Rollin McLaughlin Laird Obituary


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Rollin McLaughlin Laird
September 8, 1880 - April 20, 1929
Obituary - Bakersfield, CA

Was Preparing for Auto Drive With Wife as Affliction Hits
Superior Courts Close in Tribute to Former City Attorney

Judge Rollin Laird of the Kern county Superior Court, a resident of Bakersfield since childhood, former city attorney here, and during his private law practice one of the most prominent legal authorities of the state, died suddenly Sunday afternoon at his home, 217 H Street. He was 48 years old.
The judge was preparing to go for a motor drive with Mrs. Laird when he suffered a heart attack and passed away within a few moments. His death followed a severe illness which had its inception in December of last year, shortly after he had been elected to the Superior Court judgeship, but for the past several weeks he had been convalescing and it was believed that he was well on the road to recovery.
Courts Adjourned
R. B. Lambert, presiding judge of the Superior Court, at the conclusion of the law and motion calendar proceedings today, adjourned the Kern county courts in memory of Judge Laird and caused the following resolution, which he wrote, to be spread upon the minutes:
"Whereas Judge Laird had been an active and honored member of this bar for many years and had recently taken his place upon the bench in this county, and
"Whereas, he was a valued member of the profession, always kindly, considerate and cheerful, and
"Whereas, in his passing the judiciary has lost an able member, a good citizen and his acquaintances, and neighbors a true and faithful friend and his family a good and devoted husband and father,
"Now, therefore, it is ordered that when the court adjourns today it do adjourn out of the memory of Judge Laird.
"It is further ordered that this order be spread at large upon the minutes of the court."
The death of Judge Laird leaves but two departments of the Kern Superior Court operating, and necessitates appointment of a judge to fill the vacancy. The appointment will be made by Gov. C. C. Young.
Followed Father
Mr. Laird was a native of California, born at Independence in September of 1881. He was the son of J. W. P. Laird, former district attorney of Kern County, who came here when Rollin Laird was 12 years of age.
After attending the University of Washington, Mr. Laird attended the Valparaiso, Indiana, law school, from which he was graduated in 1909. He was admitted to the bar of Indiana and in Los Angeles during the same year, and then came to this city, where for a time he was associated in the law profession with Attorney Fred Borton.

Obituary of Rollin McLaughlin Laird, cont.
In 1911, he was elected as city attorney of Bakersfield, and in 1913 while serving as city attorney and attorney for the Kern County Land Company, he became associated with Attorney William Beaizley, now attorney for the land company.
Del Norte Prosecutor
In 1915, due to the ill health of Mrs. Laird, he moved to Crescent City, county seat of Del Norte County, where he entered the law practice and resided for five years, gaining such widespread popularity and reputation that he was elected as district attorney of Del Norte County.
After serving for one term, he and Mrs. Laird returned to Bakersfield, and he formed a partnership with Atty. Rowen Irwin, which was maintained for several years.
Mr. Laird was elected judge of the Superior Court here after a spirited contest in November of 1928.
In addition to his widow, Mrs. Grace Devine Laird, with whom he was united in marriage in 1912, he is survived by two children, Frances, 14*, and Rollin Philip Laird, 11**.
Officer of Elks
Mr. Laird was a prominent and active member of the Elks lodge, having been a member of that organization since 1912, and at the time of his death, was serving as district deputy exalted ruler of the central California district. Mr. Laird also was a past exalted ruler of Bakersfield Lodge, No. 226, B.P.O.E. Elks, having served as exalted ruler during 1923, the year in which the organization's local club building was dedicated.
Elks funeral rites will be conducted at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning at the Elks Club here by officers of the Bakersfield lodge. Active pallbearers will be selected from among the members of the purple Guard drill team. Honorary pallbearers will be Judge R. B. Lambert, Judge Erwin W. Owen, City Attorney E. F. Brittan, and Attorneys F. E. Borton, Rowen Irwin, Allan B. Campbell, and C. V. Anderson.
Supervisors Express Regret of County
Supervisors J. O. Hart, W. R. Woollomes and Perry Brite have been appointed a committee to prepare a resolution honoring the name of Judge Rollin Laird, who died here Sunday afternoon. The resolution will be presented for formal adoption at the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
When the board adjourned today it did so in memory of Judge Laird, who heard his last case last week in Department No. 1 of the Superior Court.

* This should read 15. Frances Laird, born April 20, 1914.
** This should read 12. Rollin P. Laird, born October 16, 1916.

Rollin McLaughlin Laird
September 8, 1880 - April 20, 1929
Obituary - Bakersfield, CA


BAKERSFIELD (Kern County) April 22, 1929
Sudden death took its toll of another life in Kern County yesterday, when Judge Rollin Laird, 49* succumbed from heart attack. He was at home with his family and the tragic end came unexpectedly shortly after 2 P.M., while he was in the kitchen.
The judge was suffering from after effects of an attack of influenza, but for the past month had been presiding in his department of the superior court of this county. Yesterday morning he was feeling unusually well, and so stated in conversation. He had not complained of any disability during the day, but had worried over the accident in which his 11** year old son had broken his arm while at play on Saturday.
The death came as a great shock to the wife and family, and also to a wide circle of friends in the city.
No Inquest to be Held
The body was taken to Payne and Son Mortuary, pending funeral arrangements. It was said that an inquest would not be required, as Dr. G. C. Sabichi was Judge Laird's physician, and had been in attendance for the past several months.
Judge Laird was a native of Inyo County, born on September 8, 1880. He was a past exalted ruler of Bakersfield Elks Lodge, and a deputy exalted ruler for this district at the time of his death. He was also a member of the Bakersfield Aerie of Eagles, and a member of the Exchange Club in this City. His father was Judge J. W. P. Laird, deceased, who was a lawyer and prominent in the San Joaquin Valley during the nineties.
In the November election last Fall Laird was elected to the superior judgeship, succeeding Howard A. Peairs, retired. Owing to a collapse following an attack of influenza, he was confined to the hospital for several weeks following his election, and since the first of the year had been convalescing, presiding in his department only during the last month.
Had Been City Attorney
Before his elevation to the bench Laird had served as city attorney in Bakersfield, being elected to this post in 1911, two years after his graduation from Valparaiso, Indiana Law School. Later he was district attorney in Del Norte County, returning here in 1920 after an absence of about five years.
Many important cases were handled by Attorney Laird before his elevation to the bench, including litigation against the Watterson Brothers and their insolvent banks in Inyo County in which he represented ranchers, stockmen and mining men, in an effort to protect the interest of depositors and claimants. In his elevation to the judgeship, however, Laird had won the pinnacle to which he had aspired. He had a premonition, it was said, that he would not live through his term and had so expressed himself.

Obituary of Rollin McLaughlin Laird, cont.
Led Bench Candidates
Judge Laird came of pioneer stock, and he was widely known among the pioneers of Kern and Inyo Counties. In the Fall primaries he was leader in a race with four opponents seeking the judgeship. In the runoff at the general election he won by a large majority against W. A. McGinn, deputy district attorney. His death leaves a vacancy, which may be filled by Governor C. C. Young.
Besides the widow, Mrs. Grace D. Laird, he is survived by a daughter, Frances, 14*** and a son, Rollin, Jr., age 11**** years. Mrs. Laird is a sister of Mrs. P. A. Klipstein, and the bereaved family is at the Klipstein home in this city pending the funeral arrangements.

* This should be 48.
** This should be 12.
*** This should be 15.
**** This should be 12.