Borrello, Honorable Leopold Phillip, Saginaw, Michigan


Passed away peacefully on January 18, 2015, age 82. Judge Borrello, born Saginaw, Michigan November 15, 1932, was a first generation Italian-American and the only child of Valentina (nee Lauger) and Antonio (Tony) Borrello. Tony Borrello, along with several of his brothers, owned and operated small corner grocery stores in downtown Saginaw in the 1930s-1960s where Leo worked as a child. On June 15, 1957, Leo married Audre Mae (nee Wilson) Borrello whom he met in college. He devoted the last years of his life to her care. Judge Borrello graduated from Saginaw High School in 1951, then received his B.A. degree from Albion College, and his J.D. from The University of Michigan in 1958. After graduation from law school, Leo and Audre moved to Saginaw where he began practicing with the law firm of Nash & Nash, later Cook, Nash, Diebel and Borrello. Judge Borrello would later begin his own law firm which continues to the present day. Though a small firm in size, the law firm would become the place where three judges and a County Prosecutor began their legal careers. As an attorney, Leo was known as a skilled advocate, quickly becoming a champion of labor in this region and around the state. In his almost three decades of legal practice, he represented municipalities, counties, labor unions, business and industry, elected officials and served for a time as president of Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals. He also served on the board of the Michigan State University School of Human Medicine. Always drawn to public service, when his dear friend, the late Judge Gary McDonald left the 10th Circuit for the Michigan Court of Appeals, Governor James Blanchard appointed Judge Borrello to the 10th Circuit Court in April of 1987. In 1992, the Michigan Supreme Court named him Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court, a position he held until his retirement from the bench in April of 2006. Though retired, the Supreme Court appointed him as a visiting judge to various jurisdictions throughout the State and to serve as a special master, hearing and deciding judicial ethics cases. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Leo was a proud member of the Democratic Party, beginning with his efforts to bring then Senator John F. Kennedy to campaign in Saginaw for the 1960 presidential election. Leo was a compassionate animal lover. Along with multiple breeds of cats, he and Audre raised, bred and showed Irish Wolfhounds for many years. During the 1970’s they had the top Irish Wolfhound kennel in the United States: Barrister’s Irish Wolfhounds. Leo was a licensed AKC judge and traveled the country as a dog show judge in the 1980s and 1990s. For many years he was President of the Saginaw Valley Kennel Club. Leo was a devoted and loving husband and father, leaving behind his wife, Audre; his three sons and their families: Honorable Stephen L. Borrello (Nancy Bondar), Murray C. Borrello (Dianne), and Andre R. Borrello (Jamie). He is also survived by five grandchildren: Ariana, Aleksandr, Brianna, Elsa and Wilson Borrello. Leo is survived by two brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law and several cousins. According to Judge Borrello’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Road. The Honorable Fred L. Borchard, Chief Judge 10th Judicial Circuit Court and Rev. Fr. Daniel Cannon will co-officiate. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the funeral home on Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 2:00-8:00 p.m. and on Friday from 12:00 p.m. until the time of the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial donation to the Michigan Humane Society, Administrative Office, 30300 Telegraph Rd., Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025 or www.MichiganHumane.org. Share your thoughts and memories with the family through www.deislerfuneralhome.com.