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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Judge Karl Kenline
KENLINE, Karl. (Dubuque, IA, Aug. 25 1912--Dubuque, IA, Mar. 11, 1996). Kenline graduated from DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL where he lettered in football, basketball, track and tennis. For many years, he held the school’s shot put record. He lettered in the same sports at LORAS COLLEGE.

Kenline graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law and campaigned for the city council in 1938. (1) He served during WORLD WAR II in the army as a member of the judge advocate general's department in the Pacific. For ten months, Kenline was stationed in the Philippines where he was responsible for preparing cases against Japanese war criminals. (2)

Returning to Dubuque and his legal practice. Kenline practiced law for thirty-one years in the firm of Reynolds, Kenline, Roedell, Breitbach and McCarthy. (3)

Kenline was named a municipal court judge by Governor Harold Hughes in July 1967 when Dubuque established its municipal court. (4) In 1971 he and Judge Frank D. Gilloon, Jr. were subjects of criticism and investigation by the Dubuque County Bar Association for alleged court laxity and leniency in criminal court cases. Both men had just been re-elected to four year terms and had run unopposed. (5) On April 3, 1973, Governor Robert Ray named Kenline judge of the Judicial District. In 1982, when he retired in October, he received a rating of 84.9 from the Iowa Bar Association. (6)

He was an important figure in the development of the city’s tennis programs.



1. Campaign advertisement. Telegraph Herald, March 27, 1938, p. 9

2. "Four Years of Service Ended by Capt. Kenline," Telegraph Herald, March 3, 1946, p. 13

3. "Kenline Named to District Court," Telegraph-Herald, April 2, 1973, p. 2

4. Ibid.

5. "Bar Association Members to Probe Court Controversy," Telegraph Herald, November 4, 1971, p. 6

6. "Iowa Lawyers Rate Judges," Telegraph Herald, September 25, 1980, p. 7