Harold Hood

Retired Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Harold Hood, a lifetime public servant who served the Detroit metropolitan community as a soldier, an educator and chief judge pro tem of the Michigan Court of Appeals, died on May 5, at age 84.

A Hamtramck native born on Jan. 14, 1931, Hood earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan before joining the Army and serving in Korea. Upon his discharge from the Army, he attended law school at Wayne State University and graduated at the top 6 percent of his class.

Hood's professional career flourished as indicated by his early academic success. After establishing his own firm, in 1961 he began his first role in public service as assistant corporation counsel for the city of Detroit. Eight years after obtaining that position, he was appointed the first African American to serve as chief assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

His judicial career began with an appointment to the Common Pleas Court for the city of Detroit in 1973. His years of service on the bench included tenures with Detroit Recorder's Court, the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Wayne County, and ultimately the Michigan Court of Appeals, to which his was appointed in 1982. He retired in 2003 as chief judge pro tem of the court.

Hood's career as a defender of eradicating bias and discrimination spans to 1987 when he was appointed to chair of the Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Issues in the Courts. The Task Force issued a report with 122 recommendations to improve the state's legal system by eliminating bias and discrimination. From 1997 to 2002, he partnered with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, as co-chair of the State Bar of Michigan's Open Justice Commission, charged with implementing the Force's recommendations.

Additionally, Hood has served as a community volunteer as a board member and chair of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, as a member and past president of the Old Newsboys Goodfellows Fund of Detroit, and on the Advisory Commission of the Nationals Institute on Alcoholism and Addictions.

He was bestowed the 2013 Dennis W. Archer Award for Public Service. He was the recipient of the Founders Award from the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in 2011. In 1990 he was honored with the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame Phillip A. Hart Award in 1991.

Hood is survived by his loving wife, Rev. Dr. Lottie Jones Hood; four children, Harold K. Hood, Kenneth L. Hood, Kevin J. Hood, and Karen T. Hood; one sister, Gloria Lewis, and one brother, James Buford; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives, friends, and colleagues.

Residents will memorialize the career and life of Hood on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church located at 18700 James Couzens Hwy. in Detroit. The family hour will begin at 9 a.m. Contact Swanson Funeral Home for more information at 313-923-1122 or 313-272-9000.

Memorial Contributions can be made to Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Scholarship Fund in c/o Kevin Hood, 300 River Front Drive, Ste. 23K, Detroit, 48226.

Published: Fri, May 22, 2015