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Featured Memorial | Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Sheila Abdus-Salaam Obituary

3/14/1952 - 4/13/2017| Visit Guest Book
Sheila Abdus-Salaam (Mike Groll / AP)
Sheila Abdus-Salaam (Mike Groll / AP)
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the country’s first female Muslim judge, died Wednesday, April 12, 2017, according to multiple sources. She was 65.

She was also the first black female judge to serve on New York state’s highest court.

Her body was discovered Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River. She had been reported missing by her husband Tuesday, according to news reports.

Robert Boyce, chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, told reporters that there were no apparent injuries to Abdus-Salaam's body, and her death does not appear to be criminal in nature.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed her to the New York State Court of Appeals in 2013. Cuomo made a statement following news of her death.

“Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist and a force for good," Cuomo said. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio paid tribute on Twitter: “Deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Sheila Abdus-Salaam. She was a humble pioneer. My thoughts are with her family.”

She was born Sheila Turner March 14, 1952, in Washington, D.C. She went to college at Barnard and received her law degree from Columbia University. She was a lawyer at East Brooklyn Legal Services and later became an assistant attorney general in the New York State Department of Law. She began her judicial career in 1991.

The judge gave her mother credit for the drive to succeed.

"If my mother wasn't such a smart and resourceful woman, I might have ended up in foster care or worse," she said in 2015 at a Black History Month celebration, according to NBC News. "Although she dropped out of school, my mother realized that a good education would help us escape the poverty that we were trapped in."

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Other obituaries

Published in The New York Times on April 14, 2017
ABDUS-SALAAM--Sheila. With deep and heartfelt sadness, the Trustees and Administration of Barnard College mourn the passing of Sheila Abdus-Salaam '74, a devoted alumna and trailblazing jurist.... Read Obituary
Published in The New York Times on April 14, 2017
ABDUS-SALAAM--Sheila. The Directors and Members of JALBCA are heartbroken at the loss of New York Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an exceptional woman, jurist and longtime supporter of... Read Obituary
Published in The New York Times on April 14, 2017
ABDUS-SALAAM--Sheila. Columbia Law School is profoundly saddened by the death of the Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam '77, an esteemed alumna and trailblazer whose devotion to public service and... Read Obituary
Published in The New York Times on April 18, 2017
ABDUS-SALAAM--Sheila. The board and staff of WHEDco are shocked and saddened at the untimely death of our founding Board Chair, colleague and friend, Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam. Sheila's keen intellect... Read Obituary
Published in The New York Times on April 24, 2017
ABDUS-SALAAM--Sheila. We join the entire legal and non-profit communities in mourning the passing of our dearly beloved alumna, Sheila Abdus-Salaam. An incredibly wonderful, bright, caring, upbeat... Read Obituary
Published online on April 12, 2017 courtesy of Tributes.com
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the country's first female Muslim judge, died Wednesday, April 12, 2017, according to multiple sources. For full obituary and coverage from Legacy.com, click here . Read Obituary
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