By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County is in mourning after a longtime Common Pleas Court judge passed away on Thursday night after an illness.

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Judge Richard Hodgson was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues when he peacefully passed away.

The 64-year-old jurist spent nearly twenty years on the bench in Norristown, five of those as president judge.

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Judge William Furber, who succeeded Hodgson as president judge in January, says the two met nearly forty years ago working as assistant district attorneys. He remembers his long-time friend.

“He was thoughtful, he was fair,” Furber says. “He always did what he thought was correct. He was a man of conviction, he was a principled individual.”

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Over the last several years, Hodgson was treated for several illnesses and Furber believes it was his love, not only for his family, but his county family, that kept him going. He called him one of the most courageous men he’s ever known and says he was a big fan of rock and roll music.