Karla M. Gray, American jurist, Died at 69


Karla Marie Gray was born on May 10, 1947, and died on February 19, 2017.

She was an American attorney and judge.

Gray served as the Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court; she was the first woman elected to that position.

She was born in Escanaba, Michigan.

Gray attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo from 1965–1970, earning a B.A. and an M.A. in African history.

Then, she moved to California, working as a clerk matron at the Mountain View Police Department.

Gray received a J.D. in 1976 from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, where she was an editor of the Hastings Law Journal.

When she completed law school, she moved to Butte, Montana, where she served as a law clerk for Senior United States District Court Judge William Daniel Murray.

During 1977 when her clerkship ended, she practiced law as in-house corporate counsel and in a solo practice. During the 1980s, she was a lobbyist at the Montana Legislature, representing the power industry and trial lawyers.

During 1991, Governor Stan Stephens appointed Gray as an Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, following the resignation of Diane Barz.

Diane Barz was the first woman to serve on the court; Gray was the second.

Karla Marie Gray won election as an Associate Justice in 1992 and again in 1998.

Gray subsequently became the first woman to be elected Chief Justice in 2000, defeating fellow sitting Justice Terry N. Trieweiler by 8,800 votes out of approximately 387,000 cast.

During 2008, Justice Gray retired from the bench.

She died at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana.

Karla M. Gray passed away at 69 years old.