Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Services Today for Court Commissioner Ralph Amado
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services are scheduled today for Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Ralph A. Amado, who died Sunday at the age of 68.
Judge Stephanie Sautner, site judge of the Airport Courthouse where Amado sat for several years, said his colleagues were “really devastated” by his sudden passing due to complications arising from the amputation of one of his legs about 10 days ago.
The commissioner “just had a very, very hard time this past year, and I guess his body gave out,” Sautner remarked.
Amado suffered from diabetes, underwent open heart surgery last August, broke his hip in December and lost his other leg in May, Sautner said. “But he struggled to overcome every single adversity, and kept a positive outlook as each new thing happened to him,” Sautner recalled.
He was scheduled to return to work this week, and “he was really looking forward to coming back,” his colleague explained.
While on the bench, Amado routinely handled over 200 matters a day, but still “took time to talk to defendants and attorneys…and everybody knew that their side had at least been heard,” Sautner said. The jurist went on to praise Amado as “one of the kindest and wisest bench officers I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Retired Superior Court Judge Kenneth Chotiner commented that Amado, a friend for over 30 years, was “a very special person,” opining that the phrase “he was a mensch” was an accurate summation of Amado’s life.
“He was brilliant, caring, studious, fun-loving, and had a very strong work ethic,” Chotiner said. When they spoke after Amado’s heart bypass surgery last year, Chotiner recalled “all [Amado] could talk about was getting back to work.”
Amado’s wife, appellate practitioner Honey Amado, described her husband as someone who “devoted his life to…law, respected what law could do, and respected the need for a just society and a society based on laws.”
His dedication to the legal field was manifested by one of his hobbies, which was collecting scales, Honey Amado said. She disclosed that her husband had several hundred in his courtroom and at their home, and attended scale conventions with other collectors.
He also collected stamps, and spent much time working on his collection while recuperating from his medical treatments, Honey Amado said.
His other hobbies included reading, especially “action stuff,” like mysteries and detective stories, she added. The couple jokingly disparaged the genre as “junk literature,” but his reading provided him with a wealth of trivia knowledge, his wife said.
“He knew so many things, and I’d say ‘How did you know that?’ and he’d say ‘Junk literature,’ ” she recalled.
The commissioner also “loved sports,” his wife said. He traveled “all over” the western and central states with his eldest daughter’s softball team and went to every USC football game “for years,” she noted.
Ralph Amado earned his undergraduate degree from USC in 1964 before attending law school at the University of San Fernando College of Law. After he gained admission to the State Bar in 1969, Amado spent seven years as a deputy Los Angeles city attorney then went into private practice.
Los Angeles Municipal Court judges elected him a commissioner in 1988. He was one of the original judicial officers at the Airport Courthouse, which opened in 1999, and became a Superior Court commissioner through unification in 2000.
Amado and his family have a long history of involvement in the Jewish community and religious organizations. His Turkish émigré grandfather was a founder of what would ultimately become Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, and Amado served as president of the temple in 1993. The temple’s main sanctuary is named after his uncle, Maurice Amado, who established the Maurice Amado Foundation in 1961 to support Sephardic endeavors.
Honey Amado said her husband “was able to do a lot of philanthropy” through the foundation, which included supporting kidney research at Cedars-Sinai hospital and funding the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Burial is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Home of Peace Memorial Park, located at 4334 East Whittier Boulevard, in Boyle Heights, with a mourner’s meal following at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, 10500 Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles.
Amado is survived by his wife and their three children; Jessica, Micah and Gabrielle Amado.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company