In Memoriam: Charles W. Joiner, 36th SBM President

The State Bar of Michigan mourns the loss of its 36th president, Charles W. Joiner, who died March 10 at the age of 101.

A 1939 graduate of the University of Iowa Law School, Joiner was elected president of the State Bar of Michigan from 1970-1971. He had a long and distinguished legal career in the Ann Arbor area, after first serving as an aviation cadet, flight instructor, pilot, and crew commander of a B-29 bomber squadron in the Pacific during World War II, and then served as an attorney with the firm Miller, Huebner, and Miller in Des Moines. In 1947 he and his family moved to Ann Arbor where he practiced law and served on the city council from 1955-1959.

In the 1960s Joiner organized and directed a group of attorneys in drafting a complete revision of the 40-year-old Procedural Statutes and Rules for Michigan’s state courts, and then led the successful drive for their enactment. He served as director of the Preparatory Commission and director of Research and Drafting for the 1961-1962 Michigan Constitutional Convention. Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren tapped him to help author the proposal that resulted in the Uniform Rules of Evidence for the federal court system, and Joiner helped advocate for its adoption. Chief Justice Warren also recruited Joiner to serve on the Civil Rules Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference, and the Committee to Review Circuit Council Conduct and Disability Orders.

Joiner served for nine years on the American Bar Association Committee on Ethics, served as chair of the ABA Committee on Specialization, and also served as chair of the SBM Privacy Committee. He was named by Governor William Milliken as a commissioner of Uniform State Laws. He also served as a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where he founded the Advocacy Institute for Continuing Education for lawyers, and he also served as associate dean and then acting dean. He then served as dean of Wayne State University Law School until 1972, when he was appointed a district judge for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, where he served until 1984. He then served by invitation on the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit bench, taking about a one-third load. He authored six books and many articles for law reviews and bar journals. He was an active member of the American Law Institute, American Judicature Society Board of Directors, American Bar Foundation Fellows chair, and a life member of the NAACP.

Joiner is survived by his wife of 72 years, Anna Helen Martin Joiner, and three children, Charles Joiner Jr. (Katherine) of Greenville, SC; Nancy Bidlack (Stan), of Pinckney; and Richard Joiner, of Madisonville, KY; as well as seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. His favorite personal pastime was golf, and he enjoyed a round almost every day until he was 96. He and his wife enjoyed nature, new spring flowers, and the greenness of the grass each spring.

Memorial services have been held. Memorial contributions may be made to North Methodist Church of Naples, 6000 Goodlette-Frank Rd, Naples, FL 34109. To view or contribute online condolences, visit