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McFarland, Former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice, Dies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kay McFarland, the first female chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, has died. She was 80. Leina Cox, administrative assistant at Penwell Gabel funeral home in Topeka, said McFarland died Tuesday morning at home after an illness. McFarland was appointed to the state Supreme Court in September 1977 by Governor Robert Bennett, becoming the first woman appointed to the high court. In September 1995 she became the court's first woman chief justice, a position she held until retiring in 2009. McFarland was also the first woman elected as a Shawnee County district judge in 1972. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports McFarland graduated from Washburn Law School when she was also the only woman attending classes full time. Her 31-year high court tenure is among the longest on record.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.