Retired U.S. District Judge A. Sherman Christensen, who died Tuesday in Provo at age 91, leaves a lofty legal legacy and impeccable personal reputation of integrity, hard work and courtesy.
A native of Manti, Judge Christensen developed an affinity for the law at an early age while visiting the courtroom of his father, Judge A. H. Christensen. Court was conducted in the upstairs of an old building in Manti, heated by a large pot-bellied stove.Following the death of his mother, young Sherman moved to Salt Lake City to live with an aunt and attend LDS High School. He later attended Brigham Young University.
In 1927, he married Lois Bowen. The couple moved to Washington, D.C., where he graduated from law school. They returned to the West and settled in Provo, where the young lawyer worked as a trial attorney in partnership with his father for 20 years.
During that time, Judge Chris-ten-sen served as president of the Utah State Bar Association and was active in the Republican Party, receiving the nod as the GOP nominee for Congress in 1940.
He was appointed to the federal bench in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first member of the LDS Church to sit as a federal judge since territorial days.
Noted for his legal acumen while presiding over many notable cases and authoring articles for law journals, Judge Christensen expressed his sentimental side writing and publishing two books of poetry.
Though he officially retired in 1971, he continued to hear many cases well into his 80s. He remained active as a settlement judge until soon after his wife died in 1992.
In 1978, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers honored Judge Christensen for his work as a trial and appellate advocate, legal writer and lecturer, and for his high standards. In 1990, the American Bar Association gave him its highest honor, a medal recognizing his "conspicuous service in the cause of American jurisprudence."
Judge Christensen's life was a credit to his profession, family, the entire federal bench and the state of Utah.