In Memoriam: Those We Lost in 2022

A. Donald McEachin

October 10, 1961 –
November 28th, 2022

U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin ’86, a University of Virginia School of Law alumnus who was reelected to his fourth term in Congress this month, died Monday of colorectal cancer. He was 61.

McEachin, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 4th District, devoted more than 20 years to serving the people of Virginia.

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Adam Shakoor

August 6, 1947
March 20, 2022

Adam Shakoor, who made history as the first Muslim to be appointed as a judge in the United States, has died.

Aged 74, Shakoor died Sunday at a hospital outside of his Detroit hometown, according to Deadline Detroit. No official cause of death was reported.
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Anjan Choudhury

June 19, 1979
April 3, 2022

With immense sadness, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP announces the death of Anjan Choudhury, our cherished friend, partner, mentor and colleague. Mr. Choudhury passed away on April 3, 2022 from a heart attack.

A partner in MTO’s Los Angeles office, Mr. Choudhury led many of our relationships with entertainment clients. Major television and film studios, streaming platforms, talent agencies and a wide variety of other companies routinely turned to Mr. Choudhury for his insights and counsel regarding the most challenging legal and business issues facing the entertainment industry today. Read the full obituary

Browne C. Lewis

June 2, 2022

NCCU School of Law family and friends join the family of Dean Browne C. Lewis in mourning a great loss. At the same time, we are thankful and grateful for being a part of Dean Lewis’ journey and life’s purpose. Her professional accomplishments are only exceeded by her compassion and thirst for justice, fairness and racial equity. Her zeal for excellence inspired students, faculty, staff and so many others across the country.

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Carrasco Lawrence Huerta

August 16, 1924
May 25, 2022

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law mourns the loss of The Honorable Carrasco Lawrence Huerta (‘53) who passed away on May 25, 2022. He was 97.

Judge Huerta, a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, was the first Native American to graduate from University of Arizona Law and the first to be licensed to practice law in Arizona. Throughout his illustrious career, he worked tirelessly to increase access to education for Indigenous communities and promote tribal sovereignty. During his time as chancellor of Navajo Community College (now Diné College), Huerta helped to expand its reach and impact within the Navajo community, establishing the institution as a pillar of the nation-building activities of the Navajo Nation.

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Cheslie Kryst

April 28, 1991
January 29, 2022

Hundreds of people gathered at a church south of Charlotte, N.C., on Friday to celebrate the life of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst.

The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner previously confirmed to PEOPLE that Kryst died by suicide on Jan. 30 at age 30.

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Colin A Moore

April 24, 1941
January 9, 2022

Prominent Caribbean attorney, civil rights advocate, and political and community activist, Colin A Moore, has died. He was 80 years old.

President of the Brooklyn, New York-based Guyana Tri-State Alliance, Inc, Patricia Jordon-Langford said that Moore, who is also best known for the role he played as a lawyer in defending the ‘Central Park Joggers’ trial, “passed away quietly” on Sunday.

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Cora Faith Walker

March 11, 2022

Former Missouri State Representative Cora Faith Walker died from a heart condition, the St. Louis Medical Examiner confirmed Wednesday.

Walker, 37, died after walking out of her room at the Loews Hotel on March 11. The night before she was seen in social media pictures celebrating St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones’ birthday at Neo on Locust. After discovering Walker in the hallway, a Good Samaritan called 911 at 8:55 a.m. and attempted to resuscitate the fallen St. Louis County leader.

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Emma H. Pendergrass

June 1, 1928
July 17, 2022

Resident of Oakland, CA
Emma H. Pendergrass, a devoted mother and sister, an outstanding attorney, inspirational educator, a consummate travel agent, leader, and friend to many, passed on July 17, 2022 in Oakland, CA. Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina on June 1, 1928, Emma spent her formative years in South Carolina. She later lived in Washington, D.C., where she graduated from high school and college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Howard Univ. She also earned both a Master’s and Ph.D. in Education.

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Frances Muñoz

September 17, 1930
October 17, 2022

Before becoming the first Latina trial judge in California history, Frances Muñoz appeared in an Orange County courtroom as a public defender, representing a young Latino during his arraignment in a criminal case.

Muñoz tried to persuade Judge Ken Williams, who had a reputation as a feisty and irreverent jurist, that her client should be released on his own recognizance.

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Frederick P. ‘Pope’ Charleston Sr.

Died Dec. 31, 2022

Fred grew up in a loving household, the fourth of six children,” said his wife, the former Jeanne Bogle. “As a child and teenager in Indianapolis, he was involved in sports, playing football, basketball and baseball. At Shortridge High School, Fred lettered in two sports — baseball and basketball — and was a member of the school’s marching band and school newspaper.”

He attended what was then Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo on a basketball and baseball scholarship. After two years, he transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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Janeen LaSonda Richard

July 26, 1970
Oct. 20, 2022

Janeen LaSonda Richard, 52, of Miami, passed on Oct. 20, 2022. Richard was born on July 26, 1970 to Eddie Lee and Joan White Rivers in Newark, NJ, the youngest child of four siblings, Brenda Joyce, Edward Wayne and Karin Michelle Rivers-Aaron.

