Thursday, August 30, 2001
Former Probate Commissioner Remembered as Gentle Jurist
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Friends and colleagues yesterday remembered retired Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Commissioner Robert J. Blaylock as an outgoing person who could keep court interesting.
Blaylock died of heart failure Saturday in Pasadena. He was 71.
“He was lively and full of pep,” Probate Attorney Dana Hopkins said. “He made sure the courtroom was never a cut and dried place.”
Hopkins, who appeared in front of Blaylock and later worked for him as a probate attorney, said Blaylock was an expert in his field who was always fair in his judgements.
Jim Birnberg, of counsel to Loeb & Loeb, remembered Blaylock’s gentle temperament and commitment to his work.
“He was gentle and he was concerned about all his cases,” Birnberg said. “He was considerate to counsel, but at the same time he knew how to keep his courtroom moving.”
“He was a wonderful man, a superb lawyer, and an outstanding jurist,” Darling Hall & Rae partner Matthew “Sandy” Rae said. “I felt he was my friend and I think a lot of lawyers felt he was their friend too.”
Born Feb. 14, 1930, the Los Angeles native studied history at UCLA and received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1958.
Admitted to the State Bar of California on Jan. 14, 1959, he practiced privately with the law firm of Latham & Watkins until the mid-1970s, specializing in probate, estates, trusts and related tax matters.
Blaylock was named a part-time state inheritance tax referee in 1968 by then-state Controller Houston Flournoy.
After two years as assistant supervising probate attorney, Blaylock was elected in 1980 by judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court to serve as probate commissioner.
He handled a heavy stream of civil probate cases dealing with disputes over wills and conservatorships for those no longer able to handle their business affairs.
In addition to serving as a probate commissioner, Blaylock also spent time as a family law and juvenile court commissioner.
He retired from the bench on June 17, 1998.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company