Betty Lester, a former judge in Essex County Superior Court and Newark Municipal Court, died Sunday at age 75.

Lester was one of the founders of the group now known as the Garden State Bar Association, and she was one of the first members of the Minority Student Program at Rutgers Law School in Newark. She was also the first Black woman to serve as presiding judge in the Criminal Division in Essex County. She was remembered for her desire to reform the legal system after riots in Newark in the late 1960s.