Dorothy Holden Thompson, a senior partner in an Easton law firm and trailblazer for other women lawyers, died Wednesday, apparently of heart failure, while visiting her daughter and son-in-law in Cary, N.C. The Easton resident was 84.
Dorothy Holden was born in Baltimore, the daughter of a greenhouse owner who, with no more than a fifth-grade education himself, wanted his five children to go as far in school as possible. She attended the Johns Hopkins University for three years after graduating from Eastern High School, and later entered the University of Maryland School of Law, one of the few law schools admitting women at the time. She became the first female student to serve as chairwoman of the school's law review and graduated first in her class in 1943.
In law school, she met her future husband, Ernest Morris Thompson of Oxford. They were married a day before he shipped out for a two-year tour of duty as a Navy officer during World War II. During his service, Mrs. Thompson clerked for Morris A. Soper, a federal appeals court judge, and practiced as an associate with firms in Baltimore and San Francisco, where she had moved to await her husband's return.