October 10, 1925 - January 2, 2014, Judge Frank J. Creede, Jr., loving husband and father, World War II veteran, prisoner of war, Superior Court judge, and legal scholar, went home to our Lord on January 2, 2014. Judge Creede had an extraordinary legal career, from his 22 years as an attorney during which he tried over 100 civil jury trials, through his exemplary service for over a quarter century as a judge of the Fresno County Superior Court. He loved the law and his family and friends, and he never met a stranger. Judge Creede was a stern, but fair jurist who showed respect for the process and all in his courtroom. He was a...
October 10, 1925 - January 2, 2014, Judge Frank J. Creede, Jr., loving husband and father, World War II veteran, prisoner of war, Superior Court judge, and legal scholar, went home to our Lord on January 2, 2014. Judge Creede had an extraordinary legal career, from his 22 years as an attorney during which he tried over 100 civil jury trials, through his exemplary service for over a quarter century as a judge of the Fresno County Superior Court. He loved the law and his family and friends, and he never met a stranger. Judge Creede was a stern, but fair jurist who showed respect for the process and all in his courtroom. He was a compassionate man with a great sense of humor, and a fervent supporter of the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Frank was born in San Francisco in 1925. After graduating from St.Ignatius High School and beginning his college studies at Stanford University, he interrupted his education at age 18 to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. Shortly after his 19th birthday, he was dispatched to Europe as a member of the 106th Army Infantry Division, 423rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, H Company, where he served in a heavy machine gun squad. Just two weeks after his arrival at Le Havre, France, the 106th Infantry Division was engaged by the German Army in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium's frozen Ardennes forest. Three days into the Battle, on December 19, 1944, the 423rd was surrounded and Frank was taken prisoner of war along with other surviving members of the Regiment. They were marched over 70 miles to Gerolstein, Germany, followed by four days in a railroad boxcar, before arriving at Stalag IX-B in Bad Orb, Germany, on Christmas Day, 1944. After enduring some of the worst conditions found in the Nazi Germany POW camps, Stalag IX-B was liberated on April 2, 1945. Frank was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received during his service. His parents, Frank J. Creede and Letitia Creede (nee Archambault), were unaware of his whereabouts or whether he was dead or alive until a few weeks before Stalag IX-B was liberated. He suffered significant weight loss and frost bite during his plight as a POW. After the war, Frank never wanted to see food wasted. Frank returned to the States and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford, followed by his law degree, cum laude, from University of San Francisco School of Law in 1950. He married Mary Edyth Lang of Oakland, CA on October 20, 1950. Admitted to the California Bar on January 11, 1951, he was associated with Keith, Creede and Sedgwick of San Francisco, opening its Fresno branch office in 1955 as the resident partner. In 1959, he left the firm and practiced alone until becoming a founding partner of Creede, Dawson & McElrath in 1961. The firm was subsequently renamed Creede, Dawson, Gíllaspy and Ninnis. Judge Creede was appointed to the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Fresno on February 6, 1973, by Governor Ronald Reagan. During his distinguished tenure, he served as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Master Calendar, Judge of the Appellate Department, Presiding Judge of Family Court, Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court, and Presiding Judge of the Superior Court. He presided over many high profile cases, including the Fresno County Jail overcrowding complaints, the Dana Ewell murder trial, and challenges to the Environmental Impact Report preliminary to the approval of construction of Bulldog Stadium, among others. He was re-elected to the Superior Court four times before his retirement in 1998, after which he continued to serve as a visiting judge in Fresno and many other California counties.
In addition to his service as a Superior Court judge, Frank served as a member of the Advisory Council on Child Abuse Prevention, Fresno County Law Library Board of Trustees, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate Management, and on the Boards of many other civic organizations the names of which can be viewed in the accompanying online tribute.
Among the many recognitions and awards presented to Judge Creede over his career was the Bernie E. Witkin Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Fresno County Bar Association, and the renaming of the Fresno County Law Library in his honor upon his "retirement" in 1998. Along with changing the name to the "Frank J. Creede Jr. Law Library," local attorney and sculptor Ed Marouk created a bronze bust of the Judge which is prominently displayed at the library to commemorate the event.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Nazareth House for their compassionate care of Frank.
Judge Creede was predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Mary Edyth Creede, in 1999, and by their eldest daughter, Laurel Loretta Creede, in 1995. Judge Creede is survived by his wife of 13 years, Patricia K. Creede; daughter Donna M. Cansino and husband Edward of Moraga; son Frank J. Creede, III and wife Janice of Rancho Santa Fe; son/attorney Mark L. Creede of Fresno; step-son Robert Supino and his wife Dena of Fresno; step-daughter Patty Draper and her son John Dexter Draper of Fresno; and by grandchildren Donald Scott Prosser of Clayton; Brooke Law and her husband Matthew of Bristol, England; Katie Barquet and her husband Emiliano of Bay Point; Erik Creede of Fresno; Stephanie Creede of Huntington Beach; and Kevyn, Natalie and Jack Creede of Rancho Santa Fe.
Visitation will be held at Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Funeral Home on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. followed by another visitation at The Shrine of St Therese Catholic Church from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. with a Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at The Shrine of St. Therese Catholic Church on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.
Entombment will be held Friday, January 10, 2014 at the San Carlos Cemetery in Monterey, CA.
The family requests that remembrances be sent to Sisters of Nazareth (Nazareth House of Fresno), Central California SPCA, The Shrine of St. Therese of Fresno, or Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Fresno County.