Distinguished Lawyer Memorial Honoree


Hon. Paul Overton

Known for his cordiality and consistency, Paul E. Overton’s was a much-loved father and husband, respected lawyer and judge and committed to his country and community. Before his appointment to the bench in 1973 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, Judge Overton specialized in eminent-domain litigation for the San Diego law firm Jennings, Engstrand & Henrikson. He joined the firm after 12 years in the legal division of the California Division of Highways. During an era of rampant highway construction, he represented the state in condemnation cases involving privately owned land. Judge Overton joined the department's San Diego office in 1957 as its managing attorney and later argued a case involving the rights of way of railroads before the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Overton served on the executive board of the California Judges Association from 1982 to 1985 and on the California Judges Foundation's board of directors from 1988 to 1991. At his parish, College Lutheran Church, he held many leadership posts during two decades. For more than 30 years, he supported California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, where in 1998 Overton Hall was named in his honor. Two of his daughters attended the school, and he served in 1972 as vice president of the Cal Lutheran Parents Association. Judge Overton, a native of Jacksonville, Ill., joined the Navy during World War II after graduating from high school. He attended several colleges while being groomed for officer duty and served at the end of the war aboard the aircraft carrier San Jacinto. After leaving the Navy in 1946 as a lieutenant junior grade, Judge Overton married Naomi Fredrickson and enrolled at the University of Southern California on the GI Bill. He earned a bachelor's degree in business in 1949 and graduated in 1952 from law school, where he served as associated student body president.