St Bede the Venerable
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La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
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Ralph Dau

1938 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Ralph Dau Obituary
February 27, 1938 - July 14, 2016 Ralph "Bud" Dau dies at 78; Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge and Former Litigator. Ralph W. Dau, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge and former partner with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, has died. He was 78. Surrounded by his family, Judge Dau died on Thursday in Los Angeles, bringing to a close a distinguished 50-year legal career. Born in Milwaukee to Ralph and Angie Dau, he was raised in Dallas, where his work ethic first made an appearance in elementary school with a paper route by bicycle before dawn. Through a Naval R.O.T.C. scholarship, he earned a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1959. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy and later promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade). He served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific as weapons officer until 1963, and saw duty off the coast of the Republic of China during the period when an invasion of Taiwan was threatened and with the first U.S. task force to patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin at the outset of the Vietnam War. Judge Dau received a law degree with Honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 1966, and was elected to Order of the Coif. He served on the board of editors of the Texas Law Review, and was its Comment Editor in 1965-1966. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966, followed by the California Bar in 1967. He spent almost 30 years in trial and appellate practice with O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, where he specialized in complex litigation with a focus on environmental law, insurance and constitutional litigation. He became a partner in 1974, organized and ran the firm's trial advocacy program from 1983 to 1991, and became the first chair of the firm's environmental law practice group in 1991. Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson, he served as a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge beginning in 1995, with the majority of his service in an unlimited civil trial department in the Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. In 1999, he was assigned by the Chairperson of the Judicial Council to sit Pro Tem on the Court of Appeal. He moved to a dedicated trial courtroom in 2015. Praised for his intellect, integrity and exhaustive approach to the pursuit of justice, Judge Dau handled thousands of cases in his courtroom, typically managing a case load of more than 300. Numerous affirmances by the appellate courts attest to the quality of his decisions. Upon learning of his death, his judicial colleagues described him as "a gentleman of the highest order," "a man of grace and dignity," "who served justice as a meticulous craftsman and as an exemplar of judicial virtue." Those close to him enjoyed Judge Dau's dry sense of humor, wit and mischievous nature. He was a voracious reader, and held a deep appreciation for classical music, regularly attending the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He enjoyed hiking in the Sierras with friends, skiing in Colorado with family, and sailing with anyone who was brave enough to climb aboard knowing they would be docking under sail. He was a member of the California Club. Judge Dau is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marilyn, their son Ramsey and daughter Sara Jones, and by his grandson Kevin Jones. He treasured his friends and family, who he considered to be "the joy of his life." A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 20 at 11:30 am at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Canada Flintridge. Cabot & Sons, Pasadena Directors
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 19, 2016
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