In Memory

John G Gabbert - Class Of 1927

John Gordon Gabbert, retired lawyer, Superior Court Judge and California Appellate Court Justice, a kind, compassionate and lucky man, passed away at his Riverside home on December 9, 2013 at the age of 104. Born on June 20, 1909, in Oxnard, California, to Elizabeth Gordon Gabbert and John Raymond Gabbert, his family, including younger sister Jane, moved to Riverside in 1912 when his father purchased a half-interest in the Riverside Enterprise newspaper. John attended Magnolia, Grant, and Poly High, graduating from South Pasadena High School in 1927 and from Riverside Junior College in 1929, where he was student body president. He graduated from Occidental College in 1931 and attended Duke Law School for a year before transferring to UC Berkeley Law School, graduating in 1934.

John began private practice of law in Riverside, ultimately joining the firm which became Best, Best, Gabbert & Krieger. John enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1944 and served in the Criminal Investigation Division in New Guinea and the Philippines. In 1949 he was appointed a Riverside Superior Court judge and served there for 21 years until his appointment to the California District court of Appeal in 1971. After retirement from the DCA in 1975 he taught for three years as an adjunct professor at UCR, teaching legal research and writing. He was one of the original organizers of the Citizens University Committee which successfully brought a campus of the University of California to Riverside. John loved Riverside and served on many community boards, including as president of Riverside Unified School Board, Downtown Lions Club, Present Day Club, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Riverside County Bar Association and CUC. In retirement he was active in the Riverside Men's Breakfast Forum and LIFE Society.

John's dear wife, Kay Fuller Gabbert, passed away in 1999 at age 83, and his sister, Jane Sanders, passed away in 2011 at the age of 100. He is survived by his children, Scott Gabbert and Katie Smith of Riverside, Sara Schmerl of Tucson; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a niece and four nephews. John had many hobbies and interests:  debating, antique motorcycles, photography, ham radio (K6GCV), public speaking, local history, and reading. He loved his family and friends, motorcycles and the natural world.

The Press-Enterprise, December 13, 2013