It was back in 1985 or 1986 – I can’t remember exactly when – and incumbent state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Boyle was running to retain her position on the court. She had been appointed by my former boss, Governor Jim Blanchard, but her term was up. One night, they were looking for warm bodies to serve as extras in a campaign commercial that they were filming in her office after hours so a friend and I hurried over quickly – this was before the imposing Michigan Hall of Justice was built and the Supreme Court was still in the less-impressive G. Mennen Williams state office building – and we ended up in the commercial.
The funny thing about this memory is that at the time, I had been experimenting with a hair-lightening spray called “Sun In” – I had grown up with dark brown hair and thought it might be fun to be blond – which, when sprayed on my head, turned my hair a vivid orange. So when the commercial aired, I was forced to tell my parents that the carrot-topped young clown in the background was in fact their son. Fortunately, Patty Boyle was victorious in spite of my appearance in her commercial and my hair eventually returned to normal.
It’s too bad because I just learned this morning that Patty Boyle, 76, died of respiratory failure three days ago while visiting her sister in Florida.
|Her Official Portrait|
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named her to the U.S. District Court in Detroit. She served there until 1983, when she gave up that coveted lifetime position to accept Blanchard’s appointment to Michigan’s highest court – just the third woman to serve in this capacity. She retired at the end of 1998.
Patty earned numerous awards, including two National Organization for Women Feminist of the Year awards and induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986. She and her husband, the late Wayne County Circuit Judge Terrance Boyle, had four sons, one of whom is an Assistant Prosecutor in Oakland County.
I’m really sad about this. Although she lived a long and illustrious life and was loved and respected by many, she still had much to offer her friends and family. This state. This world. Me.
Rest in peace, Justice Boyle. Thank you for everything.