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Lorna Lockwood (1903-1977)

Inducted in 1981

Used by permission from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records


“In our system, students may not be regarded as closed circuit recipients of only that which the state chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved.” 

From Justice Lorna Lockwood’s Supreme Court opinions lawyer, legislator, Superior Court judge, Arizona Supreme Court chief justice … ten words that capsulate the career of Lorna E. Lockwood.  Add to that, assistant attorney general for Arizona, juvenile court judge and district price attorney for the wartime Office of Price Administration, and one begins to appreciate the breadth of that career.

Born March 24, 1903, in Douglas, a small southeastern Arizona town on the Mexican border, Lorna Lockwood was the daughter of Daisy Maude Lincoln and attorney Alfred Collins Lockwood. The family moved to Tombstone in 1913, and Lorna graduated from Tombstone High School in 1920.

In an age when few women continued their education beyond high school, Lorna Lockwood not only graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson (in 1923), but also from the College of Law (in 1925). She was the only woman among 13 law students in her class and was elected president of the Student Bar Association.


“I decided when I was a very little girl that I wanted to be a lawyer:” Lornaonce said. “I can’t say positively when, but the idea was in the back of my mind.” 


She had dreamed of practicing law with her father, but by the time she was admitted to the State Bar, her father had been elected to the Arizona Supreme Court. He served from 1925 to 1942 and was chief justice three times.

Miss Lockwood followed in her father’s footsteps right up to the very desk he had used as a member of the state Supreme Court. She was elected to the post in 1960 and chose to occupy her father’s old office and work at the desk that had been his. She served as vice chief justice once and chief justice twice. In so doing, she became the first woman chief justice in Arizona and in U.S. history.

But her rise to prominence took some time. After passing the State Bar in 1925, Lockwood found limited job opportunities. She spent fourteen years as a legal stenographer before forming the state’s first all-woman legal practice with another female lawyer.  Then in 1939, Lorna was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives and served three terms. She was chosen by her fellow legislators as vice president, and later chairman, of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. Between her second and third terms in the Legislature, Miss Lockwood spent a year (1943) as assistant to U.S. Rep. John R. Murdock in Washington, D.C. She was Arizona assistant attorney general from 1949 to 1950 and Maricopa County Superior Court judge from 1950 to 1961.

During that time on the lower court, she served three and one-half years as a juvenile court judge and became well known in the field of delinquency control. Interspersed in her legal and public service careers were years of dedicated work in many civic and professional organizations. Lorna Lockwood was elected state president and western regional director of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs; president of the Soroptomists Club of Phoenix; and president of the Arizona Judges Association. She also served on the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. She believed in private juvenile aid agencies and was active in the Big Sisters and Big Brothers of Arizona.

Her career, her public service and her dedication to youth did not go unnoticed. In 1962, Lorna Lockwood was named Phoenix Professional Woman of the Year; in 1965 she received the Southern Pacific Coast Region of Hadassah Humanitarian Award; in 1971 she was named Builder of a Greater Arizona; and in 1974 she was given the Phoenix Woman of the Year award.

When she died September 23, 1977, at Phoenix’s Good Samaritan Hospital, Chief Justice James Duke Cameron eulogized her as “a good judge and a tough judge when she had to be.”

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