Beatrice "Pennie" Millender, a Detroit 36th District Court judge for nearly two decades, died Saturday morning at 68 of natural causes.
The Detroit Free Press reports she died of natural causes.
"Pennie was one of those unique individuals who had an absolutely infectious, irresistible, delightful personality," wrote Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr., who confirmed the death on his webpage. "In high school, Pennie was the life of the party! As we matured and aged, Pennie never lost her wonderful spirit."
Millender served 17 years on the bench after being appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2003, She presided over real estate and civil cases.
"What a wonderful and delightful person and friend," wrote Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen on Facebook. "We were appointed to the bench on the very same day. In fact, after we compared notes, we determined the Governor called us within minutes of each other, her first and me second. We used to kid each other that I would have it no other way, standing behind my friend, Pennie. She was always first in my book."
Rev. Hood recalled her professionalism. "I had an opportunity to watch her in action as a judge, and she carried herself as a no-nonsense jurist," he posted, adding:
"Her mother and father, Louise and Atty. Robert Millender were power brokers in the progressive legal community in Detroit [who] transcended racial lines. In high school, I did not know anything about political power brokers, but her parents and my parents were in a small circle of the black power elite."