By Will E Sanders
PIQUA — A former county municipal court judge and well-known figure of the Piqua community passed away Friday while traveling abroad in Africa.
Michael Hemm, 66, died from natural causes during a trip to South Africa, specifically while in the Limpopo province, according to Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home, who is handling the arrangements, and family members.
Mr. Hemm served as a judge in Miami County Municipal Court from 1994 through 2003.
In 1994, Hemm was appointed by then Ohio Gov. George Voinovich to fill the seat after the death of the late Judge Alan Braun.
During his time as judge, Mr. Hemm spearheaded several programs, including establishing the county’s drug court program, which has helped hundreds of addicts overcome serious drug issues. At the time of the program’s creation, the drug court program was the second such program in existence at the municipal court level in the state of Ohio.
Other such achievements by Mr. Hemm included the Community Service Work program, the Female Outreach program, pretrial services, and electronically-monitored house arrest.
Prior to serving as judge, Mr. Hemm served as an assistant county prosecutor and also had a successful career as a private litigator.
Mr. Hemm was admitted to the county’s bar association in 1976.
He graduated from Piqua Catholic High School in 1966 and went on to attend Xavier University and the University of Northern Kentucky.
Funeral services are pending with Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home in Piqua.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.