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MISSOULA - Longtime District Court Judge E. Gardner Brownlee of Missoula died of natural causes Saturday at St. Patrick Hospital. He was 92.

Brownlee served 14 years as the Ravalli County attorney before serving from 1959 to 1979 on the bench in the 4th Judicial District, which then spanned Missoula, Ravalli, Lake, Sanders and Mineral counties.

District Judge Douglas Harkin of Missoula called Brownlee his mentor, saying he demanded a lot from attorneys arguing cases in front of him, and that made him a better lawyer.

Brownlee was a Wolf Point native who attended Northern Montana College in Havre and earned his law degree from the University of Montana in 1940. He served as Ravalli County attorney from 1940 to 1959, with a yearlong deployment with the U.S. Air Force in 1943.

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