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January 26, 2006 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-01-26

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Featuring Hollywood's



Lisa and Bill Ford and Kathryn and Roger Penske

invite you to attend...


It's Their Honor from page 31

fundraiser to benefit The Children's Center

An officially sanctioned event of the
Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee

February 4, 2006

7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. • Ford Conference and Event Center

1151 Village Road, Dearborn, Michigan

Strolling Reception/Cocktails/Desserts
and After-Dinner Drinks

Live art performances, dancing and
entertainment featuring the renowned
dance band "Haute Chile" and DJ AM

Creative casual chic attire encouraged!

$450 a ticket

groovedetroit.com • 313 262 1112





Mr. and Mrs. Dave Bing • Mr. and Mrs. Chris Chelios

Mr. Alex Delvecchio • Mr. and Mrs. Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Mr. and Mrs. Al Kaline • Mr. and Mrs. Tom Lest/and

Mr. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez • Mr. and Mrs. Steve Yzerman

As one of the largest, most diverse and comprehensive front-line child-
serving agencies in Michigan, The Children's Center addresses the needs
and problems of some of the most troubled children in the United States.
Founded in 1929, The Children's Center serves thousands of children



and families through 20 inter-related programs annually.


Jackie moved back home with her
mother two years ago.
"I was spending a lot of time here
anyways. I just thought would be better
for me to be here with her!"
Celeste, a caregiver and now family
friend, came over a year ago, about the
same time as Onyx, a labradoodle.
Gage is considering what retired life
will be like.
"I don't want to wake up in the morn-
ing and watch television and lay around,
but, on the other hand, there's a pile of
books I want to read"
Looking at her career, however, it's
hard to imagine Hilda being idle.

The Work
It wasn't until Gage announced her
retirement on Dec. 12, 2005, that she
realized what effect she had during her
27 years on the bench.
She's been getting letters from people
who were in her court, including the
woman who was refused entrance to
the lunchroom of the Elks Club in
Gage's decision at the Circuit Court
level eventually forced the national
organization to accept women.
"She was inspired to the point where
she's in her second year of law school,"
G4e said.
Looking back reminds her of other
"I've had three different cases where
men have killed their mothers," she
said. "One guy had a stump for an arm,
and the end was real calloused — like a
weapon. He beat her to death because
she didn't water his green seedlings
when he was out of town.
"My clerk went to swear him in and
said, `Please raise your right stump:"
There have been murders, lots of
murders, she said.
"Some that we called Hannibal Lecter
cases, where the guy cut up girls and
barbequed them and served their
She remembered a trial where two
young teenage girls snuck out late at
night and were murdered by two men
they met in a park.
Gage ran into the jury foreman a few
years later at the grocery store.
"I haven't slept a night since that
case,' Gage said he told her.
"And you think about it',' Gage said.
"We take ordinary people and thrust
them into this awful violence, and
expect them to go on with their lives —
but they've been significantly changed."
After serving as judge and chief
judge of the Oakland County Circuit
Court, to which she was elected in 1978,


Ford Division


Ford Customer Service

32 January 26 • 2006




Gage was appointed to the Court of
Appeals in 1997.
Appointed to both the Michigan Civil
Rights Commission and the Michigan
Sentencing Guidelines Commission, she
was the first woman to serve as chair of
the National Conference of State Trial
Judges of the American Bar Association,
the first woman president of the
Michigan Judges Association and the
first woman to chair the Michigan
Judicial Tenure Commission.
Gage considered her career on the
bench as an honor•and bristles at the
actions of judges she can't avoid watch-
ing on television during her retirement.
"I never used my gavel in court —
never had to:' She said. "Judge Judy, if
she were sitting in our courtroom,
would be before judicial tenure right

The Colleagues
After 27 years on the bench, Hilda Gage
has received acclaim from those who
knew her best — her colleagues.
Chief of Court of Appeals Judge
William Whitbeck noted her concen-
tration skills. •
"Given the.stress and the pain of her
disease, the way she has carried it off
has just been incredible,' said Whitbeck,
.who met her when they were both
appointed in 1997 — when she could
still Walk slowly. "Her standards never
deviated a bit. She still was a vigorous
queStioner, and I often tell her she has
the most beautiful eyes in the world."
Barry Howard, former Oakland
County chief circuit judge, has known
Gage for 25 years.
"You are what you come from," he
said. "That adversity that she had
makes her work that much harder. For
so many people, the challenges of life
are different. With her, it's just getting
up in the morning. And she always did
it and she never complained!'
Oakland County Circuit Judge Joan
Young called her sensitive and caring,
but not a bleeding heart
"She cares about everybody who
appears in front of her and what's going
to happen to them,"Young said. "She
has no compunction about punishing
those who need to be punished,
though, let me tell you."
Court of Appeals Judge Pat Donofrio
met Gage in 1970 when they attended
Wayne State University Law School, and
they've marched up the ranks together.
"She is really going to be missed, not
only because of her positive attitude on
life, but because of her intellectual
capacity and the willingness to share
that capacity with the rest of us:" H

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