John Appel
Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home
870 San Benito St.
Hollister, CA
John Whitman Appel Resident of Hollister Larger than life in both the courtroom and at his ranch, John Whitman Appel passed away peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 13, 2013 at the age of 85. John leaves behind his adoring daughter Patricia and his grandchildren John Anderson, Dasha Valerio Appel and James Anderson. He is also survived by his devoted brother, Cyril Appel, and his nieces and nephews, Susie Foster, Alison Knight, Lisa and John Appel. John was a native San Franciscan born on March 19th, 1928. He was the son of Margaret Whitman Appel and Cyril Appel, a well-known member of the San Francisco Bar who was a senior member of the successful law firm Appel, Lieberman and Leonard. In 1950, John graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He remained throughout his life a devoted fan of the CAL Bears! After graduation, John entered Hastings College of Law for his legal training, but within a year and a half, joined the Army. Upon his discharge from the Army, he registered at Golden Gate College Law School where he received an LL.B in 1955. After graduation, he decided to practice law in San Jose instead of San Francisco; taking a gamble on the potential of the area as well as listening to his intuition. In 1958, John became one of the founding attorneys of the firm Hoge, Fenton, Jones and Appel and was as comfortable handling complicated legal cases as he was roping steers, fishing, riding horses, hunting, playing the piano and cooking. Since 1964, he lived at his ranch in Paicines, CA with his wife Mary Jo Appel. His dear wife, Mary Jo, passed away in January, 2011, but John continued to live on their beloved ranch until his passing. John's passion for organic ranching and farming was well ahead of his time and he repeatedly raised the most desirable beef in the valley. His sense of humor and consummate jocularity have greatly enriched everyone's lives along with his compassion, generosity and kindness. This remarkable man will be greatly missed by his family and all who had the pleasure and good fortune to know him. An intimate memorial service will be held in January of 2014. His family requests that memorial donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: or c/o Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home, 870 San Benito St., Hollister, CA 95023. To send condolences visit
Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 20, 2013.
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Funeral services provided by:
Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home
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John was the consummate lawyer, but beyond that he was a gentleman and a credit to the Profession. I opposed John as a lawyer and had him appear in my Court many times. He treated friend and foe alike, with dignity. He will be missed.
Justice Edward A. Panelli, Ret.
December 20, 2013
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