Jack Golden

John Joseph Golden had a hand in North Coast history from his seat on the bench of Lake County's Superior Court.

Golden presided over hearings that gave swaths of Mendocino County property near Branscomb Road to the Nature Conservancy.

He struck down part of a deal made in the 1999 Headwaters Forest acquisition in Humboldt County because it allowed the Pacific Lumber Co. to alter streams and destroy wildlife habitat.

Golden was the trial judge when Eugene "Bear" Lincoln was acquitted in 1999 of the 1995 slaying of a Mendocino County sheriff's deputy.

His ruling delayed the artist Christo's "Running Fence," an 18-foot wall that sprawled over mostly private land across Marin and Sonoma counties for two weeks in 1976.

The judge kept a signed copy of a photo book of the "Running Fence" that the artist sent to him, said his son John F. Golden of Sacramento.

"He always got a chuckle because he was responsible for throwing a wrench in the project," his son said. "He was definitely not one to let his opinion of a subject sway the outcome of the case."

Golden died Nov. 18 at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa after an infection. He was 87.

Golden was born in 1925 in Long Beach to Ottilia and William Golden. He served in the Navy and recently told his daughter about one night on watch duty on a boat floating down a Chinese river.

In thick darkness, he spotted a light coming toward them and changed the boat's course. The next day the log book noted: "Golden made a course correction to avoid a collision with the moon," said his daughter Mary Golden of Ukiah.

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