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Lori Fowler, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/07/2013 05:34:31 PM PDT
Updated: 04/07/2013 05:35:04 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Superior Court system is mourning the loss of two key figures.

Ellen E. Brodie, who served as a judge in the west side of San Bernardino County, died on March 16 at the age of 94.

Richard Maxwell, a chief deputy district attorney for the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office from 1974 to 2008, died March 24 at his Upland home from complications with a long illness. He was 66 years old.

Both were well-respected in their professions.

Brodie was born Ellen Edith Cameron on December 15, 1918, in Saskatchewan. She married Ian Brodie in 1941, had four sons and moved to Upland.

She first worked as a sheriff’s dispatcher, but later got a secretarial job at the Public Defender’s Office in Ontario where she was encouraged to become an attorney.

“She never thought she could go to law school because she never went to college,” said her grandson, Hon. Kyle Brodie, a judge in San Bernardino.

Regardless, Brodie entered night law school at the University of La Verne in 1970 “” when she was 51 years old.

Four years later she became an attorney with the Public Defender’s Office and, in 1982, she was appointed a Municipal Court judge.

She was originally assigned to the Ontario courthouse, but when that building was demolished, she was moved to the West Valley Superior Courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga.

“When I was appointed, she swore me in,” Kyle Brodie said.

That got Kyle Brodie wondering how many grandmother-grandson combinations there were on the bench. When he asked the governor’s office, they told him as far as they know, Ellen Brodie was the first to do that.

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