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State courts closed in honor of late SJC Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants; memorial page created on state website

The late Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants at his 2014 swearing-in as chief justice, shaking the hand of then-governor Deval Patrick.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

To honor Ralph D Gants, the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court who died this week, state courthouses are closed Friday and an online memorial page has been created on the state website.

“Share your message of condolence or memory of the Chief Justice so that we may all come together virtually to mourn our loss, share our stories, and pay tribute to Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants,” the remaining six justices said in a joint statement.

Gants, the first Jewish chief justice in the court’s 328-year history, was 65 and had been hospitalized Sept. 4 following a heart attack. He has been widely hailed for his humanity, sense of humor and a determination to provide equal justice to all.


One of those who has posted comments on the memorial page on mass.gov was Andre Lamarre, a secretary in the Superior Court where Gants served as a trial court judge before being named to the SJC.

“Chief Justice Gants was and will always be remembered as a humble/caring man. He made it a point to make everyone that came in contact with him feel as they were the most important person in the room. Heaven received an angel - well done Chief Gants.....well done!" Lamarre wrote.

Former Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, whom Gants succeeded as the leader of the state court system, recalled his legal skills but also his engaging personality.

"Ralph Gants was a wonderful colleague and a good friend. He was smart, a great writer, and extremely knowledgeable,'' Ireland wrote. “But most importantly, he was a kind, compassionate, decent individual....He was a good guy, and I liked him and I respected him. May he rest in peace.”

The public can post their own remembrances here.

The courts will reopen Monday. They continue to operate under COVID-19 limitations.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.