Any history of the legal profession in the Upper Peninsula will surely feature Ed Quinnell, who recently left us prematurely. Ed was a student prodigy, skipping two high school grades and graduating at age 16 as valedictorian. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in three years and a law degree in three more from the University of Michigan by age 22.
Ed served as a Justice of the Peace while he was studying to become a lawyer. He was elected as a part-time prosecutor and served for 16 years while maintaining a private practice. He was appointed by a senior Federal Judge as a Bankruptcy Referee and served for approximately 1 1/2 years. He was then elected Marquette County circuit judge in 1974 and re-elected for three additional terms, the longest tenure for a circuit judge in Marquette County’s history.
While serving as circuit judge, Ed was appointed to sit on Michigan Court of Appeals panels and he wrote many well-reasoned appellate opinions.
Ed was also accomplished as a musician. He was the first President of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, and often the person who set up the auditorium for performances. He played his bassoon with the symphony orchestra as recently as this past February. He appreciated and supported the arts.
Ed will be remembered by many attorneys for having taken the time to encourage and instruct them in their practice of the law. He was a tolerant and kind man who often looked out for “the little guy.”
Judge Quinnell has earned a respectable place in Michigan’s legal history.
Kevin Wm. Koch