Waldo Willhoft, City Attorney of San Bernardino

This post was originally written in October 2013, but never published.

Last night was the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Annual Installation & Awards Banquet at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino.  The back of the program has the Past Presidents of the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Past Presidents from 1875-1913.  Of interest to me was the 1960-1961 President, Waldo Willhoft.

I knew that Waldo Willhoft was City Attorney of San Bernardino for one term, from 1951 to 1955.  In 1955, the Charter was amended to make the City Attorney a full-time position.  Here’s what else I have learned about Waldo Willhoft:

Waldo Willhoft, J.D. ’30, was elected City Attorney of San Bernardino, Calif., by a precedent-shattering write-in campaign, which commenced forty-eight hours before the election last spring and resulted in a write-in vote of 8,642 for Willhoft and 4,659 for the incument [H.R. Griffin].  Mr. Willhoft’s first act upon taking office was to appoint as his Deputy his office associate, A.J. Flory ’48. Both men are continuing in the private practice of law at 415 Andreson Bldg. San Bernardino.

The [University of] Michigan Alumnus, Volume 58, Page 30.

You can see an example of Mr. Willhoft’s stationary in Ordinance 1980, which gives his Andreson Building address.

According to the State Bar of California, his full name was Waldo Oscar Willhoft, he was admitted in June 1931, and his bar number was 12549.  He was born on August 14, 1903 in Nebraska City, Nebraska.   He died on July 11, 1982 in San Bernardino.  His father was Herman Willhoft, a cabitnet maker, and his mother was Marie Vitzikam.

He is buried in Encampment Cemetery in Carbon County Wyoming with his wife, Mildred Parkinson Willhoft, who lived from 1906-1997. According to the 1930 University of Michigan Michaganenesian Yearbook, he received an LLB in Law, he was from Nebraska City, Nebraska, and was a member of the Lawyer’s Club, Sigma Tau Delta and the Michigan Law Review.  After Michigan, he became associated with a fellow Michigan alum, Charles J. O’Conner, Class of 1900 of O’Conner & Findlay in the Arcade Building in Colton.  He wrote a book in 1929 published by Prentice Hall, called Modern Debate Practice and was the former debate coach in Peru, Nebraska.

In 1936, he lived at 1058 North 8th Street in Colton at the Porter Apartments with his wife Mildred. He was listed as the City Attorney of Colton and his office was at 159 North 8th Street in Colton.  By 1949, he had moved to San Bernardino, and lived at 741 24th Street, and worked at 320 North E Street, Room 415.  In other words, he worked in 415 Andreson Building.

Later, Waldo Willhoft served as special counsel for the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino regarding the Meadowbrook Project and related litigation (including Andrews v. City of San Bernardino, (1959) 175 Cal.App.2d 459). RDA Minutes, June 2, 1960, and as acting Agency counsel, May 3, 1962 and again in 1964 in the absence of William J. Ward, Agency Counsel.

Prior to being elected City Attorney for San Bernardino, Waldo Willhoft was City Attorney for the City of Colton as early as 1934, as seen in the case of American Co. v. City of Lockport (1934) 220 Cal. 548.


Copyright 2014 Michael Reiter

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