Janice Niemi died in her sleep of non-covid natural causes on October 21, 2020.
Janice was born in Rochester, Minnesota and raised in Spokane. She received a BA from the University of Washington; attended graduate school at the University of Michigan; and graduated from the University of Washington with her J.D.
Janice was a leader in Washington State’s legal community and was one of the first female graduates of the University of Washington Law School. Upon graduation she worked as a legal services lawyer, championing the rights of women and lobbying for changes to discriminatory state and federal law. In 1971 Janice ran for and won election as a District Court Judge, and in 1972 she became the first woman in King County to be elected to a position on the King County Superior Court.
In 1983 she ran for a seat representing the 43rd District in the Washington House of Representatives. In 1987 she was appointed to a vacancy in the Washington State Senate, and served in that position until 1994, when she ran for the King County Superior Court, where she remained until she retired in 2000. Throughout her career she was a leader in advocating women’s rights, gender equality, and fighting discrimination. After retiring from the Superior Court she spent her time traveling, cooking, and collecting art with Dennis Braddock, her partner of thirty-six years.
When she graduated from law school there were very few female lawyers in Washington, and those that were serving were frequently the objects of discrimination by judges and male attorneys. Seeing a need for an organization to support women lawyers, Janice became one of the founding members Washington Women Lawyers. In 2013 she was the recipient of the Washington Women Lawyers Legacy Award for her manifold contributions to the women in Washington’s legal community.
She is survived by Dennis Braddock, her son and daughter in-law Ries Niemi and Sheila Klein and their children, Rebar and Torque and her daughter and son in-law Patty and Phillip Mitroupolos and their children Sophia and Elvis. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Washington Women Lawyers at https://www.wwl.org/donate.
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Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services - West Seattle
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