A memorial service and celebration of the life of U. S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, who died July 11 at age 80, was held Tuesday evening at Sacramento’s federal courthouse.
The event gave more than 400 of Karlton’s family, friends, colleagues and admirers an opportunity to gather in the cavernous rotunda of the courthouse, listen to remarks by an impressive group of speakers, and then, over drinks and oeur d’oeuvres, swap stories and reminisce about the life and times of an iconic figure in the community.
Karlton’s 26-year-old daughter, Emily Williams, delivered some of the most inspiring remarks. She assured the crowd that those who frequent the courthouse, as well as she and her mother, Sue Karlton, the judge’s widow, “have not lost him. He is in the walls.”
The speakers also included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, via video, Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice Cole Blease of Sacramento’s 3rd District Court of Appeal, Karlton’s best friend and former law partner.
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Williams and Hilary Abramson, a former neighbor of Karlton’s on the Garden Highway and former Bee reporter, remembered the judge as a father and friend rather than a legal scholar and passionate jurist with an outsized stature.
Karlton’s death followed by slightly more than nine months his retirement after 35 years on the federal bench in Sacramento. His reputation as a champion of disadvantaged individuals and a threatened environment went far beyond the boundaries of the Eastern District of California.
Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189