In 1978, three years out of St. Louis University law school, Judge Calvin was elected magistrate judge. The following year, magistrates became associate circuit court judges under the nonpartisan court plan.
In 1988, Judge Calvin became a circuit judge, and in 1999 he was elected by his colleagues as presiding judge, the first African-American in that position. He retired from the bench in 2008, then worked of counsel to Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, focusing on mediation and arbitration.
Former colleagues said Judge Calvin’s time on the bench was marked by fairness and respect.
“I think he was a model trial judge,” Circuit Court Judge Michael David said. “I believe people felt they always had a fair shake and he was as close to universally admired and respected and loved as anybody I’ve ever known.”
Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards called Judge Calvin as “an incredible person,” adding, “He was known on this bench as a diplomat. He will be missed.”
Judge Calvin is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and sons Michael Jr. and Justin.
His funeral will be held Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2831 North Kingshighway in St. Louis. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the service to follow. A scholarship is being set up in Judge Calvin’s name at his law school.