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Gardner, Robert 1911–2005

Gardner, Robert 1911–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 27, 1911, in Arlington, WA; died August 27, 2005, in Corona del Mar, CA. Lawyer, judge, justice of the peace, and author. Gardner was a longtime judge in California who gained an appreciative audience for his frank and witty court opinions. As a young man, he initially wanted to work as a forest ranger, but he followed his mother's advice and instead studied law at the University of Southern California. After earning his law degree in 1935, Gardner was admitted to the Bar of California the following year; he then began a private law practice. His early success as a defender led to his being hired by the Orange County district attorney in 1936, and two years later he was appointed to the bench of the Newport Beach Municipal Court. After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II, Gardner was appointed superior court justice in Orange County, a job he held from 1947 until 1970. Governor Ronald Reagan then named him to the 4th District Court of Appeals in San Bernardino, and he retired from the bench in 1982. The U.S. Department of the Interior then requested that he move to American Samoa to serve as the chief justice in Pago Pago. Gardner held this post for the next three years. From 1985 until his final retirement in 2000, he assisted the Orange County court system by serving as a private judge who presided over out-of-court settlements. While serving as a judge and justice, Gardner was known for his quotable pronouncements, a number of which regularly appeared in the Santa Clara Law Review column "A Gallery of Gardner." An avid surfer, Gardner also published the book The Art of Body Surfing (1972). His second book, Bawdy Balboa (1992), was about his childhood.



Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2005, p. B11.


Orange County Register Online, (August 29, 2005).

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