Monday, October 30, 2006
Memorial Service Scheduled for Former Judge Robert Swasey
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
A private memorial service has been scheduled for Nov. 4 for retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Robert L. Swasey, his daughter Melinda Porter told the MetNews Friday.
Swasey, 79, died on Oct. 20 at his Studio City home following a battle with lung cancer, and drew his last breath peacefully with family by his side, Porter said.
Swasey’s first wife of 44 years, Lorraine “Sugar” Swasey, and his second wife, Judy Lyons Swasey, had both preceded him in death.
“All my family was very proud of him,” Porter said. “He was a very generous man. He will be missed.”
Porter’s younger sister, Carrie Linder, said Swasey “was a great dad.”
Retired state Supreme Court Justice Armand Arabian, who while serving on the Court of Appeal administered the oath of office to Swasey, told the MetNews he had not seen the judge for several years, but was pained by his death:
“During that time we were both serving on the bench in Van Nuys and the San Fernando Valley, he was a very wonderful, warm-hearted conscientious member of the court,” Arabian said. “I never heard a bad word ever uttered about him and I never heard him utter a bad word about anyone else. He was just a perfect bench officer, a pleasure to work with, and I’m saddened by his loss.”
Swasey’s former clerk, Jim Sherman, said in a statement published on the Internet that he, too, would miss the judge.
“I worked with ‘Sweet Ol’ Bob’ at the courthouse for two decades,” Sherman said. “Bob taught me compassion, discipline, and honor. I truly loved him.”
Swasey, who presided over criminal matters, retired from the court on Sept. 16, 1996 after serving over 26 years on the bench as both a commissioner and a judge.
Appointed a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge in September 1984 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, Swasey sat in the Van Nuys courthouse and succeeded now-U.S. District Judge Ronald S. W. Lew upon his elevation to the Superior Court.
From 1970-1984, Swasey was a commissioner in the San Fernando Courthouse.
Prior to his bench career, he was a sole practitioner in a variety of practice areas, and was a member of the Hollywood Bar Association and American Bar Association.
A lifelong resident of California, he was born in Hollywood and graduated from North Hollywood High School.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in 1949 and his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 1953.
From 1944 to 1946, Swasey served in the U.S. Coast Guard.
He had a strong love for the outdoors, his garden, and riding motorcycles in the desert, and was a dedicated husband and father, Porter said.
The former judge was first diagnosed with lung cancer last March, but was apparently clear of the disease after undergoing surgery. The illness unexpectedly reappeared in August, Porter said.
Besides Porter and Linder, Swasey was survived by his four grandchildren, Jeff and Steve Porter and Paul and Megan Linder.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the City of Hope or other charity. Porter invited anyone seeking further information about memorial arrangements to call her at (818) 761-4892.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company