- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - 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. Boyle had been living in Howell.

After just five years, 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 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 (http://on.freep.com/KZNygf ) that Boyle joined the Supreme Court because she felt she could be of greater public service there.

“Some people would say, ‘We don’t understand why she gave up that position,’” said Pernick. “The answer for her was easy. 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, 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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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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