Christian Doerfler (1862-1934)
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1921-1929)
"There is no human attribute over and above goodness. Mr. Doerfler was a good man...He abhorred hypocrisy. In the sense of goodness, righteousness, and integrity, he was truly a noble man." - Benjamin Poss, Doerfler's memorial service (1936)
Christian Doerfler was born March 2, 1862, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After attending the Milwaukee Normal School, he spent three years teaching.
Doerfler graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1885. He served as commissioner for the Milwaukee Public Schools and assistant district attorney of Milwaukee County from 1889 to 1891.
Doerfler, an active Republican identified with the progressive La Follette movement, was a delegate to several Republican National Conventions. He served as president of the Milwaukee County Bar and the Wisconsin State Bar Association from 1914 to 1915.
Doerfler was frequently asked to speak on public welfare. "He was tolerant - liberal in thought. The oppressed, whatever their race or religion and wheresoever their abode, found hope and promise of renewed living as he championed their cause and labored for their betterment," said Benjamin Poss at Doerfler's memorial service.
In 1921, Doerfler was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Governor John J. Blaine to succeed the late Justice James C. Kerwin. He ran unopposed for election in 1924.
Poor health forced him to resign from the Supreme Court in 1929. He spent his retirement reading, traveling and working in his flower garden at his home in Milwaukee.
Doerfler was married to Julia Anderson. They had one son, Fredric, who died in 1923 while a student at the University of Wisconsin.
Doerfler died June 10, 1934.