Wing reflects on storied judicial career
In his 25 years as Pierce County judge, Robert Wing has learned a few things, but, like most of those who appear before him, he doesn't think he has changed much.
"For some people, being a judge is their identity," said Wing. "But that's not who I am."
At age 63, Wing's ready to step down from the bench and focus on the roles he values more: Husband, father, friend and, soon, grandfather. So while his term won't officially end for three more months, Wing will retire Friday, April 30.
"I'm ready for something else," said Wing firmly. "I'm ready to be something else."
Among the things he has learned are that jail works, that one way to lighten a caseload is to schedule a full court calendar, and that most of the people charged with offenses are not evil.
Wing, who grew up in Milwaukee, did his undergraduate work there, and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969. He served two years, mostly in Korea, before enrolling in law school at UW-Madison.
As he finished law school, a notice in the placement office indicating that Pierce County was holding an election for district attorney caught his attention.
He moved here, won the seat and stayed. After four years as DA, Wing went into private practice with the intention of running for judge when William McEwen retired.
"I thought it would be wise to have a broad background (in the law)," said Wing of his intent. The opportunity to serve as judge came sooner than he expected when McEwen became incapacitated.
Gov. Tony Earl appointed Wing to fill the vacancy. He was sworn in Jan. 2, 1985, finished out McEwen's term and then ran for election. He has been re-elected every six years since.
Read more about Wing and his years on the bench in the April 15 print edition of the River Falls Journal.