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Lowell Turrentine, retired Stanford law school professor, dead at 96

STANFORD --Lowell Turrentine, a professor for 32 years at Stanford Law School, died Jan.18 at his retirement residence, Channing House, in Palo Alto. He was 96.

Active well into his 90s, Turrentine died peacefully after several recent illnesses.

Turrentine, who retired from the Stanford Law School faculty in 1961, held the title of Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law, Emeritus.

As a law teacher, he shepherded generations of students through courses on wills, trusts, legal ethics and other subjects.

Turrentine's most noted legal publication is the book Cases and Text on Wills and Administration (second edition, 1962).

He also was the coauthor, with then Stanford Law School Dean Marion Rice Kirkwood, of the first two volumes of California Annotations to Restatement of Property (1940). The third and fourth volumes, published in 1950, were prepared solely by Turrentine.

At a banquet in Turrentine's honor in 1980, William T. Keogh, a Stanford adjunct professor (now emeritus), said: "Lowell Turrentine must be regarded as the very prototype of the gentleman; he has always been considerate yet steely. While he never failed to show deference, he never failed to command respect."

The son of a Methodist minister, Turrentine was born on Sept. 28, 1895, in Liberty, N.Y.

Turrentine received his undergraduate degree in 1917 from Princeton University with an outstanding record in languages, mathematics and the social sciences.

After a brief period in government service in Washington, D.C., as a translator of French and German, he enlisted in the Air Corps, serving from 1918 to 1919.

He enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1919, was a member of the board of editors of Harvard Law Review and graduated with honors in 1922.

He was admitted to practice in the states of Ohio (1922), New York (1927) and California (1929).

Turrentine began the practice of law in 1922 in Cleveland with the firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.

In 1924 and 1925, he was involved in the prosecution of the Elk Hills and Teapot Dome scandal as assistant to the U.S. Special Counsel, Atlee Pomerene and Owen J. Roberts (who later became a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).

Turrentine spent the years 1925 to 1928 in New York City with the law firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland.

He then returned to Harvard as a research fellow to do graduate work in law, receiving the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science in 1929.

That fall he joined the Stanford Law School faculty as an associate professor of law and was promoted to professor with tenure in 1931.

In 1945-46 he served as acting dean of the law school.

He also spent three summers (1948, 1949 and 1957) as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California School of Law.

In 1958, Turrentine became the first holder of Stanford Law School's Marion Rice Kirkwood Professorship in Law, and held that chair until his retirement from the faculty in 1961, at the age of 65.

He subsequently served three years as a visiting professor at the law schools of Louisiana State University and Tulane University.

His retirement activities also included an in-depth study of the disciplinary work of the State Bar of California.

For a number of years he was associated with the Palo Alto law firm of his former student and faculty colleague William T. Keogh.

Twice widowed, he is survived by his third wife, the former Gazelle E. Janzen, a fellow Channing House resident whom he married on Jan. 26, 1988, and by six nephews and nieces: David Crump of Redwood City, Calif.; Malcolm Crump of Redlands, Calif.; Carol Cummings of Atlanta; Barbara Guy of Milwaukee; Judy Luce of Pleasanton, Calif.; and Richard Riemer of Oakland, Calif.

A memorial gathering of family and friends is being arranged.

The family suggests that memorial gifts be made to Stanford Law School.



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