Tributes to Justice Joan Dempsey Klein

Tributes to Justice Joan Dempsey Klein

Please use this form to submit a tribute.

Justice Klein, known to me as Momma Joanie, gave me the fortitude to work in fields that were dominated by men. She raised us all to never think about sex or race. Everyone is created equal. Although we saw that the rest of the world didn't think that way. So she taught us, by example, to fight for our rights, to try to make changes that would help others who would follow. 

Even though I didn't choose the legal or political field as my work I did follow in her footsteps.

In high school I became the 1st "Foreperson"
( formerly Foremen) in the printing department. Then doing the same in college.
As a carreer women I earned the first woman executive position in a finance company. 

Joan Dempsey Klein was also a very positive forgiving person . She always saw the good in people and would talk about their good points forgiving any negative behavior.
While she was changing the world she was raising a family she could be proud of.
We are so proud to be hers.

Amy Millard
Daughter of Justice Klein

I would like to pay tribute to Judge Joan Dempsey Klein. I want to say that as a mother, she was an example of true love. She loved her family and included other "children" as well. This trait is to be admired and emulated. 

Corinne Walker

Read the tribute from Equal Rights Advocates - Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, 1924-2020: A Tribute by Drucilla S. Ramey on behalf of Equal Rights Advocates

I was deeply sadden by the passing of Justice Klein, for whom I worked as a research attorney during the period 1982-83. She took a chance on me, hiring me directly out of law school to fill a research attorney/law clerk position that had recently been created by the California legislature. She was a force, as others will likely say, straight talking, supportive and fair. What may not be mentioned is her unerring sense for the right result in a particular case. Where the law was ambiguous, she had an innate sense for what the right outcome should be, and she allowed me to work with her to find the proper legal way to get there. This impressive sense of justice, reflected in her decisions will, for me, be her lasting legacy.

Anita Lee


I was so saddened to learn of Justice Dempsey Klein's passing. Thank you Justice Dempsey Klein for your authenticity, vision, boldness, commitment to justice and women's advancement, as well as for speaking truth to power. I am forever grateful for your support of my leadership in NAWJ as a board member and as President. One of my fondest memories is the attached photo when you pulled me aside to share your pearls of wisdom at the 2017 Atlanta Annual Conference when I assumed the presidency a month earlier than expected. You leave a great legacy for all of us to follow. Rest well Justice Dempsey Klein. Job well done.

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy
NAWJ Past President
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department

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