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Eye On Boise

Byron Johnson, former Idaho Supreme Court justice, dies at age 75

Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson died Sunday at his home of cancer; he was 75. Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey calls Johnson “a singular character in Idaho public life,” reporting that he was a baseball star at Boise High School, once striking out future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew; was a Harvard-trained lawyer who retired from Idaho's highest court after 11 years in 1999; and that he quit wearing ties in court, wrote poetry, climbed mountains and was a part of the unusual culture of Idaho City, where he lived for many years with his wife, Judge Patricia Young. You can read Popkey's full post here.

He reports that Johnson passed away about 1 a.m. Sunday with two of his four children at his side. “Blessedly, it was peaceful,” Young told Popkey. Johnson will be remembered with a wake on Jan. 6, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, at the Barber Events Center in Barber Park.

In May, Johnson sat down for an interview with the Boise Weekly's George Prentice in which he talked about his cancer, his life, his beliefs, and who he likes in today's Idaho politics, on both sides of the aisle; you can read it here.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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