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Patricia Boyle, 76, former Michigan Supreme Court justice

An undated phoshows  Michigan Supreme Court judge PatriciBoyle.  Boyle former federal judge Michigan Supreme Court justice  died

An undated photo shows Michigan Supreme Court judge Patricia Boyle. Boyle, a former federal judge and Michigan Supreme Court justice, died Monday Jan. 13, 2014. She was 76. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press ) DETROIT NEWS OUT; NO SALES

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Updated: February 21, 2014 6:03AM

HOWELL, Mich. — Patricia Boyle, a former federal judge and Michigan Supreme Court justice, has died. She was 76.

She died Monday due to respiratory failure while visiting a relative in Florida, said her son, Jason Pernick. Ms. Boyle had been living in Howell.

After just five years, Ms. Boyle left a lifetime appointment as a federal judge to become a state Supreme Court justice, a post she held for 15 years until retiring at the end of 1998.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. said Ms. Boyle brought a “sharp legal mind and profound integrity” to the Supreme Court. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said she was a “pioneer” for women lawyers.

Pernick, an Oakland County assistant prosecutor, told the Detroit Free Press that Ms. Boyle joined the Supreme Court because she felt she could be of greater public service there.

“She said she did it because she knew she could do more for the people of the state of Michigan on the Supreme Court than she could as a federal district judge.”

Pernick said his mother’s roughly 5-foot stature was deceiving.

“Anyone who made a mistake that this little package couldn’t be a fighter had their hands full. She could be, when she wanted to be, absolutely as tough as nails,” he said.

After graduating atop her class at the Wayne State University Law School in the early 1960s, Ms. Boyle faced repeated sex discrimination and struggled to find a job, her son said.

“She told me stories of walking through downtown office buildings and interviewing with law firm after law firm. Even though she was brilliant, she could not get a job as a woman,” Pernick said. “For her to come as far as she did is a wonderful thing.”


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