Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Services This Weekend for Attorney Benjamin Salvaty
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Services will be held this weekend for Benjamin Benedict Salvaty III, a real estate attorney and partner at Hill Farrer & Burrill LLP who unexpectedly passed away last Saturday at 68 years of age.
A gathering and recitation of the rosary is scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Cabot & Sons, located at 27 Chestnut Street in Pasadena. The funeral mass will be Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Therese Catholic Church, 1100 E. Alhambra Road in Alhambra.
Salvaty’s law school classmate and friend, retired U.S. Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian of the Central District of California, said:
“The good die young, and he was one of the best… You talk about integrity, hard work and a loyal Notre Dame guy, that was Ben Salvaty.”
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Salvaty’s memory to Loyola High School, 1901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006 or The University of Notre Dame, c/o Tom Griffin, Office of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.
Salvaty was born in Chicago in 1940. His family moved to Alhambra in 1946, and he attended St. Therese School.
Salvaty later attended Loyola High School, and then like his father before him, and children after him, the University of Notre Dame.
Salvaty’s children are lawyers, as was his father.
Paul Salvaty, a partner at O’Melveny & Meyers, said his father was an avid Notre Dame fan, “even through the tough years.” Kathleen Salvaty, an attorney with English, Munger & Rice, said she did not know a bigger Notre Dame football fan than her father.
She said he had a “Fightin’ Irish” footstool, drinking glasses, ear muffs, and a big Notre Dame banner hanging on the porch every football season. The elder Salvaty was also known for attending at least one home football game each year since he graduated in 1962.
Benjamin Salvaty attended the University of Southern California for law school, despite what Tevrizian called “the greatest rivalry of all time,” between that school and his beloved alma mater.
“We used to chide each other because I went to SC undergrad and we had this rivalry going that we’ve carried on since 1962,” Tevrizian recalled.
After graduating from law school, Salvaty began his law career at the California Department of Transportation, and then served in-house at Santa Fe Railways.
William M. Bitting, a partner at Hill, Farrer & Burrill, said that the elder Salvaty had built a reputation as a “top-notch trial attorney,” winning a “trifecta,” or three cases in one year, on behalf of the railroad.
“It’s hard for me to think of anyone who had a better reputation in the practice of law. Not just trial skills, but for honesty,” Bitting said. “… He had none of the nastiness that goes on in the practice of law that goes on today.”
Bitting said he invited Salvaty to the firm in 1990 when the railroad ceased operations in California. Salvaty joined the firm, and Bitting said he lived up to his reputation.
Another partner, Dean Dennis, said that Benjamin Salvaty was “widely respected and greatly loved by the lawyers in this firm.”
Dennis added: “It was a wonder how he managed to get any of his work done because every time I passed by there was always someone in his office talking to him.”
Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. called the elder Salvaty his “best friend” and said: “He was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.”
Paul Salvaty said:
“[My father] was such a gentleman. As a trial attorney, he always got along with opposing counsel in a way that you don’t always see and he was able to represent his clients and do the best job possible for them without animosity. I love that quality.”
The elder Salvaty was an active member of the Pasadena Bar Association, the Italian American Bar Association and the Irish American Bar Association. He lived in the city of San Marino for 41 years and was active in many San Marino civic groups.
He ran several marathons, and was an avid tennis player and occasional golfer, although Bitting said his golf game was “terrible.”
Benjamin Salvaty is survived by his wife of more than 43 years, Patricia Salvaty; by his children; and by five grandchildren and three sisters.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company