William Paxton Cary (March 31, 1882 - September 22, 1943)

Presiding Justice, May 13, 1930 - December 31, 1930

William Paxton Cary served as the second Presiding Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. He was born in New York City on March 31, 1882. He attended Cornell University, graduating in 1904 with a bachelor of arts degree. He went to Butte, Montana where he engaged in mining work before obtaining his law degree in 1906. Upon being admitted to the Bar, he practiced law there until he moved to San Diego on January 1, 1914, where he continued his law practice. In 1917, he answered the Nation's call to arms; attended the Second Officers Training Camp at the Presidio of San Francisco; was commissioned as an infantry First Lieutenant; reported for duty at Camp Fremont; and was assigned to the Eighth Infantry. In 1918, he was promoted to Captain and served as company commander of Company H, Eighth Infantry, in France until the end of the war the following year. Upon his return, he continued to practice law until January 11, 1921, when Governor Stephens appointed him judge of the San Diego County Superior Court. Six years later, he left the bench to resume the trial lawyer role that he so much cherished. He was a founding partner of the law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames & Driscoll in 1927. Upon the death of Presiding Justice William A. Sloane in April 1930, Governor C.C. Young asked Judge Cary to serve as Presiding Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. He declined. Later, he accepted the appointment on May 8, 1930, to serve through the remainder of that year and took the oath five days later. He then returned to trial work until 1939 when pneumonia forced him to discontinue it. Extremely active in the community, Presiding Justice Cary served as president of the San Diego County Bar Association and chairman of the San Diego Red Cross. He died of a heart attack at his Point Loma home on September 22, 1943.

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