Hon. Judge Kirk Gustafson died peacefully in his home on July 23rd 2019 in Willits, California at the age of 74.
Kirk is survived by his children, Ari and Nils, his Grandchildren Sam and Ronin and his ex-wives Robin and Joyce.
Kirk was born on November 6th 1944 in Pennsylvania to Alvin Gustafson (a WWII Marine Raider Medic) and Ruth Tilstrom (a School Teacher). He graduated from Stanford with a degree in Law and became a Lawyer, 1st Circuit Superior Court Judge for the State of California and then a Superior Court Judge for Mendocino County before retiring.
Kirk was an accomplished fisherman, fan of Bob Dylan, ping pong player and often opened his home for community events. He was a generous individual who loved people and who was passionate about giving them a second chance. He was an active and dedicated member of the community and often donated to the local community as well as international charities. Kirk also had a wonderful sense of humor and tried to make people smile and laugh in the most dire of times. He brought happiness and hope to many of us and will be missed greatly.
A memorial is scheduled for August 24th 2pm-7pm at the Willits Art Center. Friends and colleagues are welcome to attend and celebrate Kirk's life. Bring a dish or appetizer to share. The family would like to thank Phoenix Hospice for supporting them in bringing Kirk home. Memorial information can be obtained at (415)680-5465.
Published by The WillitsNews from Aug. 17 to Sep. 15, 2019.
I've known two truly kind people in my life, he was the first.
April 6, 2020
In 1995, when I came into conflict with the local office of the United States Postal Service, objecting to the intimidating treatment towards the women employees by the management, I sued and encountered retaliation that is unlawful under the Civil Rights Act. In a struggle to attain justice and also keep my livelihood I asked Kirk to write a character reference. He wrote a lengthy praise-laden letter, recalling in detail events as far back as 1973 when we both assisted the creation of a co-op nursery for children. He also assured me that it would hurt the management's legal position if they fired me on pretextual grounds. Eventually the case (Ray v. Henderson) went to the 9th circuit court of appeals and became a precedent in the field of guaranteeing the protection of employees from retaliation for asserting their legal rights. It was noted and its precedent language preferred by the United States Supreme Court on a 9-0 vote in 2006. I owe a debt to Kirk's memory for his personal support and his fidelity to the cause of justice.