Frank J. Picard

Frank Picard was born October 19, 1889, in Saginaw, the son of Alfred and Zepherine Picard. At an early age, he hoped to become an acrobat, joining his brothers who performed as the “Flying Picards” to circus audiences – including the famed Barnum & Bailey traveling circus. His mother, who operated a boarding house at the family home, disapproved and put an end to her son’s circus hopes and urged him to attend high school. Picard went to Saginaw High School where he was a member of the student council and captain of the football team. In a Saginaw News poll, he was voted to Saginaw High’s all-time football team. Picard quarterbacked the football team which claimed the 1907 state championship. Saginaw High finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 regular season, outscoring its opponents 199-5 – including a 71-0 win over Bay City Eastern. By virtue of winning the Saginaw Valley League, the east siders won the right to represent the Saginaw Valley in the state championship series. Saginaw High opened the series by capturing a 28-8 victory over Benton Harbor. One week later they topped Alpena, 69-5. On November 16, Saginaw High nipped Ann Arbor 7-6 at the University of Michigan’s Ferry Field for the state championship of the lower peninsula. However, by action of the Board of Control, which manages the Interscholastic League, in order to claim the state championship, Saginaw High would now have to face Muskegon. Ann Arbor has previously beaten Muskegon 6-0, but officials ruled there was an error in bookkeeping. On November 23, in front of the biggest crowd that ever witnessed a football game in Saginaw, over 2,000 spectators jammed Recreation Park to see Saginaw High and Muskegon fight to a scoreless tie and giving the state title to SHS. After graduating from high school, Picard worked as a journalist on the Saginaw Daily News and Courier Herald, and was managing editor of the Saginaw Exponent. He would go on to play at the University of Michigan from 1910-11, quarterbacking the 1911 team that went 5-1-2. He received his law degree from Michigan in 1912 and was admitted to the bar the same year. He was an assistant prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County in 1913, before moving into private practice. Four years later he entered the United States Army where he held the rank of captain and saw action in France during World War I. Picard returned to Saginaw and served as city attorney from 1924-28. From 1931-34 he served as the first chairman of the Liquor Control Commission. Picard wrote many of the laws governing liquor and licensing that still remain on the law books for Michigan to this day. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1934. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Picard to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and was then confirmed by the United States Senate. He was a member of the Saginaw Club, served as president of the Saginaw County Bar Association, president and governor of Michigan Kiwanis clubs, and an active member of the Knights of Columbus. Picard remained on the bench until his death on February 28, 1963, at the age of 73.