By BRUCE SCHREINER
Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - William E. McAnulty Jr. was remembered as a fun-loving man who "broke down barriers" as family and friends paid tribute Monday to Kentucky's first black Supreme Court justice.
McAnulty, 59, died of cancer last Thursday, two weeks after stepping down from the high court. He was appointed to the Supreme Court last summer by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, then won election to a full term in November.
An overflow crowd that included Gov. Ernie Fletcher, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and McAnulty's fellow judges gathered at Highland Presbyterian Church where McAnulty was remembered in prayer, song and eulogy.
The Rev. Fairfax F. Fair, the church's pastor, said McAnulty was known as someone "with a big heart, a willing spirit and a generous nature."
"Bill was a man who triumphed over barriers and who broke down barriers," she said.
The crowd laughed when McAnulty's sister, the Rev. Jean McAnulty Smith, remembered her brother for his eccentric gift-giving and his love of music. She said her brother once was mistaken for the singer Smokey Robinson, adding "that fantasy didn't materialize."
The Rev. Kevin Cosby, a Baptist pastor in Louisville, said McAnulty remained connected to the poor and marginalized even as he gained influence as judge.
"We are a better community because of William McAnulty," Cosby said.
McAnulty became a judge in 1975 on the former Jefferson Juvenile Court, then moved up to become a district judge. He served as Justice Cabinet secretary under former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., and went on to win election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1998.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)