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Hon. Robert L. Steadman, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court (Ret.). Passed away on June 14, 2016.
Beloved Husband of sixty-three years of Elaine Steadman of Hanover. Devoted father of Robert L. Steadman, Jr., of Mansfield and his wife Lorraine Steadman; and Angela Steadman of Boxford, and her husband, Peter Bernardin. Proud grandfather of David R. Steadman and Andrew M. Steadman.
Judge Steadman was a graduate of Cambridge Rindge High School, where he was class president and valedictorian. Immediately after graduation in 1944, with World War 2 on, he enlisted in the US Army and served two years. Then, with assistance of the GI bill, he attended Suffolk University, graduating in 1948, followed by Suffolk University Law School, graduating in 1951. Judge Steadman also served for several years as an officer in the US Naval Reserve, performing duties for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Upon passing the bar, he founded a law firm and ran a successful practice in downtown Boston for twenty-seven years, representing parties in a wide variety of significant, complex civil litigation cases. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1979 by Governor Edward J. King, where he quickly earned a reputation for his fair mindedness, integrity and keen intellect, as well as his dedication to the judicial process.
Judge Steadman presided at the trial of Father James Porter in 1993 that first brought national attention to child molestation by the clergy. "The defendant stands before me today as an effigy, representing all the other named and unnamed child abusers," Judge Steadman said in Superior Court before he imposed sentence. "Yet justice requires that James Porter, the symbol, be cast aside and that James Porter, the man, be judged."
He was appointed as Regional Administrative Justice for the Southeastern Massachusetts Counties in 1985, and was appointed as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1988 where he was instrumental in introducing computer technology and time standards to the court that greatly reduced case backlogs and delays.
Following retirement from the Superior Court, Governor William F. Weld issued a proclamation commending Judge Steadman for his, "outstanding dedication and service to the Commonwealth" and proclaimed March 29, 1996 as Judge Robert L. Steadman Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Not yet done he then became a much sought after mediator and arbitrator with the JAMS Foundation. Judge Steadman also served as a member of the Academic Committee of the Flaschner Judicial Institute, and was frequent lecturer to aspiring trial attorneys on the art of trial advocacy.
He was active in his community, serving as moderator of the Old South Union Church in South Weymouth for many years and was, at his passing, a member of the First Congregational Church of Hanson. He also served as a trustee of South Shore Hospital, and as a trustee and member of the Board of Investment of South Shore Bank.
He was a very active member of the Masonic Fraternity during most of his adult life, becoming a Freemason by joining Orphan's Hope Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Weymouth in 1958. He quickly joined the officers' line and served as Master of the Lodge in 1966-67. Later he became District Deputy Grand Master for the Quincy 26th Masonic District for the years 1977-78. In 1997 he was appointed as Deputy Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. For his outstanding service, he was awarded the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal (1984), the Henry Price Medal (1997) and the Veterans Medal (2008).
Brother Bob Steadman became a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the year 1989. He served on several important committees and was of-counsel to the Sovereign Grand Commander and the Administrative Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of Lexington. Bob Steadman enjoyed memberships in several other appendant Masonic organizations; namely, Aleppo Temple Shrine, Taleb Grotto, the York Rite Bodies and St. Bernard Commandery #12.
Judge Steadman was also avid mariner and cruised the New England coast for many years in the “Stormy Angel” home ported in North Weymouth.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours for Bob on Thursday June 23, 2016 from 4-8 PM at the C. C. Shepherd Funeral Home located at 134 Pleasant St. (Columbian Sq.) S. Weymouth, MA. Relatives and friends will gather for a Funeral Service in honor of Bob on Friday June 24 at 10:45AM at the First Congregational Church located at 639 High St. in Hanson, MA. The service will begin promptly at 11AM. Burial will be at Fern Hill Cemetery in Hanson and will be private. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in memory of Bob to the charity of your choice. If you would like to leave a message for the family please click on the candle.
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