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Class Notes | Obituaries

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Showing obituaries submitted in last 6 months by graduates in 1958

1958

'58
John J. Collins

John Joseph Collins '58, 77, passed away on Dec. 26, 2013. He was born Dec. 13, 1936 in Los Angeles, Calif. John was a pillar of the legal community in Southern California from the time he passed the bar until his death. He was a former president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a former president of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, a former president of the Los Angeles County Bar, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He was a proud father, grandfather and a loving husband. John is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughters, Cynthia, Pamela and Lauren; sons, James, Robert, John and William. His daughter, Andrea predeceased him.

submitted Feb. 3, 2014 8:41A
UGRD Arts & Sciences '58
James Leininger

James Leininger '58 was a skillful Santa Clara County defense attorney, a crusader for social justice and a member of a family with deep roots in San Jose. But as a recovering alcoholic, he was known just as well for helping others emerge from the shoals of substance abuse -- be they lawyers, nurses, cops or Hells Angels.

Leininger, 78, of Gilroy, died March 19, 2014 of leukemia at Stanford Medical Center, where he had been undergoing an experimental treatment for his illness.
 
"He loved what he did, and what he did was to help people. And that's what made all the difference,'' said Jim Gleason, the executive director of the Santa Clara County Independent Defense Counsel Office.
 
As a lawyer, Leininger enjoyed taking the toughest cases, ones other lawyers shunned. In the 2010 trial of the men accused in the killing of Los Gatos restaurateur Mark Achilli, Leininger represented middleman Miguel Chaidez, who was accused of paying the triggerman.
 
"He was confident, but he wasn't arrogant,'' said his son, Michael Leininger. "He would dissect a jury and find the most appealing way to get to them.''
Leininger was a member of "The Other Bar,'' a confidential lawyers' recovery group. And he helped found the organization now known as We Care, which has helped more than 3,000 nurses with substance abuse problems.
 
For much of his 45-year career as an attorney, Leininger had to balance work with the demands of caring for his wife, Helen, who suffered from chronic illness. The two had met at the Sears store on San Carlos Street in San Jose, where both worked as clerks. Helen Leininger died in 2009.
 
Leininger was born at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose on January 23, 1936, the son of Carl Leininger, who became San Jose's city engineer, and Mary Leininger, a homemaker. The third of seven children, Leininger came from a family devoted to public service and social justice. A brother, William, was a Catholic priest. Another brother, Robert, became a ranking official in San Jose's redevelopment agency.
 
A 1958 graduate of Santa Clara University, Leininger worked in War on Poverty programs in the mid-'60s, graduated from Lincoln Law School and served as executive director of the Catholic Council on Social Justice.
In that job, he shamed the San Jose City Council into rejecting a bid from the Elks Club, which at the time discriminated against nonwhites, to sponsor a circus at the Civic Auditorium. Leininger pointed out to a wavering Councilman Norm Mineta, later a mayor and congressman, that he would not be able to join the Elks because of his Japanese descent.
 
Leininger is survived by his son, Michael, Gilroy; two daughters, Kelly Douglas, Los Gatos; and Trish Loughnane, Woodland Hills, and seven grandchildren.
submitted Mar. 24, 2014 12:22P
'58
Gordon Abbott

Gordon Abbott '58, July 12, 1930 - November 7, 2013. A resident of San Jose, Gordon Abbott passed away after a difficult and valiant battle with cancer. His family was paramount and he enjoyed participating in his children and grandchildren's activities. An ardent sports fan and active in the community, he was also well known for his political involvement. He served on the Campbell Union School District Board of Trustees from 1971 through 1982, the San Jose Council Salary Setting Commission from 1986-1994 and on the Governor's Advisory Board for the Agnew Development Center from 1998-2009. He also served on the Santa Clara County G.O.P Central Committee from 1958-1963 and 1994-2005, earning the nickname "Mr. Republican".
Gordon was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Issaquah High School, Issaquah, WA and earned a degree in Business from Santa Clara University. He was an accountant and served as a corporate finance officer for several small businesses over his career.

Gordon is survived by his loving wife, Mayme, devoted children Gordon Abbott of San Ramon, Philip Abbott of Dallas, TX and Wendy Abbott Sarsfield '83 of San Francisco, Daughters-in-law Holly Mueller Abbott of San Ramon and Tracy Driscoll Abbott of Dallas, TX and grandchildren Matthew and Nicholas Abbott of San Ramon, Sydney, Maggie and Jeffrey Abbott of Dallas, TX and Patrick and Megan Sarsfield of San Francisco.
 
submitted Nov. 15, 2013 3:17P

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