Justice Eugene M. Premo
August 28, 1936 ~ January 25, 2021
Resident of Saratoga
On Monday, January 25, 2021, Justice Eugene Milton Premo passed peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving wife and family.
Eugene was born on August 28, 1936 to Milton A. Premo and Mary Teresa (Fatjo) Premo. He was raised in San Jose, California with his three siblings, Roberta, John and Florence. He attended St. Leo’s School, Bellarmine College Preparatory (1953), and received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Santa Clara (1957). His Jesuit education would influence his personal and professional life in the years to come.
In 1950 he met his future wife, Georgine Drees at The Butano, a summer vacation area for many local families. They were married in 1959 at the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park. Here their life journey would begin. They were fortunate to enjoy 62 years of marriage, a tribute to the great life they made together.
After serving in the US Army Intelligence for two years, Justice Premo enrolled in Santa Clara University School of Law. In 1962, while earning his Juris Doctor, Eugene served as Editor in Chief for The Santa Clara Law Review, finishing 2nd in his class, an accomplishment he was immensely proud of.
Soon after graduation Eugene and Georgine moved to Saratoga, California where they would raise their family and live together for 56 years. During this time, they made lasting friendships with neighbors and school friends.
In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Justice Premo to the Santa Clara County Municipal Court. At 33 years of age, he was the youngest member of the bar to be appointed in Santa Clara County. He was named to the Superior Court in 1974. He had a full career as trial court judge, serving 20 years, until Governor Deukmejian appointed him to the 6th District Court of Appeal in 1988. He retired in 2021, a career that spanned 51 years on the bench. He was an institution in Santa Clara County legal circles. He was a mentor to many and a respected supporter of those with whom he worked. His fellow jurists and court staff became extended family over the years. He respected and valued all of them.
While law gave him focus and a richly rewarding career, it was his family and Catholic faith that were the true beacon in his life. Eugene and Georgine were committed and dedicated members of the Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Parish communities. They were active and dedicated supporters of their four children’s and nine grandchildren’s schools and activities, showing up for every game and school event, always offering love and support.
Many of us will remember Justice Premo as an accomplished jurist with a brilliant legal mind. Others remember his engaging smile and dry sense of humor. Many will recall his dedicated fan support and the subtle corrections offered to officials. He loved his regular breakfast dates and countless dinner events, always appreciative of time with family and friends, but strict on ensuring the party ended at a reasonable time! As a member of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, he enjoyed many golf rounds, retelling stories and forming lasting friendships. He was proud of all that he accomplished and grateful to those who were there beside him.
Justice Premo is survived by his wife Georgine, four children, Nicole Mesler (Herb), Michelle Walsh (Brian), Patrick Premo, and Richard Premo (Suzanne), his nine grandchildren, John Walsh, Jessie Walsh, Katie Premo, Will Premo, Carolyn Premo, Charlie Premo, Isabella Premo, Jonah Premo, his sister Florence Ziemann (Joe), his sister-in-law Carol Premo, brother-in-law Robert Enright and many nieces and nephews that were a part of his family life. He was predeceased by his parents, Milton and Mary Teresa Premo, his sister Roberta Enright, brother John Premo, in laws Dr. Adolph Lawler and Leone Drees, and Dick and Jane Drees.
Funeral services honoring him will be held outdoors with mask and social distancing guidelines strictly followed on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 11:00 am at St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos. Mass will be live streamed on the St. Marys website.