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Former Baltimore County judge dies unexpectedly

Former Baltimore County judge dies unexpectedly

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Judge Patrick Cavanaugh (courtesy photo)
Judge Patrick Cavanaugh (courtesy photo)

Former Baltimore County Judge Patrick Cavanaugh died unexpectedly last Saturday of a heart attack, according to a family member.

Cavanaugh, 76, served on the bench for Baltimore County Circuit Court from 2002 through 2013, when he retired. He graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1974 and worked as a solo practitioner from 1974 to 2002.

As a judge, Cavanaugh had a reputation as being tough with a no-nonsense attitude with criminal cases, according to Baltimore Chief Administrative Judge Kathleen Cox. She added, though, that those who tried cases in front of Cavanaugh found him to be “very cordial” and “pleasant” to all in his courtroom.

Outside of court, Cox said, she was struck by how devoted Cavanaugh was to his wife, children and grandkids.

“It’s a huge loss to his family and to us, he was a long-term member of the bench,” Cox said.

Cavanaugh’s daughter, Judge Colleen Cavanaugh, followed in her father’s footsteps and in 2014 became a judge in Baltimore County Circuit Court, where she still serves today.

“It was a happy serendipity that his daughter took over his spot,” Cox said. “I know he valued that continuity.”

Even after his retirement, Cavanaugh was eager to come back and sit on cases in Baltimore County and other counties, Cox said, adding that Cavanaugh was filling in as recently as last month for a judge who was out and needed help in western Maryland.

Cox said that Cavanaugh and his wife were visiting his daughter in South Carolina when he died.

Friends of Cavanaugh may attend calling hours Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc. at 1050 York Road. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph Church in Cockeysville Saturday at 12 PM. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project ( or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (, according to an online obituary.

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