2017-10-12 / Life in Leelanau

County’s longest-serving prosecutor, WW II vet Glenn Aylsworth passes


GLENN AYLSWORTH, the county’s longest serving prosecutor, died Friday at age 92. He is shown here in a 2012 photo with the Nov. 8, 1960 General Election ballot, one of his campaign ads and his probate judge appointment document from Gov. G. Mennen Williams in May 1956. GLENN AYLSWORTH, the county’s longest serving prosecutor, died Friday at age 92. He is shown here in a 2012 photo with the Nov. 8, 1960 General Election ballot, one of his campaign ads and his probate judge appointment document from Gov. G. Mennen Williams in May 1956. The longest-serving prosecutor in Leelanau County history died Friday, Oct. 6 in Traverse City.

Glenn Aylsworth, 92, was born in Empire and served two years, from 1943-45 in the U.S. Army Air Crops, a forerunner to the U.S. Air Force. He studied at the University of Cincinnati and Ferris State (College) University under the G.I. Bill.

His first job was as teacher and coach in the Ellsworth Public School District in 1950. Aylsworth taught one year there before going to the Lincoln Park District as a teacher, counselor and class sponsor in 1951.

At Lincoln Park, Aylsworth worked some nights at the Ford Motor Co. He also continued taking classes at night, getting his law degree at the Detroit College of Law.


STATE SUPREME Court Justice Talbot Smith, left, swears in Glenn Aylsworth as probate judge of Leelanau County in May 1956. STATE SUPREME Court Justice Talbot Smith, left, swears in Glenn Aylsworth as probate judge of Leelanau County in May 1956. Before officially passing the bar exam, Aylsworth was tapped to serve as superintendent of Empire Schools, this was prior to consolidation of the Glen Lake Community Schools.

While still serving as superintendent, in May 1956, Aylsworth was appointed probate judge in Leelanau County by Gov. G. Mennen Williams.

In a March 2012 interview with the Enterprise Aylsworth said he grew bored as probate judge because at that time he handled only estates and juveniles. So he ran for county prosecutor and won in 1957.

The prosecutor’s job was part-time at that time and paid only $3,000 a year.

Things were very different in those days.

Aylsworth launched his legal career with one law book. He didn’t have copy machines, the internet and other resources available to lawyers these days.

He was one of only 17 attorney in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties when he started practicing law in the mid-1950s.

Aylsworth continued his private practice in Traverse City until 2001.

He was a member of the Michigan Bar Association for more than 50 years; the American Bar Association, the Leelanau-Grand Traverse-Antrim Bar Association and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

In addition to his professional affiliations, Aylsworth was a lifetime member of the Empire United Methodist Church and Empire Masonic Lodge F & AM 597.

He was past president of the Traverse City Shriners in 1976 and 1986 and was a three-time Shriner of the Year recipient.

Aylsworth was a life member and past president of the Leelanau Prospectors Club; past president and 60-plus year member of the Empire Lions Club; and member of the Traverse City Elks Lodge for more than 50 years.

Burial is at Maple Grove Cemetery in Empire.

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