Longtime Easton District Judge Gay Elwell was found dead Monday at her home in the city. She was 54.
Northampton County Court Administrator James Onembo told Patch he had gotten word of her death Monday afternoon. County Coroner Zach Lysek told the Express-Times she had died at home.
Elwell had served as distrist judge in downtown Easton since 1996. Prior to that, she had worked for several years as a reporter in The Morning Call's bureau in the city, and was a familiar face at the courthouse, Onembo said.
"Her understanding of the justice system made her a natural for the position," he said. "She was compassionate, but she could be tough."
Elwell's office at 400 Northampton St. was closed Monday afternoon, although workers for other local district courts came to pay their respects.
"Extremely saddened to learn of District Judge Gay Elwell's passing," Easton City Councilman Jeffrey Warren wrote on Twitter. "An extremely dedicated public servant. My prayers are with her family."
Elwell had been moved into her office a little under a year ago. Prior to that, her court had been in Centre Square.
Onembo said the county's senior district judges will take turns as judge for her district -- which includes downtown Easton and College Hill -- until a replacement is chosen.