1914 -- 2003

Richard Behrens Eaton was born December 22, 1914 in Albany, Oregon where his parents were living. His father, Walter McCrum Eaton, had worked two years at Coram Smelter and returned to Shasta County in 1913 to marry Edna Mabel Behrens at her father's home in Redding.

When Walter Eaton died in military service in 1918, Edna returned to Redding to be with her friends and family. Richard had more adult contacts than other children. Though it was a household of women, discipline was strict. Edna laughed affectionately about seeing Richard
pedaling furiously to beat the deadline for getting home from swimming in the Sacramento River.

Richard spent only six years in Redding Elementary School -- No kindergarten, skipped second grade and a special two-year program telescoped grades six, seven and eight. Richard graduated from Grammar School in 1926, from Shasta High School in 1930, from Stanford in 1934 and in 1938 received his professional degree from that institution. The next two years he served as a law clerk for Jesse W. Carter, as an associate in Glenn D. Newton's office and in his own private practice.

In 1940, with war imminent he went on active duty as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army of the United States. He served in East Africa, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, receiving three battle stars and a decoration. He left Active Duty in 1946 and in 1964 retired from the Reserve as a Lt. Colonel.

Returning to civilian life in 1946. Richard reopened his office and in 1948 he became United States Commissioner; in 1950, he became Justice of the Peace and City Judge of Redding. Then in 1951, Governor Earl Warren appointed him Judge in th e newly-created Second Superior Court in Shasta County. Judge Eaton served twenty-five years in that post, having been reelected unopposed four times; during that period he had served in thirteen other counties and the 3rd District Court of Appeal. He then retired. But not from public service. He continued in his service to the Boy Scouts of America, to the Episcopal Church and performed frequent weddings. He has been a Master Mason since 1940, served as Chaplain of the Royal Arch Masons since 1948 and on the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge of Masons for thirty-one years. He has talked to classes at Shasta College and students at the Whiskeytown Environmental School.

And all the while he advised the Shasta Historical Society and from time to time has written for the Covered Wagon. He died July 29, 2003 at age 89.

Source: Shasta Historical Society - Aug. 2002

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