It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kenneth E. Tiews, who died unexpectedly at his home in Grand Rapids on August 8, 2022. He practiced at Wheeler Upham for 45 years. Dr. Tiews began his legal career with the firm in 1977 and was still enjoying a full-time practice here at the time of his passing.
Dr. Tiews specialized in the law of trusts, estate planning, estate and gift taxation, probate proceedings, will and trust contests, guardianships, adoptions, ecclesiastical law, the formation of foundations and nonprofit organizations, Medicaid and elder law counselling, and noncommercial real estate transactions. He was an excellent attorney, a consummate gentleman, a sparkling conversationalist, and a dear and wonderful friend.
Born in 1948, Ken obtained four degrees from the University of Michigan: a BA in 1970, a JD in 1973, and an MA and a PhD, both in philosophy, in 1975 and 1977, respectively. In addition to becoming one of Michigan’s preeminent probate and estate planning attorneys, he also served his community as a board member for a number of non-profit organizations.
Ken had a lifelong thirst for learning, expressed through numerous personal and professional study groups in addition to his extensive reading. As recently as 2021 he was recognized by Best Lawyers with an award for Litigation - Trusts and Estates. Periodically he found time to pass on his love of learning by teaching at Aquinas College and Calvin University. While Ken excelled professionally, he mostly excelled at being a human being. He was a great family member and friend. His wit, humor, conversational skills, and multiple interests made him a joy to all those who knew him. He was a lively and entertaining conversationalist, balancing engaging wit with active and attentive listening. Ken lived with a unique style that brought graciousness to relationships and environments. He was a brilliant cartoonist and illustrator. Although published in several books, he mainly used his skills to delight his family and friends.
Ken is greatly missed.