Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Michael Anthony Willemsen's memorial

Michael Anthony Willemsen
Sept. 2, 1937-March 15, 2024
Palo Alto, California

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Anton C. and Mildred Willemsen, Mike moved often, but he spent substantial portions of his childhood in Boise, Grand Rapids, and Bellevue in the Seattle area. At Bellevue High School, he discovered debate, excelled at it, and determined to seek a career in law.

At Stanford, he earned his B.A. and Economics, was elected Editor of the Law Review, and graduated top of his class at Stanford Law School. Deeply committed to a life of service, he served the majority of his legal career as a staff attorney for the State Supreme Court. Under the well-known liberal Justices Tobriner and Broussard, he helped to draft several opinions that have become classics. When he was not working on the court he practiced appellate law, volunteered for Amnesty International and the Innocence Project, and taught Constitutional Law at DeAnza College.

At Stanford, Mike met his wife, Eleanor Walker, whom he married in 1959. She too earned three Stanford Degrees in Psychology and worked as a college professor. Together they taught a Psychology and Law class at Santa Clara University for 27 years. They were married for 64 years.

Mike enjoyed history, hiking, learning about wildflowers, chess, and going everywhere with his beloved wife, "Leelee", and Emily the Wonder Dog. He sang in the Menlo Park Chorus and participated in the Avenidas Current Events group, and the Palo Alto Pickleball club.

Mike is survived by his wife, Eleanor, daughter, Karen Willemsen, son-in-law, Matthew Walker, and grandson, Zeke Walker. He was preceded in death by his sister, Carol Willemsen.

We love him and remember him.

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