Grand Rapids judge honored as he steps down from the bench

Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-03 21:40:24-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Music, tears and a lot of humor filled the courtroom of a Grand Rapids judge as he stepped down from his bench one last time.

Judge Benjamin Logan has been serving in the 61st District Court since 1988.

On Wednesday, more than 100 friends, family members and colleagues gathered inside the courtroom for his final proceeding, which was his retirement farewell.

While Logan's term was set to expire in 2018, he announced Tuesday that his doctor hasn't cleared him to return to work. In October 2012, Logan had a heart attack while on the bench.

During his celebration Wednesday, people thanked God for healing Logan.

"We thank you, God, for how you preserved him and kept him--and, have now returned him back to us," one person said. "We profoundly say, 'thank you.'"

Logan's wife, Dr. Denise Logan, who sang at the ceremony, shared a message of thankfulness to those who saved his life.

"Had it not been for the men that were in attendance that day, we would not all be here today," she said.

Logan, while facing the courtroom, spoke about those who were not only there for him Wednesday, but those who have always been there. He expressed gratitude for the other 61st District Court judges who picked up his caseload while he was out. He also spoke to his employees while his wife handed them gifts.

"When I had a heart attack, they filled in, helped out and kept the wheels of justice turning," Judge Logan said. "That's going to be the biggest thing that I'm going to miss from being here in the courthouse--that is having individuals that look out for you--that care about you."

For Logan, when it comes to his staff and colleagues, it's not just about business.

"We've cried together when we've lost family members, we've had Christmas parties together--those were fun," he said.

Logan also joked about playing sports as he shared memories of playing basketball with a friend who was inside the courtroom.

"Today, I don't even know if I can lift a basketball, let alone play basketball," Logan said. "Those were good times. Those relationships will carryout throughout the rest of my life."

Before resting his gavel, Logan let us in on his plans for retirement.

"I'm going to keep busy," he said. "[I] don't know what I'll be doing but I'm sure my wife has in store something for me to do. So, I will be following her lead and I want to thank all of you for coming."

Before stepping down, the bailiff did a final duty for Judge Logan.

"Court is now adjourned," she said.