John J. Smolenski

Pages 487-488 - John J. Smolenski has been engaged in the practice of law in the city of Grand Rapids during the entire period of his professional career, which had its initiation in the year 1911. The scope and importance of his law business indicates the popular estimate placed upon him as a man and as a lawyer, and he has built up a substantial practice. His is deep loyalty to the Polish element of citizenship, and he figures as guide, counselor and friend to a great number of Michigan citizens and families who are of the same ancestral stock as is he himself. Mr. Smolenski was born in Grand Rapids, May 18, 1888, and is a son of Stanley and Rose (Cukerski) Smolenski, both natives of Poland. Stanley Smolenski has been a resident of Grand Rapids fully forty-five years, and is now about sixty years of age, his wife having passed away September 10, 1894, at the age of thirty years. After his graduation in the old Union high school of Grand Rapids, Mr. Smolenski was for some time a student in the law department of the University of Michigan, and he defrayed his incidental expenses by working in various fraternity and sorority houses maintained by the students of the university. His very meager financial resources made it imperative that he should at the earliest possible moment begin to receive returns from the profession for which he was fitting himself, and thus he applied himself earnestly and made such advancement in his assimilation of the science of jurisprudence that he gained admission to the bar in 1911, upon examination. He returned to Grand Rapids and was fortunate in being almost immediately appointed assistant prosecuting attorney of Kent county, the preferment having come from Judge William B. Brown, who was then the prosecuting attorney and reappointment having been made under Earl F. Phelps, who was the successor of Judge Brown in the office of prosecutor. After five years of effective service as assistant prosecuting attorney, Mr. Smolenski, with well earned reputation as a resourceful trial lawyer, engaged in the private practice of his profession, in which his success has been substantial and cumulative. He loyally acts as legal representative for many Polish citizens, and his clients of this nationality are to be found in virtually all parts of Michigan. He is a leader among the Polish people of western Michigan, and is ever ready to protect and advance their interests. This is a stewardship in which he takes great satisfaction and he finds ample reward in the esteem, confidence and affectionate regard of those whom he is thus able to serve. He is actively identified with the various Polish social and fraternal organizations of his native city and state. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, and he and his wife are zealous communicants of the Catholic church, in which they have membership in the Church of the Sacred Heart, and he is a member of the board of trustees of St. Johnís Orphan Asylum, one of the noble institutions maintained in Grand Rapids under the auspices of the Catholic church. He is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and in the city of Chicago he has membership in the Illinois Athletic Club, a representative organization in the great western metropolis. On the first of May, 1916, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Smolenski to Miss Rose Miskiewicz, who likewise was born and reared in Grand Rapids, where her father, Stanley Miskiewicz, a native of Poland, still maintains his home. Mr. and Mrs. Smolenski have one son, J. Robert, who was born December 17, 1918.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 22 November 2003