Claude Harlan Smart Jr.
Stockton - Claude Harlan Smart Jr. died peacefully in his sleep in Stockton, CA on November 11, 2020. He was 93. Claude was born in Tacoma, WA and raised in San Jose, California. The son of Claude Sr. and Alma Smart, he joined the US Army at the age of 17. Corporal Smart was proud to serve his country on the island of Hokkaido during the reconstruction of Japan at the end of World War II. He started college at San Jose State and would eventually earn a BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950, then his law degree at UCB, Boalt Hall in 1953. He was senior partner and instrumental in building the prominence of the Stockton law firm, Kroloff, Belcher, Smart, Perry & Christopherson. He practiced over 50 years as a civil defense trial attorney traveling throughout the central valley with an expertise in medical malpractice. He served as national president of the Defense Research Institute and was co-founder of the round table in Washington DC for the American Board of Trial Advocates. Claude was named Lawyer of the Year in San Joaquin County and was honored with the prestigious Law Day Award in 2004. He served as Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and as Senior Warden for St. John's Episcopal Church in Stockton.
He was an excellent tennis player and won many doubles tournaments at his favorite place to relax the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. He was an avid bay area sports fan, a lifelong Cal Bears booster, and had an amazing ability to recall statistics, players, and teams in all sports. He traveled the world with his beloved wife Barbara of 58 years and many dear friends. He was loved by many and respected by all. He is survived by wife Barbara and daughters Suzanne Morris, Joan Gibson, and son Stephen Smart; and grandchildren Mathew, Sarah, Claudia, Tyler, and Chile; and great grandson Alexander. A private memorial service will be held.
Published in The Record from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19, 2020.