Frank Creede Jr. was the kind of judge who always put his best effort into everything he did, colleagues said, a man who regularly wrote long court decisions for small civil cases and big criminal trials alike.
In his 25 years as a Fresno County Superior Court judge, he regarded "every case as important" and "his integrity was matched only by his work ethic," they said.
On Jan. 2, Judge Creede died from what the family believes was natural causes.
The decorated World War II veteran, a prisoner of war during the Battle of the Bulge, wasn't the kind of person to take things for granted.
Judge Creede "was absolutely convinced that every day was a gift," said U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill, who will read the eulogy at the funeral this week.
Judge Creede worked in law in Fresno for close to half a century, first as a lawyer for more than 20 years. He was appointed as a Fresno judge by Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1973, then was re-elected four times. He participated in more than 200 jury trials, including many high-profile cases.
Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Stephen Kane said he has difficulty coming up with anyone who loved the bench more than Judge Creede.
And, Kane added, "He was not one of these people who used his seniority to get preferred assignments or cases he liked to hear. … He was a perfect soldier."
Upon his retirement in 1998, the Fresno County Law Library was renamed for him.
He was very involved with volunteering in Fresno and received numerous awards and honors throughout his life. He was humble, friends and family said, a man who drove an old 1959 Ford truck to work late into his career and who "cared more about other people than himself."
Throughout his career, he served as a presiding judge many times, including presiding over the Fresno County Superior Court.
"He believed that people were basically good and sometimes good people do bad things, and he believed in consequences," said son Mark Creede, who works as a Fresno lawyer. "Though he believed in consequences, he firmly believed in second chances and rehabilitation … (and) in equal justice for everyone."
O'Neill said he had a "marvelous sense of humor," didn't have a "phony bone" in his body and was a dedicated friend.
"He would always act as though it was a privilege to help you," O'Neill said. "He really was an all-around spectacular individual. … He cared deeply about people."
Frank J. Creede Jr.
Occupation: retired Fresno judge
Born: Oct. 10, 1925
Died: Jan. 2, 2014
Survivors: Wife, Patricia Creede; daughter, Donna Cansino of Moraga; sons Frank Creede III of Rancho Santa Fe and Mark Creede of Fresno; stepchildren Robert Supino and Patty Draper of Fresno; and eight grandchildren.
Preceded in death: Wife Mary Creede and daughter Laurel Creede.
Services: Visitation from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Whitehurst Chapel, 1525 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno, followed by rosary service. Funeral service 10 a.m. Thursday at The Shrine of St. Therese Catholic Church, 855 E. Floradora Ave., Fresno.
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