Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas listens to an attorney during the Anthony Garver trial at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Oct. 9, 2019 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas listens to an attorney during the Anthony Garver trial at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Oct. 9, 2019 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Judge Eric Lucas, who broke barriers on bench, dies at 67

Lucas was the first Black judge elected to Snohomish County Superior Court.

EVERETT — Judge Eric Lucas, who made history as the first person of color to be elected to the Snohomish County Superior Court bench, has died.

The Everett man, born April 16, 1954, died over the past weekend, the Snohomish County Executive’s Office announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon. The cause of death was not publicly released.

“It leaves a big hole in our community,” Snohomish County NAACP president Janice Greene said Wednesday. “As the first African-American Superior Court judge, he really leaves a legacy. He’s been a pillar in our community for years. He was a supporter of equity and inclusion.”

The judge was first elected to the county bench in 2004. He served multiple terms, before announcing his retirement last year.

During his Superior Court tenure, Lucas spent four years as presiding judge of the Juvenile Offender Drug Court. He loved mentoring children and believed that is where he made the most difference. Outside the courthouse, the judge also dedicated his time to the children of Snohomish County.

“When you support youth like that, they grow up and go on to lead their own lives,” Greene said. “He did a lot of work to position them for success.”

Lucas was an active member of the Snohomish County NAACP. He led the organization’s annual “Prodigies for Peace” essay contest, encouraging children to draw connections between the people and events that shaped the civil rights movement and the social and systemic issues that influence their lives today. Recently, Lucas had been instrumental in engaging with the Marysville School District, when Black students’ lives were threatened.

The second of five children, Lucas was born in Spokane, where his family lived until 1966, according to a Daily Herald article about his retirement last year. His father, Moyes Lucas Sr., was an electrician who’d served at Fairchild Air Force Base. Lucas and his family moved to Western Washington, where they spent their first months here in a 27-foot trailer before swapping their Spokane house for a home owned by friends in Everett.

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Dec. 8, 2020 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Dec. 8, 2020 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Lucas spent most of his life in Snohomish County. In 1972, he graduated from the newly built Mariner High School. He was the new school’s first student body president. He’d also been his junior high’s president at Olympic View in Mukilteo.

An athlete and National Merit Semifinalist at Mariner, the young man was destined for higher education. He started his college journey at Stanford, then transferred to the University of Washington where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in elementary education. Amid teacher layoffs in the 1980s, he changed career paths.

He thought it was a joke when he got an acceptance letter from Harvard Law School. By 1983 he had moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and two boys.

And by 1986, with a law degree from Harvard, the family was back in the Pacific Northwest. Lucas got a job as a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, in the criminal division.

He met his wife, Beth Lucas, in the seventh grade. Married in 1974, they raised four sons, Joel, Jared, Ben and Peter.

Arrangements for his memorial service are in the works, an acquaintance said, but no details were available.

In a written statement Wednesday, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said Lucas was a bright light in the community and an engaging personality who will be sorely missed.

“Judge Lucas was not just an excellent judge,” Somers said, “he was an extraordinary leader and an inspiration to many.”

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen

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