Judge Myron Bright

judge myron bright
Myron H. Bright, 97, died peacefully on December 12, 2016 at the Eventide Fargo Senior Living Facility surrounded by his children and grandchildren. Myron was born March 5, 1919 to Morris and Lena Bright in Eveleth, MN. He and his four siblings grew up in the hearty Iron Range of northern Minnesota. The Bright family was a staple of the Jewish community in the Iron Range and Myron has maintained a deep connection and close ties to the area throughout his life. Myron attended Eveleth High School and graduated from Eveleth Junior College before going on to the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate and law degrees. His college days were interrupted by World War II, during which he honorably served his country as a Captain in the Army Air Corps, stationed in India. He met Frances (Fritzie) Reisler in 1945 and they were married December 1946.  After Myron’s graduation from law school, the couple moved to Fargo, ND in 1947 where they would make their home for the next 71 years.  They were “partners” in every sense of the word until Fritzie’s death in October 2000. Myron and Fritzie were active members of the Fargo community and were involved in Democratic politics locally and state wide. Myron joined the law firm of Wattam, Vogel and Vogel which became Wattam, Vogel, Vogel, Bright and Peterson and is now known as Vogel Law Firm. He had a 21 year career as a successful trial attorney, representing a variety of clients throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. In 1968 Myron was appointed as an Appellate Judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for the United States by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Over the course of his judicial career, he presided over more than 7,000 cases and authored more than 3,000 opinions. He was famous for his ground-breaking rulings in the field of civil rights and employment discrimination. Judge Bright complemented his judicial career with a strong involvement in legal education. His awards and accolades are too numerous to mention here. At his death he was the longest serving jurist on the Eighth Circuit. Myron and Fritzie purchased what has come to be known as the “Little Brown Cottage” on Lake Melissa in Detroit Lakes, MN in 1968. From that date to the present it has become the perennial summer home for the entire Bright clan. Myron’s summers at the Lake were not to be interfered with and all who visited were welcomed to enjoy the full Bright family hospitality. He enjoyed golfing at the Detroit Lakes CC, tennis and most especially, walleye fishing with family and friends. He was fond of bird watching at the Lake and quite serious about tending to his bird feeders. He and Fritzie were accomplished Bridge and Cribbage players, often hosting their friends for games of cards. When he wasn't working or at the Lake, you could find Myron behind the pages of any newspaper, the New Yorker or a good book. His mind never stopped. He had an incredible memory and the astonishing ability to recall the smallest details of events that took place years ago. He was a friend to all he met and a gift of wisdom and advice to all those who knew him. Myron loved and cherished his family. He referred to them as “the family,” using a formal tone, as if it were an official title. “The family” included not only his immediate one, but also the more than 100 law clerks who served him during his 48 years on the bench. He looked forward with great anticipation to the law clerk reunions, which were held every 5 years during his time as a judge. He was known by many titles; Judge, Myron, Mike, Dad, Pops and Poppop. One of his most prized titles was “author,” having written and published his autobiography, Goodbye Mike, Hello Judge: My Journey for Justice in 2014. He was an avid sports fan; following the NDSU Bison, UND, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins. He was a supporter of the arts; including the FM Symphony and FM Opera. He was the oldest member of Temple Beth El. He is survived by his family who loved him dearly; daughter, Dinah (Christian) Golding of Fargo, ND; son, Joshua Bright of Excelsior, MN; grandchildren; Amy (Jim) Long of Fargo, ND, Sarianne (Brock) Dickson of Harwood, ND and Adam (Kimberly) Schultz of Shorewood, MN; great-grandchildren; William Bright, Connor James and Henry Elliot Long, Collins Frances and Maxum Brock Dickson; Mason Myron and Addison Marie Schultz; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Bright; parents, Morris and Lena Bright; brothers, Leo Bright, Roy Bright and Joe Bright; and sister, Mabel Bright Manfield. A gathering of friends and family will be held at the Boulger Funeral Home, 123 10th Street S, Fargo on Tuesday, December 20 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. A Celebration of Judge Bright’s life will be held at Reineke Fine Arts Center on the campus of NDSU, beginning at 1:00pm, Wednesday, December 21 with a reception to follow at the Fargo Country Club beginning at 3:00pm.   Memorials preferred to: Temple Beth El   ~  809 11th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103 Or University of North Dakota Foundation. Please make a notation on the check - In memory of Judge Bright. University of North Dakota Foundation 3501 University Ave Stop 8157 Grand Forks, ND 58202   If someone would want to make an online gift:  https://ow.ly/Y9Jv3077Q4y 1. Enter the amount you would like to give 2. Click on "Search for Other Options” a window will pop up - scroll to the bottom of the list and select “other" 3. Select your gift frequency 4. Hit “next” button 5. Fill out "Donor Information" section 6. In the “My Gift is a Tribute” - select "In memory of" and in name column type "Judge Bright" 7. Complete the transaction with the billing information          


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  1. Judge Bright was a North Dakota giant. Fair, open-minded, even-handed, and a friend to all. He will be sincerely missed.

