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James Rowan Hardin ’48, native son of Sonora and Tuolumne County, passed away peacefully at his home on March 6, 2010. Known throughout the community as both attorney and Superior Court Judge, he is best remembered as a beloved husband, father, and friend.
Born August 12, 1923, he went on to attend Santo Clara University. At the outbreak of World War II, he qualified for Navy pilot school. He was commissioned Ensign, JG during the war and was assigned as a fighter pilot for duty aboard aircraft carriers. During his service, he married Alice, also a native of Sonora.
At the end of the war he returned to Santa Clara and earned a law degree. He and his wife moved to Sonora to work and raise their family. Judge Hardin practiced law for 31 years before serving as a judge for 12 years. At one time he was the sole Superior Court Judge in Tuolumne County, and the California Judicial Council recognized that he was performing the workload of 2.2 judges, referring to him as "The hardest working judge in California."
He was an active member in many civic and private organizations, including the Stockton Diocese Council and Sonora High Shool Board of Trustees, and he was a charter member and drafter of the constitution and bylaws of the Tuolumne County Historical Society (CHISPA).
He was predeceased by his daughter Susanne. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Alice, his children Jeanette Thorup ’68, Arkme Matschullat ’70, Rowena Garon ’73, Debra Hardin, Corinne Larson, James Hardin, Jon Hardin, 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, his sister Annetta Roberts, and numerous nieces and nephews.