A Eulogy to Judge Lemmon

by Hon. Sherrill Halbert

Chief Judge Goodman, my Brothers, members of the family and friends: We are met here today, the members of the Court and those of you who have come here to share this occasion with us, to pay a solemn and well deserved tribute to one of the finest gentlemen that it has ever been my privilege to know. Because of my close and intimate association with him on this Bench, I hope you will forgive me if I speak to you through my eyes alone and not through the eyes of the public.

When I came to this Court, Judge Lemmon was ill; a price that he had paid for being too diligent in his work as a judge of this Court. Ill as he was, he saw to it that the moment that my appointment was publicly announced, word was sent to me congratulating me and offering me any service that he could render to me.

On the occasion that I took my oath of office he was not able to be present, but he wrote me a heart-warming letter, which left me with a feeling that here is a true friend who will last for all time, whether he or I shall first depart this earth.

From day to day, after he was able to return to his work here, he greatly enriched my life, and made it better for me with his encouragement, his advice, and on occasion his comfort.

I cannot tell you how distressed I am these days when morning comes and I must go on the Bench without Judge Lemmon having walked through my chambers and made a jovial quip or passed a few words of greeting to me.

He was a good man; he was a great judge; and best of all, he was a wonderful friend.

So long as I live I shall never forget Dal Lemmon. To me, he was an inspiration. In him I saw a hope that one day I might achieve a standing in the community equal to his; a standing as a judge equal to his; and a standing as a citizen of these United States of ours equal to his. A realization of this hope would certainly leave me with the feeling that I had done well, indeed. Anyone who follows in the footsteps of Dal Lemmon can walk proudly knowing that he is living an exemplary life.

We mourn his loss. But how proud, how pleased, and how happy we are that we had the time that we did have with him. We are all better men and better women because Dal Lemmon was with us.

It was a great and good experience to have Dal Lemmon as a fellow citizen, a judicial associate and a friend. I am grateful to the Eternal God that this wonderful privilege was afforded to me for as long as it was.

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2003 United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Historical Society.