In 1975, the family moved to Hillside, NJ, where Janeen attended Walter O. Krumbiegel Elementary School, and Hillside High School. After high school, Janeen went on to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.

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Jasper Cureton

April 26, 1938
December 6, 2022

Longtime South Carolina Judge Jasper Cureton, who became the first Black appellate judge in the state in over a century, has died.

Cureton passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84.

In 1983, Cureton was appointed as an Associate Judge on the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He was the first African-American to be selected to that body since Reconstruction in the 1870s. He retired from the bench in 2003.

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Jenny Do

February 20, 1966
August 4, 2022

When Jenny Do arrived in San Jose as one of the first beneficiaries of a pilot project for the Amerasian Homecoming Act, which allowed immigration of children fathered by American men during the Vietnam War, she was 18 with a mother and a younger brother to support.

She knew little English, but she learned fast and got a county job helping low-income people like her. It was the start of a rapid advance through college and law school, then into private practice and public service.

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Jim Li

September 7, 1955
March 14, 2022

A participant in the 1989 Tiananmen Square student-led protest who later became an immigration lawyer in Queens, New York, was allegedly stabbed to death on Monday by a client.

Jim Li, 66, moved to the United States in the early ’90s after being incarcerated for a year and eight months in Qincheng Prison, a maximum-security prison in Beijing, China. He became an immigration lawyer, often serving members of the community with pro bono services, Li’s friend Wayne Zhu told CNN.

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Joaquin Avila

June 23, 1948
March 9, 2022

Joaquin Avila, a civil rights lawyer and activist who helped combat voting rights discrimination against Latinos and other minorities, including a successful effort to ensure greater political representation through census counts, died March 9 at his home in Shoreline, Wash. He was 69.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where Mr. Avila was president and general counsel from 1982 to 1985, announced his death and said the cause was cancer. After leaving the group, known as MALDEF, he spent years challenging laws to secure voting rights for minorities.

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Johnnie A. Jones Sr.

November 30, 1919
April 23, 2022

Johnnie A. Jones Sr. was 24 years old and a future civil rights lawyer not yet graduated from college when he landed on the beaches of Normandy in the D-Day invasion of 1944.

He nearly died before his ship reached the shore, when the explosion of a mine sent him flying “sky high into the air,” he recalled, and onto an upper deck. He again almost died when he came under German sniper fire on Omaha Beach.

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Keshawna Alderman

June 17, 1995
December 14, 2022

A native of Harlem, New York, Keshawna was pursing her juris doctorate degree and Law and Technology Certificate, with interests in entertainment law, trademarks and intellectual property. She was especially passionate about advocating and creating spaces in the legal field for people of color. An active participant on campus and in her local community, Keshawna was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Black Law Student Association and the Intellectual Property Law Society.

As we cope with this difficult loss, please know that the university has resources for you to utilize as needed. Students who would like to speak with a counselor may call the NCCU Counseling Center’s 24-hour line at 919-530-7646. Faculty and staff may utilize the ComPsych guidance resources on the university’s HR page.

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Kimberly Rachelle Willis Gagnier

May 3, 1971
April 21, 2022

Kimberly Rachelle Willis Gagnier was a beloved wife, daughter, sister, and friend to many. Her personality and smile were infectious. She was brilliant, tenacious, and humble, offering kindness to everyone she encountered.

She was an outstanding community leader, dedicated to community service and philanthropic causes. A committed champion for positive change in the African American community, Kimberly began her life of service at an early age

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Kristi Matthews

June 21, 1979
September 22, 2022

Former NBA General Counsel, Kristi Matthews dies unexpectedly.

The National Bar Association mourns the “unexpected” death of Past NBA General Counsel, Kristi Matthews.

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Lani Guinier

April 19, 1950
January 7, 2022

Lani Guinier, a civil rights lawyer and scholar whose nomination by President Bill Clinton to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division was pulled after conservatives criticized her views on correcting racial discrimination, has died. She was 71.

Guinier died Friday, Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning said in a message to students and faculty. Her cousin, Sherrie Russell-Brown, said in an email that the cause was complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Marie Leonora Garcia

October 12, 1925
March 30, 2022

Marie Leonora Garcia Garrett 96, died March 30, 2022, after a brief illness. Born October 12, 1925 in Tampa, she graduated from Hillsborough High School and Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University) before earning her law degree from the University of Florida. After a brief stint with the city attorney’s office in Tampa, she and her husband, Howard L. Garrett, founded their own law firm, Garrett & Garrett, in 1953, where they practiced law together until her retirement.

