“Nobody thought I had a prayer,” says retired Superior Court Judge Lillian Fisher. “I was an unknown, a woman with a family — and a New York accent.”
Despite those "drawbacks" and a bar association that consistently gave her bottom-of-the-barrel rankings, Fisher went on to serve a long and distinguished career on the bench.
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Lillian Fisher smiles before she officiates the swearing in of her grandson Paul Cunningham to the Tucson City Council.
Born to immigrant parents who came through Ellis Island, Lillian Fisher graduated from Brooklyn College in 1942, then went to work for Bell Laboratories.
Lillian Fisher taken in 1944.
In late 1945 she married Bernard “Bernie” Fisher, a dental school student she met on a blind date. They would be together until his death in 2001.
Lillian Fisher in 1975 just after she was elected to the Pima County Superior Court.
Lillian Fisher, right, with Sandra Day-O'Connor in 1979.
Lillian Fisher, bottom-right, with her husband Bernard Fisher, bottom-left, and their children from left, Marjorie Cunningham Michael Fisher and Anne Segal taken in 1994.
Lillian Fisher bottom-right, with her husband Bernard Fisher, bottom-left, and their children and grandchildren taken in 1994.
Lillian Fisher, left, with President Bill Clinton, and her daughter Marjorie Cunningham taken in 2005.
Lillian Fisher, right, shakes hands with Michelle Obama at the Fox Theatre in 2008.
Lillian Fisher, right, officiates at the swearing in of her grandson Paul Cunningham, left, in Council Chambers in Tucson, AZ on May 11, 2010. Cunningham filled a vacant city council seat.
Lillian Fisher, right, hugs her grandson Paul Cunningham after the swearing in ceremony at Council Chambers. Fisher officiated the swearing in of Cunningham who filled a vacant city council seat.
Lillian Fisher, 88, sits in her dining room at her home Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Fisher is a former Superior Court Judge.