Thurgood Marshall Wife, Cecilia “Cissy” Marshall Dies at 94

Cecilia “Cissy” Marshall, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice and civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, died on Tuesday at the age of 94, the court’s public information office said.

Marshall worked for the NAACP in the 1940s and 1950s, just like her husband. The court said that she was born in Hawaii and moved to New York, where she worked as a stenographer. No reason was given for the death.

Thurgood Marshall was the court’s first Black justice. He retired in 1991 and died in 1993. But Cecilia Marshall, who was known for being friendly, happy, and interested in the court for a long time, kept going to oral arguments and other court events, often with their son Thurgood Marshall Jr.

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In a statement about her on Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts said, “You wanted to sit next to her at any event.” This said a lot about who she was. “She had an easy sense of humour that could be – in an appropriate setting, of course – a bit saucy.”

He said that Marshall often sat in a section for spouses at Supreme Court Historical Society and oral arguments. Roberts said that she rarely missed a ceremony or other event at the Supreme Court.

Justice Elena Kagan, who worked as a law clerk for Justice Marshall during the 1987-1988 session, said in a statement on Tuesday, “Every clerk to Justice Marshall got a sort of bonus: the friendship and support of his wife, Cissy. She was a marvelous woman, and we all loved and admired her. The community of TM clerks will today feel a great loss.”

Cecilia Suyat was born in Hawaii in 1928 in the town of Pu’unene, Maui. She later moved to New York City, where she went to night classes at Columbia University to learn how to be a stenographer. From 1948 to 1955, she worked for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

Before he became a judge in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was in charge of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In that job, he was the lead lawyer for the cases that led to the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended the “separate but equal” policy in public schools.

In December 1955, they got married and had two sons, Thurgood Jr. and John. Cecilia Marshall was a board member for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Supreme Court Historical Society. She lived in Falls Church, Virginia.

The Supreme Court’s office of public information said that she was also involved in church activities and service to the community. She is remembered by her two sons and four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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