HON. ROBERT M. LUSK.
If any degree of success rewarded the efforts of Judge Lusk, and if any prominence came to him in civic life (and there are many who regard his prominence and success as exceptional), it may be attributed to his own force of character and determination of will.
Of southern birth and a member of an honored old family that lost its possessions in the terrible tragedy of interstate strife, the fall of the confederacy found him on the threshold of youth, with ruined plantations and desolate homes around him on every hand. Only a character of unusual force could have come through such an ordeal stronger, firmer and more efficient, as did this southern lad, whose persistence enabled him to surmount obstacles, secure an education and rise by slow but steady degrees out of obscurity into professional power and permanent prestige.
In early life he became familiar with that isolated but interesting mountain region lying near the borders of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. The house where he was born in 1851 stood within a stone's throw of the state line of Georgia, but was located in Bradley county, Tenn., and the old plantation of his youthful memories stretched its broad acres through a valley sheltered by the mountains.
The poverty of the south at the close of the Civil war did not daunt the resolution of Mr. Lusk to acquire a thorough education. For a time he attended a college at Hiawassee in Georgia near the state line of North Carolina. Upon discontinuing the study of the classics for that of the law, he matriculated at Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tenn., where he completed the regular course and obtained his degree. Seeking a favorable location for the practice of the law he was induced to go to Texas and there opened an office at Bonham, where he married Miss Clara Pope. In 1876, three years after he had opened his office at Bonham, he was elected mayor of the town. A service of four years in the mayoralty was followed by election to the office of prosecuting attorney.
During 1885 he was elected to the state legislature without making a single speech in his own favor or taking part in the campaign. In 1888 he was appointed judge of the superior court. A year later he retired from the office, declining to serve another term.
An almost continuous service in public office, including the positions before named as well as that of county judge and minor posts of responsibility, would seem to have precluded Judge Lusk from active identification with the bar of Bonham, but such did not prove to be the case. On the other hand, for years he stood at the head of his profession in his county in Texas. A comprehensive knowledge of Texas laws, as well as the general laws of the country, caused his counsel to be sought continuously in matters of grave importance, often involving amounts of great magnitude and enterprises of wide importance.
In 1902 he came to Los Angeles to make his home and engage in practice. In this city he became a pioneer in the reform political movement. On the occasion of the first non- partisan campaign in 1906, when most of the reform candidates were defeated (himself included), he was a candidate for city tax collector. Three years later, as a good government candidate for the city council, he was elected for a term of two years. When Judge Works, who was president of the council, resigned to become a candidate for the United States senate. Judge Lusk was chosen to serve in that important position. During 1911 he was again elected to the city council for a term of four years.
A true patriot, loyal to the welfare of the community, when his health failed he persisted in devotion to the work of the office, feeling that he owed more to the welfare of the city than to himself. At all times he was diligent in the service of the city. No measure was neglected that would promote the general interests.
His self-sacrifice sapped his waning vitality and after suffering more than five months he passed away February 23, 1913, at his home, No. 147 North Soto street, Boyle Heights. The funeral services were conducted by the pastor of the Boyle Heights Presbyterian Church, of which he had been a generous supporter, and the burial ritual at Evergreen cemetery was in charge of the Masonic bodies of Los Angeles.
For years the Judge had been a prominent Mason and while living in Texas had served as grand master for the state, in which position he disbursed the funds sent by Masonic bodies from all parts of the world for the relief of destitute Masons in Galveston after the destruction of that city.
Surviving Judge Lusk, besides his widow, are three daughters and three sons, namely Mrs. Frank Taylor, of Los Angeles ; Mrs. C. M. Mills, of Pasadena; Miss Ruth Lusk, who resides with her mother at Boyle Heights ; Henry, an electrician ; Lieut. Oscar S. Lusk, an officer in the United States army ; and Paul Lusk, an engineer on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
It is a source of gratification to all lovers of Los Angeles that the city has attracted to its citizenship men of learning, true patriotic spirit and the highest
ideals of life, and among these perhaps none displayed a deeper devotion to the civic welfare, while certainly none labored more earnestly in behalf of permanent advancement, than did Judge Lusk, whose name is recorded in the city records as councilman and in the hearts of his friends as self-sacrificing citizen, efficient attorney and true philanthropist.
Following are the resolutions adopted by the city council upon the death of Judge Lusk, who was at that time an associate member of the council :
It is with profound sorrow that we are called upon to chronicle the death of Robert Martin Lusk, an associate member of the council, which occurred at his home in this city on Friday, February 22, 1913.
Judge Lusk was a native of Tennessee. He was bom January 25, 1851, on a plantation near the border line of Georgia. He received his education in the schools of his native state and obtained his degree in law at Cumberland University. Later he removed to Bonham, Texas, where he married Miss Clara Pope. Of this union were
born eight children, of which three sons and three daughters, with the widow, survive him. He became county judge, district attorney and member of the legislature. Eleven years ago he came to Los Angeles with his family to make this city his future home. Here he became active in civic affairs and in 1909 was elected to the council, where he served until the expiration of the term as president of this body. In December, 1911, he was re-elected for a four-year term.
While it is a sad task to perform, yet it affords distinct and genuine satisfaction to bear witness to the noble and exemplary character of our fellow member. As a citizen his name stands for integrity and fair dealing. As a public official he discharged the duties of his office with rare sincerity, ability and honor. In the sacred relationships of home he was strong and devoted, and to the tenets of the religion which he professed he
was steadfast; a gentleman by nature, he was considerate in the extreme of the feelings and desires of his associates, and treated his opponents with chivalrous courtesy.
With this brief expression of our appreciation of Judge Lusk as a man and without attempting a more detailed review of his life work and many virtues, be it Resolved, by the Council of the City of Los Angeles, that this memorial be spread upon the minutes and a copy thereof be transmitted to the several members of the family of the deceased, and be it further Resolved, That as a token of respect to the memory of this honorable and faithful public servant, the City Hall flag be placed at half mast, and so remain until after his funeral, and that, without further transaction of business, the Council do now adjourn.
Adopted by the City Council at its meeting
February 25, 1913.
George Williams, President.
Ch.^s. L. Wilde, City Clerk.
Gc M. L.
GENEALOGY C0L.L.ECT10NALLEN COUNTY PUE LC LIB ARY lllliillllllllll 1 3 1833 01103 5950 J?
A HistoryOFCALIFORNIA AND AN EXTENDED HISTORY OFLOS ANGELES AND ENVIRONSBIOGRAPHICAL
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