Friday, July 20, 2001
Services Set for Superior Court Judge Ronald E. Cappai
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A funeral Mass is set for this afternoon for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Cappai, who died Tuesday after a long illness.
Cappai had been away from his Central Courthouse civil assignment since March 22 battling a kidney ailment. Friends say they had been hopeful of a full recovery until he suffered a stroke.
He was 60.
“He was probably one of the most energetic judges we had on the bench,” Presiding Judge James Bascue said of Cappai. “He always had a twinkle in his eye, always had a smile on his face.”
Judge David Minning called Cappai his mentor.
“When I was thinking of going on the bench I spoke to him, and he was very candid,” Minning said. “He told me about the good and the bad. But he said about being a judge, ‘I just love it.’ And he did.”
Minning and Cappai often carpooled, and Minning said he often used the occasions to seek advice from his friend about how to approach tough decisions.
“He was always willing to listen and give you his thoughts,” Minning said. “If I was a litigant, he was the judge I would want.”
Judge Larry Fidler, who played golf with Cappai, called his friend “one of the nicest guys I knew.”
“He always seemed so upbeat about everything,” Fidler said.
Cappai was well known around the courthouse for his gregarious demeanor and his love of the game “Aggravation.” He led a group of judges who played the marble-and-board game in the judges’ lounge.
They are known as the Marblers.
“He was one of the most able marble-players,” Bascue said. “He was very serious about his marbles.”
Cappai held a party each year to give out “marbling” awards.
“It was just a good way for the judges to break the tension and talk to each other,” Minning said.
Cappai was appointed to the bench in 1984 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. In the course of his 17-year judicial career he heard both criminal and civil cases, but spent the bulk of his tenure on the civil bench, reflecting the expertise he picked up as a practitioner.
On graduation from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1966 he went to work as a staff lawyer for Home Savings and Loan Association.
He became a prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in 1970, then established his own firm, Camusi & Cappai, in 1973.
He moved to the firm of Parker, Milliken, Clark, O’Hara & Samuelian in 1978.
Cappai was born in San Francisco on March 21, 1941.
He is survived by his wife Jane and three adult children.
A funeral mass will be held at 4 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1527 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena.
A reception at a private residence will follow.
In lieu of flowers, Cappai’s family asked that donations be sent to the Santa Clara University Alumni Family Scholarship Fund in memory of Judge Ronald E. Cappai, care of Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara 95053.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company