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Paul J. Komives

July 12, 1932 December 10, 2018
Paul J. Komives
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Obituary for Paul J. Komives

The Honorable Paul Joseph Komives born July 12, 1932, died December 10th, 2018, at the age of 86 peacefully in his sleep. He was the son of Hungarian immigrants and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Detroit with a BA in 1954. After concluding that a graduate program in English literature at the University of Cincinnati wasn’t an interest he wanted to pursue, he turned his attention to law, graduating from the University of Michigan with his law degree in 1958.

Upon graduation he joined the Honors Program in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington D.C. In 1961 he was appointed to the staff of Robert F. Kennedy in the newly created Organized Crime and Labor Racketeering section. After serving three years in Washington D.C., he returned to Detroit in 1964 to join the US Attorney’s office at the request of the Kennedy Administration to ensure “their people” were in the field. It was at this time he met and married the love of his life, Martha Szabo. Together they raised four children (Susan, Andrea, Kristine and Michael). He was enormously proud of each of them encouraging all to follow their passions as he had with the law. In 1965, he became Chief of the Criminal Division in Detroit and in 1966 he served as Special Prosecutor for Wayne Circuit Judge George Bowles. From 1967-1971 he was in private practice. In 1971 he was appointed as the first and consequently longest serving magistrate judge (over 44 years) in the history of the country, according to the Federal Bar Association. Over his 44 year career, he served as President of the National Council of United States Magistrate Judges and was appointed by Justice Warren Berger as the first United States Magistrate on a Judicial Council where he served for 7 years. Over the same period, he was invited to teach at Wayne State University and later became an adjunct Professor of Criminal Law at the Detroit College of Law. He was regarded by the legal community as a gentleman and a jurist.

He was very active in the International Community in Detroit and served as President of the International Institute of Detroit and the Board of the Friends of the International Institute. He was inducted into the International Institute Hall of Fame in 2005.

Paul is survived by his beloved wife, Martha Komives (nee Szabo) and children, Susan (John) Vawter, Andrea (Todd) Hofmeister, Kristine (Liz Downs) Komives, and Michael (Reem) Komives. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kylie Bumgardner, John Edward Vawter, Hannah Alexander, Patrick Vawter, Mia Vawter, Olivia Westfall, Sophia Hofmeister, Benjamin Hofmeister, Ramona Komives, Josephine Komives, and Sebastian Komives, his siblings, Judy Martinek and S. Michael (Gail) Komives, sister-in-law, Melinda (Imre) Nagy, and several nieces, nephews, and friends.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Regis Catholic Church, 3695 Lincoln, Bloomfield Hills, Monday, December 17, 2018 at 11am. Friends may visit at church beginning at 10:30am.

Memorials appreciated to International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, 111 E. Kirby Street, Detroit, Michigan 48202,


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