Born June 25, 1931, during the Depression to a struggling Catholic family in the Irish Ghetto of Flushing, Long Island, N.Y., Bill Masterson felt blessed to spend his last years overlooking the mountains of Idyllwild and the ocean of Mendocino from his beautiful home. Before his full retirement, Bill and his wife Julie enjoyed 17 years living literally on the border of San Marino and Pasadena in their English cottage on Old Mill Road.
Bill’s rise to success in life was no accident. He won scholarships, while working full-time, to Loyola High School and to UCLA, where he was a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship in 1951-1952. After serving as a drill instructor in the U. S. Army for two years, Bill continued his education at UCLA Law School, graduating in the class of 1958.
Bill’s peers describe his law career as nothing short of brilliant. He was a business trial lawyer for close to 30 years, practicing as a partner in three major law firms, including Skaddan, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. In 1988 Bill began his many years on the bench, and he felt his biggest contribution to the law was as a judge. He served on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, hearing both civil and criminal cases, until he was elevated to Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal. Before retiring completely, Bill worked as a private judge resolving disputes through arbitration.
Born under the astrological sign of Cancer, Bill was devoted to his home and family. For 40 years he showered his wife Julie with love, bringing her coffee and oatmeal in bed every day and toasting her as “the girl of my dreams who became the love of my life” at every possible occasion.
A natural-born father, he adored his four children, Mark, Mary, Tim and Barbara. Parenting was a joy, from bedtime stories as he tucked them in at night, to wise counsel and unflagging support as they grew up. Being the only member of his family to go to college, Bill deeply valued the power of a good education and made sure his children and four grandchildren, Patrick, Meghan, Finian and Rory, would have the same opportunity for higher education. He took great pride that, like him, each of his children went on to build successful careers after graduation.
Suffering from incurable cancer for over a year, his only regret was that he would not live to see his grandchildren make their way in the world. He died March 11, 2014. He will be deeply missed by all his family and the wide circle of friends and associates whose lives he touched. God bless, my darling.
Honoring His Honor at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 12, a Celebration of Life, The California Club, 538 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, 2-3-622-1391, www.californiaclub.org.
Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to The Bishop Goodan Home, 191 N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101, www.goodancenter.org/bishop-goodan-home.html
or Loyola High School, 1901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006, www.loyolahs.edu.