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Judge Alice Lee Gilbert

Judge Alice Lee Gilbert, 88, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, died on 09 December 2020.

The Funeral was A PRIVATE FAMILY SERVICE on Sunday, 13 December 2020 at 1:00 PM .

Rabbi E.B. Freedman officiated.

Click to watch a video of the recorded service.

“Trailblazer” is the most fitting moniker attributable to Judge Alice Lee Gilbert. Her trailblazing cut across many paths, and the paths that she blazed are more aglow now than ever. Back when the glass ceiling was made of marble, she smashed all gender barriers.

Growing up in the Chicago area, she resolved that she would attend the best college possible and moved across the country. Majoring in political science and economics, she attended Wellesley College, leaving in her late year for Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Judge Gilbert was a lifelong learner, and her post-graduate studies included work at the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration (now known as Harvard Kennedy School), Wayne State University Law School (Go Warriors [then Tartars]!), University of Detroit Law School, University of Michigan (Go Blue!), and several courses at The National Judicial College at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Her trailblazing continued in law school – where she was just one of two women. She was a bright and determined lawyer, and resolved to make her mark and go her own way. Bucking all custom, when she married, she maintained her surname and in 1957 sued to practice law under her surname rather than her married name.

Out of the courtroom, she was a founding member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the first female member of the Oakland County Bar Association, and a founder of the Oakland County Women’s Bar Association. Judge Gilbert became just the third woman elected as a Circuit Court judge in the history of the state of Michigan, and the first in Oakland County.

Over the course of her career, she presided over 110,000 cases. As impressive a resume as that is, it hardly reveals the woman. She was a voracious traveler, including climbing the Andes Mountains and going on expeditions to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Italy, Egypt, Israel, Russia, China, and Africa.

She remarked to a newspaper, “I started with a philosophy that I have one goal – living my life. That’s family and career. I never divided it,” Alice was the beloved wife of the late Murray P. Greenblatt and the late Dr. Herbert J. Bloom. Cherished mother of Gwen Gilbert, Greg (Carolynn) Gilbert, and Dean (Christina) Greenblatt. Loving grandmother of Ariel Zekelman, Leah Zekelman, Jonah Zekelman, Andrew Gilbert, Jennifer (Michael) McManus, Julia Gilbert, Katherine Greenblatt, David Greenblatt, and Allison Greenblatt. Sister of the late Henry Gilbert. Daughter of the late Rebecca and the late Alfred Gilbert. Fondly remembered by many friends and colleagues.

Metro Detroit’s Jewish funeral homes have agreed that families should follow the directive of Centers for Disease Control and restrict the size of gatherings to no more than 25.

For now, in-person funeral attendance will be limited to only immediate family. Otherwise, funerals may be viewed live and recorded on chapel websites.

Together, we thank the community for understanding during this unusual and challenging time.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Judge Alice Lee Gilbert may do so by making a contribution to:

Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network
6555 West Maple
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Click to Visit Charity Website

Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus
28123 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Click to Visit Charity Website