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Retired Polk County judge drowns in Panama

Retired Polk County Judge John M. Roue has drowned while on vacation in Panama, court administrator Kathy Narlock said today.

Roue, of Crookston, died either Saturday or Sunday, she said.

"The only thing we know so far is that Judge Roue and his wife were vacationing in Panama and that he drowned swimming," Narlock said, adding that they had been staying at a friend's villa.

Gov. Al Quie appointed Roue to serve as a judge in 1980. Roue was elected in 1982, 1988, 1994 and 2000, then retired in 2006.

Roue was later assigned to serve statewide as senior judge from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, according to the Web site of the Minnesota Judicial Branch. As a senior judge, he filled in for other judges around the district, Narlock said.

"He'd been doing retired judge work for the district - actually a lot of it, so he will be missed," she said. "It's a great loss for our community."

An e-mail message sent to the U.S. Embassy in Panama seeking more details was not immediately returned.