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Louis T. Fletcher, 103; Pioneer Trucker, Judge

November 15, 1996

Louis Tremble Fletcher, pioneer Southern California trucker who became a lawyer and Pasadena Municipal Court judge, has died. He was 103.

Fletcher died Sunday, his son Wesley said Thursday.

The elder Fletcher was appointed to the bench in 1958 by Gov. Goodwin Knight. In an unusual quirk of politics, he handed his seat to his son Daniel in 1966 so that he could run for election to the larger Los Angeles County Superior Court. He lost.

But the elder Fletcher continued to serve as a Pasadena city judge pro tem, sitting by appointment, until his retirement in 1977.

A native of Los Angeles, Fletcher lived much of his life in South Pasadena. He attended Polytechnic High School, but dropped out to work as an electrician's helper.

Fletcher became a pioneer in the trucking industry when his grandfather bought a one-ton Graham truck and Fletcher learned to drive it. Eventually named Service Motor Express, the trucking company expanded from local deliveries to long hauling and to supplying military bases during World War I. The company, which was the first to challenge a Southern California railroad monopoly, was sold in 1929 to Southern California Freight Lines.

Fletcher turned to the study of law at USC, where he earned a degree in 1932. He practiced law for 25 years before he became a judge.

His son Daniel died in 1989. In addition to his son Wesley, Fletcher is survived by a daughter, Marjorie Deniston, 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

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