Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Graceful Parting

Judge Joseph Lodge (1932-2008), a pillar of the local criminal justice system, passed yesterday. He was the longest seated judge then on the bench in California (49+ years!). I knew him to be a highly intelligent and creative thinker, with a keen and personalized sense of justice who possessed a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, including medicine, psychology and, specifically, drug addiction. You never knew exactly what to expect from him on the bench, and I believe that's the way he wanted it. I thought I would publish the obituary he wrote himself, because I certainly can't say it any better than he can...and, what's more, he wouldn't want me to write it...of that, I am 100% certain!:

As fits with my character, I have written my own obituary. I was born February 21, 1932, in St. Paul, MN, and now I have died in Santa Barbara, CA. My peace in life was my wife, Sheila, and my dear children.
My journey, from my 1950’s days as a philosophy major at the University of Michigan, has been the exploration of all the great cosmic questions surrounding our lives. For some years I have felt at peace with the answers and insights I have found. I wish I could pass them on to those I love. It cannot be done. Each of us must find our own pathway through the density and darkness to at last find that you are "back in Kansas", standing where you were, so to speak, with everything so clear and obvious as to make you even question whether in fact you did "journey”.

I now end this with a deliberate (and important) misquote from Dylan Thomas -- I "DO go gentle into that good night".

1 comment:

bill said...

I would also like to add that Judge Lodge was an excellent Professor. His class was one both entertaining and informative. He provided singular insights into the workings of the judiciary by allowing students a behind the scenes look in his chambers and into his legal decision making process. I will never forget either his stories or my visits to his courtroom. God Speed.