One of five children born to Dominic and Theresa Falasco, he was elected to the Justice Court in 1958, where he served until 1977. In 1977, he was appointed to Merced County’s Municipal Court, and served until his appointment to the Superior Court in 1982. He retired in 1985.
Bob Erreca, 76, a longtime Los Banos rancher and state probate referee, said Falasco had been ill in recent years. Erreca said his friend was a "good people person" who was known to show compassion and fairness in the courtroom. "You weren’t just a guy that appeared before him," Erreca recalled. "He was interested in why you were there and how he could help you."
Falasco was considered a need-to-know person among local politicians, and was particularly active in the local Democratic party. Aspiring politicians always made a point of trying to sit next to Falasco during community dinners in Los Banos. "If you were a smart politician, you’d have your picture taken with the judge," Erreca said.
Former Merced City Councilman Jim Sanders, who met Falasco in the late 1960s, called Falasco a political mentor who was tough and fair as a judge. Sanders said Falasco also supported "every type of community project" imaginable. "His influence was not all about politics. It was all about helping people," Sanders said. "Those of us that he touched, in whatever way, we have a piece of that incredible spirit and we need to carry it on."
In addition to his 26 years as a judge, Falasco served as a trustee for Los Banos Elementary School from 1955 to 1958 and director of the Merced County Fair Board for 15 years. He served on the Board of Fellows for the University of Santa Clara, and played an active role in the building of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School and Memorial Hospital Los Banos.
Falasco served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from May 1943 to March 1946. The Merced County Superior Court in Los Banos is named in his honor, and he was bestowed the honor of Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope Paul VI.
In 2008, Falasco was praised by several Los Banos judges for his honesty and intelligence, and for being a man of common sense with a touch of humor. Then they renamed the courthouse in his honor: the Merced County Robert M. Falasco Justice Center.
Falasco was humbled by the tribute—a moment that holds the penultimate place among the recognitions he’s received for his work inside and outside the courtroom. He still counts as his greatest achievement an honor bestowed on him in 1975 by Pope Paul VI: being made a Knight of St. Gregory the Great for his civic and religious activities.
“My Catholic identity is one of the most central things to my life,” he says—and then adds, wryly, “especially now that I’m entering into my twilight years.” He particularly admired the Jesuits who taught him at Santa Clara: Raymond F. Copeland, William J. Tobin, Francis A. Moore, and Dan Germann. “After SCU,” Falasco says, “Fr. Copeland came to Los Banos and would deliver communion to my mother. And Fr. Tobin baptized my children and my wife when she converted. Fr. Germann taught all of my children.”
Those children would be Michael R. Falasco ’73, MBA ’75, Joan LaSalvia ’75, Anne Norton ’75, and Sally Perry ’78. In addition, brother Dominic Falasco ’51, nephew Dan Falasco ’90, grandchildren Dominique Norton ’05, James J. Norton ’07, and Christine LaSalvia ’09, and son-in-law Charles Norton ’76 have come to Santa Clara.Falasco was a 1951 graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law. He was admitted to practice by the California State Bar in 1952.
He’s survived by his wife of 63 years, Yvonne, four children, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and 11 grandchildren.
Read more at http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/04/01/2292080/retired-rced-ounty-judge-robert.html#storylink=cpy