History

Theo T. Jacobs

Theo Jacobs

The law firm of John R. Dresser Law Office, PLLC, and its predecessors was founded on August 1, 1898 by Theo T. Jacobs who grew up in Sturgis, Michigan.

Upon graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Jacobs opened his offices in the Masonic Temple on West Chicago Road.

In 1931 and during the Great Depression, Jacobs was appointed by the Michigan governor to serve Branch and St Joseph counties as circuit judge. He served as a circuit judge until his retirement in 1953.

Raymond H. Dresser, Sr.

Raymond Dresser Sr

My grandfather, Raymond H. Dresser joined Theo Jacobs in 1927 to join him in practice. My grandfather graduated for the University of Michigan Law School and worked in Detroit. He was married to my grandmother Lola. As the story goes, they took a trip down US 12 and heard that Theo Jacobs was looking for another attorney. They visited Sturgis and liked the area. He grew up in Litchfield and she grew up in Homer. He met with Theo and the job was offered to him which he accepted.

In 1931, Ray Sr. as he was known by became a sole practitioner. My father was born in 1931.

My grandfather was known as a skilled attorney who could competently handle business matters and hold his own in the court room. During the 30s and 40s, Sturgis was a growing and thriving business center. Early during his time in Sturgis, he represented a number of local businesses. In its time, Sturgis was home to many furniture manufacturing companies. Raymond represented them.

His advice and counsel were sought by financial and insurance agencies. He started the long tradition in our family of representing financial institutions including Sturgis Savings and Loan, the Citizens State Bank and First National Bank. My relationship with Sturgis Bank & Trust Company goes back many years having served the bank as general counsel and on the board of directors.

Raymond, my father and I all had the honor and pleasure of representing the Kirsch Company from the time the company settled in Sturgis until its sale to Cooper Industries.

My grandfather encouraged charity and giving. As an example, he counseled Mrs. Sturges and Mrs. Young to contribute the money to build the Sturges-Young and Civic Center Auditorium in Sturgis to serve the needs of our community.

Grandfather was active in his profession serving both the county bar association and the State Bar of Michigan in many capacities including on the bar's governing board and then as President of the State Bar of Michigan from 1958 to 1959.

My grandfather died at too early. He passed in 1968.

Raymond H. Dresser, Jr.

Raymond Dresser Jr

My father, Raymond H. Dresser, Jr. started practice in 1956 with Raymond Sr. after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School. He was affectionately known as Raymond H, Counsellor or loophole. Dad knew that giving back was important. He served on the Board of Commissioners for 12 years. In 1985, he was on track to become state bar president when business commitments forced him to step away. He was elected the chairman of the Probate and Trust Section of the Michigan Bar. An honor he cherished was the receipt of the Roberts P. Hudson Award from the state bar. This award is the most important award the bar bestows upon a member each. On receiving this award, he joined the ranks of the best of the best lawyers in Michigan. He elected a fellow to American College of Trust and Estate Councel. This organization has strict requirements for membership and is by invite only.

Dad served the community with his heart and mind. Over his lifetime he served and worked many a public and charitable organization. He was fond of saying that when we join an organization do it with passion and become a leader. This list is too long but he faithfully served the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, Sturgis Improvement Association and the Glen Oak Community College Foundation. Both he and my mother Gretchen were awarded Citizens of the Year.

Always up for a good challenge and lover of sports, these two life time interests led him to serve in important ways for the Doyle Community Center and Franks Park.

Raymond H. carried with excellence in the law by continuing to represent many of the same companies his father did. He served for many years on the board of Sturgis Bank & Trust Company.

He and I were business owners resulting in not only advising clients on legal matters but also formed close and trusted partnerships with them.

Dad passed away on January 25, 2013.

John R Dresser

John Dresser

I started law practice in 1982 and quickly became immersed in serving people and the community. In my early years I had great teachers. Some of them have passed on while others are still practicing law.

My professional track started with and continues to this day to serve individuals and business clients with their business, estate planning and administration, real estate and mediation matters.

I have served the local professional community on the county bar association. I have served the state bar through active memberships on the Probate and Estate Planning, and Business Law councils for the state bar. I am chair of the agriculture law section.

My interest in business continues. I have represented several nonprofit, profit and public corporations with basic matters to complex multinational transactions.

Over the past 37 years, I have served as counsel, advisor, friend and on boards of many of the recognized charitable and community organizations in our great community.