ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR
JANUARY 12, 1958 – JUNE 15, 2023
June 15, 2023: It’s with great sadness that the team at Ven Johnson Law announces the passing of one of our very own fighters, Mike Kowalko. Mike was an invaluable member of the Ven Johnson Law team and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s family during this difficult time.
Michael Kowalko grew up a Grand Rapids man. He spent many years of his life as an attorney with a history of leadership and justice-served in cities all over Michigan. He was a real courtroom lawyer and a fighter, an asset wherever personal injury and civil rights cases are heard.
Michael attended Grand Rapids Union High School, making All-City in baseball and football, graduating in 1976. From there he went to Northern Michigan University on a football scholarship. As an NMU Wildcat, he was an offensive lineman protecting All-American quarterback, Steve Mariucci, the ex-NFL San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions head coach. He graduated in 1981 from NMU and then attended Detroit College of Law where he graduated in 1984.
He served as a Past President of the Genesee County Bar Association (2016-2017) and Past President of the Flint Trial Lawyers Association (2011-2012). He was also recognized in 2020 as a Michigan Super Lawyer, a designation of top-rated practicing attorneys selected through an extensive evaluation process.
He served as lead counsel in approximately 25 jury trials in Federal District Court, State Circuit Court and State District Court, as well as dozens of Workers Compensation, Social Security Disability and MESC Administrative hearings. As lead, co-counsel, or “second chair” Michael helped secure verdicts totaling in the millions over the past 30 years.
When he was not practicing law, he was a family man. He married the love of his life, Karen, on August 28, 1999. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife, and his two beautiful daughters, Camille and Allison; his brother, John (Denise) Kowalko; sister, Mary (Brian) Wierzbicki and stepmother-in-law, Brenda Wagner. Mike is further survived by many dear nieces, nephews and other family members and friends too numerous to list but never forgotten.
Mike was a Beatles fanatic; they were his most favorite band. He also enjoyed watching a good series on television, some of his tried-and-true shows where old westerns such as Gunsmoke and Little House on the Prairie (with the girls). He was a “foodie” who enjoyed cooking and was known to have odd varieties of pickled foods in the house. He loved being in nature and often went mushroom hunting. He loved to go fishing any chance he could. Mike’s fondest memories were those spent up north on Houghton Lake with family, watching Allison’s dance recitals and Camille play the violin.
Mike’s family would like to thank all of the family members and friends that have called, made dinners and simply checked-in on them. Your acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed, and they appreciate each and every one of you.
Mike was a true fighter and his legacy will live on at Ven Johnson Law and in the hearts of his loved ones and friends for many years to come.