies and will be greatly missed.”

Retired Judge John Tinder, who served with Kanne on the Chicago appellate court, said his friend was “a terrific colleague who was hardworking, thoughtful, a good listener and a careful writer.

“Michael was a wonderful judge and colleague,” Tinder told The Indiana Lawyer. “He will be missed.”

One of his former law clerks was U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Ahler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Judge Ahler, a Rensselaer native who served as Kanne’s clerk from 1996-97, calls his mentor “my hero.”

Ahler told The Indiana Lawyer website that Kanne would remain impartial about a case, keeping an open mind in reading through all the briefs and sitting through oral arguments. Then after hearing both sides, he would render an opinion.

“Working for Judge Kanne was truly a special experience,” Ahler said. “Working for him, I fell in love with the law in a way I never had before.”

A Rensselaer High School graduate, Kanne started a private practice in his hometown before becoming Jasper County Circuit Court Judge in 1972. He was one of the guest speakers at the Jasper County Courthouse’s 125th anniversary celebration last fall.

An IU fan, Kanne was also a die-hard Cubs fan. He also loved football and was proud to have been a member of the Rensselaer High School championship football team of 1954.

He could be seen walking the sidelines on Friday nights as the Bombers battled on the football field as well. He was in the stands when the Bombers beat Evansville Mater Dei for the 2014 Class 2A state title in Indianapolis.

Kanne was born in Rensselaer on Dec. 21, 1938 to the late Allen R. and Jane (Robinson) Kanne. He married his love, Judith Ann Stevens, in Bloomington at the Indiana University Chapel on June 22, 1963.

He attended St. Augustine Catholic School, Rensselaer High School, Indiana University and the IU School of Law. From 1962-65, he served in the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

He is survived by his wife Judy and daughters Anne Elizabeth Kanne and Katherine Stevens Kanne and a brother, Edward A. Kanne.

See the Republican print edition and its website for a full obituary.

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