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A. Bray, Former Appeal Court Chief, Dies

January 03, 1987

Absalom F. Bray, presiding judge of the California Court of Appeals from 1959 to 1964 and a veteran of 70 years in the legal profession, died at his home in Martinez Thursday. He was 97.

He formally retired from the appellate court in 1964, after 17 years, but remained active as a judge for an additional 19 years, working on a part-time basis until 1983.

Shortly before his retirement he presided over the Commission of Judicial Qualifications when it forced the retirement of 10 state judges after receiving complaints of questionable conduct and held hearings on the qualifications of two others. The hearings were the first ever held by the then four-year-old commission.

In 1976 he was given the University of California Medal as the outstanding living alumnus of Hastings College of Law, from which he graduated in 1910.

Born in Butte, Mont., Bray attended Tamalpais Military Academy in San Rafael and worked in a copper mine to pay his way through UC Berkeley.

He became an assistant district attorney in Contra Costa County in 1914 and was later city attorney for Concord for four years.

In 1936 he became a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge. In 1946 he was named to the state appellate court and became presiding judge in 1959.

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