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Ernest Benjamin Lageson


1932 - 2019
Ernest Benjamin Lageson Obituary
Ernest Benjamin Lageson
December 19, 1932-October 25-2019
Kensington, CA
Ernie died on October 25, 2019 from complications of cardiac arrest and a fall. He was born in Sharon, North Dakota, and grew up on Alcatraz Island (where his father worked as a corrections officer), San Francisco, and Pittsburg, CA. He was a graduate of Pittsburg High School, the University of California, Berkeley, and Boalt Hall School of Law. At Cal, he played football under the legendary coach, Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf. He also played rugby and was a member of Chi Psi fraternity. He served for two years in the United States Navy, aboard the destroyer USS John R. Craig, DD885, as First Division Officer, Assistant Gunnery Officer, and First Lieutenant.
Ernie worked as a prosecutor in the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office, as an associate and later a partner at Bronson, Bronson, and McKinnon in San Francisco, and as a named member of the Walnut Creek firm of Archer, McComas, & Lageson. As a nationally and internationally known civil defense trial attorney, his areas of expertise included product liability, general and commercial aviation crashes, legal and medical malpractice, trade libel, personal injury, wrongful death, commercial disputes, and construction defects. He was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Association of Defense Counsel, and the Defense Research Institute, serving as President in 1986, and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1987. He was also an accomplished legal teacher and writer, and his writings were published in legal journals and cited by the California Appellate Courts. Following his retirement in 1992, he served for many years as an arbitrator in private practice and for the Superior Courts of San Francisco and Contra Costa counties.
During his retirement years, Ernie enjoyed a second career as a writer, and had four books published. All related to his experiences living on Alcatraz; Battle at Alcatraz, Alcatraz Justice, The Other Alcatraz (with his wife Jeanne), and Guarding the Rock. For many years, Ernie appeared regularly on Alcatraz as the Guest Author, signing his books and sharing his knowledge of the island's history with the public.
While Ernie had many interests, including golf, history, reading, travel, and the aid and support he gave to the St. Vincent Society and the Carmelite Monastery in Kensington, the most important and lasting joy in his life was his family. The happiest moments in his life were when the family was together; during a holiday, the annual family Labor Day trip to Bodega Bay, or the many family birthday parties and dinners. In later years, he particularly enjoyed his role as "Papa" in the lives of his five grandchildren
Ernie is survived by his wife Jeanne, daughter Kristine Cardall (Charles), son Ernie III (Natalie), and grandchildren Beau and Anna Cardall, and Jacqueline, Caroline, and Ben Lageson. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Ernie enjoyed life to the fullest. He will be missed.


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Published in East Bay Times on Nov. 1, 2019
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