Born in Halifax, N.C., Milton Read Jr. received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working in Washington, D.C., for a year, he set up a private practice in Durham with Anthony Brannon (later a superior court judge and Durham County district attorney). In 1966 Read was named chief prosecutor for Durham County’s district court. Four years later he was elected district court judge and later, chief district court judge. Governor Jim Hunt appointed Read to the superior court bench in 1984, where he remained until his 1995 retirement.