Statement of Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson on the death of Justice William A. Bablitch:
Madison, Wisconsin - February 17, 2011
This morning I received word that Justice Bill Bablitch passed away last night in Hawaii after a long illness. He was 69 years old – just two weeks shy of his 70th birthday. He leaves behind his wife, Ann Milne, a daughter, Bulleh, and grandchildren.
Justice Bablitch was a lifelong public servant. He began his law career in 1969, when he elected to the post of Portage County district attorney in his beloved hometown of Stevens Point. In 1972, he ran for the Wisconsin Senate and was elected to represent a district that encompassed much of central Wisconsin. In the Senate, he served as both president pro tempore and majority leader, and was particularly proud of his role in the reorganization of the courts in 1978. He also took great pride in his work to revise Wisconsin’s sexual assault laws.
Justice Bablitch was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1983. He brought to the court a wealth of knowledge and experience as a former prosecutor, legislator and Peace Corps volunteer. His diverse interests – fishing, cooking, gardening – found their way into many of the opinions he authored.
When Justice Bablitch retired from the court in 2003, he hoped to dedicate a great deal more time to three priorities: his family, fly fishing and golf. Although his retirement was tragically brief, I am happy to say that he was able to follow these passions in his beautiful adopted home state of Hawaii.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ann, Bulleh and the family at this difficult time.