DETRIOT (WWJ/AP) – Patricia Boyle, a former federal judge and Michigan Supreme Court justice, has died at the age of 76. 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.

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Boyle’s son, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Jason Pernick told the Detroit Free Press that his mom earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in the early 1960s. Pernick said she graduated first in her class but was the last one to get hired.

“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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Boyle’s first law job was as a clerk for a federal judge in Detroit. She worked as assistant U.S. attorney from the mid- to late 1960s and then joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. She served as director of Research Training and Appeals for the prosecutor’s office from 1971 until 1976, the same year she was appointed to Detroit’s Recorder’s Court.

Boyle died Monday due to respiratory failure while visiting a relative in Florida.

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