Friday, August 5. 2005
Funeral Services Set Next Week for U.S. District Judge William J. Rea
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services will be held next Wednesday and Thursday for Senior U.S. District Judge William J. Rea, who died Wednesday in Santa Monica.
Rea, who was 85, died while recuperating from surgery. “He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and many friends among the court family,” Chief Judge Consuelo Marshall said in a statement.
Rea maintained an active caseload on senior status, hearing cases as recently as last week. Last Wednesday, he sentenced former Azusa Mayor Sephen J. Alexander to six months in jail for lying on a tax return.
Rea, who sat occasionally on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by designation, was appointed to the federal bench by then-President Reagan in 1984. It was also Reagan who, as governor, appointed Rea to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1968.
Rea practiced civil law, mostly in the fields of medical malpractice and other tort defense, in Los Angeles and Orange counties from 1952 until his appointment to the bench. He also served as national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
A graduate of Mount Carmel High School in Los Angeles, He attended UCLA and Loyola University, where he played baseball on scholarship.
He attracted the interest of scouts for the Chicago Cubs, but World War II intervened and he joined the Navy, serving as a gunnery officer in the Pacific before being promoted to captain and placed in charge of a destroyer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
As a jurist, he won a number of awards, including the Outstanding Trial Jurist honor given by the County Bar in 1985. He also received honors from both plaintiff and defense attorney groups.
Survivors include his wife, Catherine Rea, and son, attorney William J. Rea Jr.
Rosary will be said next Wednesday at the Gates, Kingsley & Gates Funeral Home, 1925 Arizona Ave. in Santa Monica. Thursday’s funeral mass will take place at 11 a.m. at Corpus Christi Church, 880 Toyopa Drive (corner of Sunset and Carey) in Pacific Palisades and will be followed by a procession to Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery 5835 West Slauson Ave. in Culver City.
The judge’s family requested that any memorial donations be made to the Braille Institute, 741 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90029, or to HOPE, 21231 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance 90502.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company