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Mary Claire Lomax

December 28, 1962
May 31, 2022

Mary Claire Lomax, 59, of Philadelphia, longtime general counsel and director of human resources at the Chalfont-based Lomax Companies, chief executive officer of the Lomax Family Foundation, trustee and energetic alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, and a 2016 Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, May 31, of cancer at her mother’s home in Hilltown, Bucks County. Active in many civic, cultural, and educational organizations, Ms. Lomax was an outspoken advocate for diversity in leadership and directed numerous charitable and philanthropic endeavors. A 1984 Penn graduate, she was on the board of advisers for its School of Social Policy and Practice, served as a trustee and on many committees and boards, and was a cochair of the prestigious James Brister Society for diversity.

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Norman Early

November 14, 1945
May 5, 2022

Norman Early, Denver’s first Black district attorney and a pioneer of crime victims’ rights in Colorado, died Thursday from complications of diabetes.

Early, 76, spent a decade as Denver’s top prosecutor, helped to reshape how Colorado treats victims of crime, and strove to increase diversity in the criminal justice system. He was outgoing, a hugger and a charismatic leader, those who knew him said.

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Peter M. Pryor

May 18, 1926
January 17, 2022

Peter M. Pryor, a sharecropper’s grandson from Georgia who became a trailblazing Black civil rights attorney revered as a towering figure in Albany’s long struggle for racial justice, died Monday after a long illness. He was 95.

“It was fitting that he went out peacefully, on his own terms, on MLK Day,” his son, Marcus, said.

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Rhonda S. Ferguson

April 17th, 2022

Rhonda S. Ferguson, loved by a host of family & friends. On Easter Sunday April 17th, 2022 she transitioned with her husband, children, parents, siblings and nephews by her side. For the past several years Rhonda courageously battled cancer, winning multiple times and living her life to its absolute fullest throughout. She kept her condition largely private and chose to lean on her faith and family to live precisely the way she wanted. Her life was unbound with limitless opportunities to love, to mentor and be mentored, to experience and learn new things.

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December 1, 1967
December 18, 2023

ATTORNEY RICHARD MAYS, JR. was born in Little Rock, Ark., on Dec. 1, 1967, to Richard L. Mays, Sr. and Jennifer L. Mays. Affectionately known as “Ricky”.
Professionally, Ricky worked as an attorney and public official, although his career started in real estate. Ricky began his law career working with his father, his sister, Tiffany, and long-time family friend, Arkie Byrd. Ricky focused on business, real estate, personal injury, and criminal defense.

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Rosa Mroz

February 5, 2022

Judge Rosa Mroz died on February 5, 2022. Born Peng Shao Ching in Taiwan, Rosa immigrated with her family to the United States when she was 7 years old and went on to be an esteemed Superior Court judge. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, sister, and daughter.

Rosa’s father was a Taiwanese diplomat, and after her family arrived in the United States, they found themselves in Chicago, Illinois, Queens, New York and later Miami, Florida. She became a naturalized American citizen when she turned eighteen, and later confided that the words of the judge who presided over that ceremony sparked her interest in law and the judiciary.

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Saron “Sweet” Fessehaye Berhe

Jananuary 17, 2022

The Howard University School of Law community is deeply saddened by the loss of one of its own – 3L student Saron “Sweet” Fessehaye Berhe, who died Monday, Jan. 17.

Originally born in Asmara, Eritrea, Saron settled as a young girl with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. She came to Howard law after graduating from Arizona State University with degrees in business and political science and then working for several years. Saron was in her last semester at Howard law and was extremely active in the community as president of the African Law Students Association, a student-attorney in the Fair Housing Clinic and with the World Bank Group Externship.

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Sri Hemanth Digumarthi

October 3, 1981
June 11, 2022

Sri Hemanth Digumarthi passed away at Piedmont Hospital on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the young age of 40.

Hemanth was born in Visakhapatnam, India on October 3, 1981. He graduated from Edmond Santa Fe High in 1997, and went on to earn a degree in psychology from Oglethorpe University in 2002.

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Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy

August 1, 1980
April 11, 2022

When Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy joined the defense team that would tackle the high-profile case of a white man accused of shooting a Black man in an argument over a parking space, she was taken aback by the personal attacks that came her way.

Some called it shameful that Jean-Pierre Coy, a Black criminal defense attorney, could be part of such a case. For her, though, it wasn’t so much a matter of race, but of ensuring that the U.S. Constitution was upheld and justice prevailed.

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Tiffany P. Porter

July 4, 1979
May 5, 2022

Gwinnett Tax Commissioner Tiffany P. Porter, Esquire, passed away peacefully today surrounded by family, friends and loved ones.

Ms. Porter, 43, is the devoted mother of four children, Tori, 15, Zoe, 17, Nia, 20, and Brandon, 23. She was known for achieving many firsts in her life. She was also known for surviving multiple hard-fought battles against breast cancer, to which in the end she ultimately succumbed.

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Toni A. Bean

March 19, 2022

Suffolk County Judge Toni A. Bean, a lifelong resident of Amityville who worked hard to champion causes she believed in, died March 19, 2022. She was 62 years old and died from complications from surgery.

Judge Bean was a woman who was intricately involved in her community, serving as a Trustee on the Amityville Village School Board and speaking up frequently on issues that were important to her and the residents of Amityville and North Amityville.

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