  2. A completely unique character! Sharp. Enthusiastic about life. A dedicated friend who worked hard at his friendships. Myron and Fritzie were an integral part of my family’s life from the earliest days in my memory. Myron’s gravely voice, and Fritzie’s for that matter, was one you could hear if he was anywhere in the neighborhood. Whispering was not within his skill set. Nor, really, was landing a boat gently – it was advisable to stay off the dock until his craft came to a standstill. Myron set an example of what it meant to live life fully and with gusto. We were blessed to have him a part of our lives. Myron will be missed, but could never be forgotten.

  3. Judge Myron Bright lived a long life full of public service and personal friendships that spanned nearly a century. He left his indelible mark on the history our state and country! He was a man of character and goodwill who lifted our spirits.To know him was to be inspired by his energy and his constant view that life was good and was always going to get better.

    Today, I received the sad news of his death. I will miss my friend Judge Myron Bright. But his optimistic view of the world around us will always remain a part of me.

  4. Another legend in his profession, coach John Wooden said “a man should have character – not be a character”. Judge Bright was a man of character AND a bit of a character — but in a very good way! He has more friends from more walks of life than anyone I have had the pleasure of knowing. He was a master of conversation, engaging, and loved his family and friends. More lessons were learned from his teaching than even he would know. A great man with a great legacy. You will be missed. Thank you Judge!

  5. We are sorry we won’t be in Fargo for the celebration of Myron’s remarkable life. Please know
    that our thoughts are with you all. He made an impact on so many lives, our included!
    Lee and Jane Christoferson

  6. Judge Bright was an awesome neighbor at the lake! I will always remember his LOUD voce yelling across our yards ‘have you got cofffe Angie’ I wlll miss him everyday

  7. God Bless the Judge…a Jewish gentlemen gave me a bit of advise 35 years ago when I started a business …Son he said “God gives you two eyes , Intelligence and Integrity… use them well” and Myron wore them WELL !We will miss him…Eric King

  8. Dear Family of Myron,

    We are sending our condolences to you on the passing of your amazing Myron. We will always remember how he greeted us with a warm smile when we had the pleasure of seeing him at the numerous community events and celebrations our families shared together. Although miles separate us we will be with you in spirit at the memorial service.

    May his memory be for blessing,


  9. Judge bright was one of my most cherished friends. I came to know him when in the u s courthouse. We both had chambers across from each other and ofen visited. Almost every day we would exchange noon pleasentrys at the fcc. We also were out in his pontoon at his lake home”the little brown cottage”. Judge mike was wonderful man, not to pass this way again. He was a aingular man.

  10. Judge bright, or just plain mike, as we called him, was wonderful guy. We met nearly every day for lunch At the fcc. Our chambers were next door and we both exchanged pleasentrys in mornings. we did travel together once in colorado. Truly a wonderful person. We even pontooned together, larks thAt day was.


  11. We are so sorry we can not attend the services. But our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Myron was a very special person with a great love for his family. We always enjoyed Uncle Myron’s visits to Hawaii. We send our love and aloha. Bill and Faith

  12. Please accept our sincerest condolences. Judge Bright led a remarkable life and it was an honor to know him. He will be missed, but his legacy is one to be celebrated.

  13. Judge Bright, what a gem! He sought me out while in law school at UND over 20 years ago as he was old pals with my dad. From then on he treated me like we had known each other for years. I cherish the discussions we had and the many fishing trips with his family on Rainy Lake. The walleyes in “Bright’s Bay” may have caught a break, but the legal profession lost a giant and the world lost an exceptional human being.
    Sending thoughts and prayers for the entire family.

  14. What a wonderful man! Enjoyed his company and was a great customer at the Hotel Shoreham for many years. He was always upbeat and never complained. I was proud to have known him.

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