Judge A. L. Twesme
A Memorial Presented by the Members of the
Tri-County Bar Association Judge
January 12, 1996
During his vigorous and long judicial career, Judge A. L. (Bud) Twesme was probably Wisconsin's most widely known general jurisdiction trial court judge. His reputation and ability were known throughout the state. Never afraid to accept a challenge, he was assigned to and tried many difficult criminal, civil and juvenile cases. His trade-mark response, "Have Gavel, Will Travel", was known throughout the State of Wisconsin.
In an era of increasing specialization in the court system, "Bud" Twesme was the epitome of the old time general jurisdiction trial judge. In effect a "Jack of all trades" but unlike the folkism, truly a master of all, he earned and merited the respect of the bar and clients whose rights were a issue in his courtroom.
To his courtroom, he brought scholarly knowledge and expertise, compassion and understanding, and probably most important, a sense of humor and understanding of barristers and their clients which enabled him to keep cases moving smoothly and properly focused on their merits.
Judge Twesme was born, lived and died in Galesville, a small town in Trempealeau County, in rural west central Wisconsin. Although his judicial career took him to many of Wisconsin's most populous areas and although he was at ease in the most urban of environments, the small town values and ways of Galesville and Trempealeau County were always closest to his heart and the reason for his exceptional ability in working with others.
Born on May 4th, 1914, to Albert Y. and Lue (Burns) Twesme, he was born into a legal tradition. His father was a Galesville attorney and was serving as Judge of Trempealeau County when he passed away in 1949. Upon the death of his father, "Bud" Twesme, at the age of 35, succeeded him as Judge and served as County and Circuit Judge of Trempealeau County until his retirement in 1983, having served as a full time trial court Judge for 34 years. Even his retirement was in name only as he continued to serve as an active reserved Judge and as mediation and arbitrator, accepting assignments throughout Wisconsin in difficult and challenging cases which called upon his wealth of judicial experience and unique grasp of human nature.
His contributions to his profession were too numerous to list. Suffice to say that he served as Chief Judge of the 10th and 7th Judicial Districts, President of the Wisconsin Trial Judges Association, the Board of Criminal Court Judges, Board of County Court Judges and Board of Juvenile Court Judges. An original member of the Uniform Jury Instructions Committee, he served as contributing author for 14 years. Outside of Wisconsin he served as Wisconsin's delegate to the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges. A graduate of the National College of State Trial Judges located at the University of Nevada, he returned at their request and served as faculty advisor and instructor extending his influences on molding of new Judges from all areas of the country.
Bud Twesme graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1940 and practiced law initially with his father in Galesville. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served as legal officer on the battleship U.S.S. Colorado and as a participant in the Colorado's numerous naval battles in the Pacific Theater including Saipan, Guam, Luzon and Okinawa and culminating with the Japanese surrender at Tokyo in 1945 and at which he was personally present.
Never a person of narrow focus, he brought his talents and people skills to many other fields and organizations such as in the Boy Scouts, American Legion, VFW, Masonic Lodge, and Lions Club. He served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Galesville and Gale Packing Co. An excellent musician, he played with the local Galesville "Kleinsmen Band," the shrine Oriental Band and frequently sat in with musical groups at social and civic events. To all of these organizations, he contributed his enthusiasm and infectious ability to "get a job done."
Judge Twesme died on June 21, 1995. He is survived by his widow, Dorothy (Anderson) Twesme to whom he was married for over 47 years and their four children, Albert (Ted), Thomas, Timothy and Kathryn. He was very proud of his family. He leaves them a rich legacy of accomplishments and his unique zest for life.
To the BAR, and particularly to the members of his beloved Tri-County BAR Association, he leaves us an enduring legacy of how to practice law. His influence upon our members and the manner in which they practice law was profound. He molded the legal character, style, and ability of at least two generations of lawyers in his career as a County, Circuit, and Reserve Judge. He taught us that the practice of law is not just scholarly and technical, but that it must also understand and serve the needs of everyday people. Most important, he taught us that the combination is enjoyable and rewarding and that the principals of justice and camaraderie are rooted in the principles of small town America.
With his family, we will truly miss him. He leaves us all with a rich legacy.