“Judge Richard G. Kolostian, Sr. was born on December 2, 1931, the youngest of 2 sons born to Kalost Der, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and Rose, a homemaker. He graduated from Fremont High School in 1949. He worked to support himself and his family while attending Loyola University Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount). While at Loyola, he was in Air Force ROTC. After graduating Loyola in the mid-1950’s, he served in the Air Force on active duty. Once honorably discharged, he worked his way full-time in the Personnel Department of General Telephone (now Verizon), while attending Loyola Law School at night part-time. He graduated from Loyola Law School in 1964.
His first job out of law school was with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where he was a criminal trial attorney, criminal appellate attorney, and later legal adviser to the Los Angeles Police Commission. He left the city in 1968 to enter private practice. In 1973, he was elected as a Commissioner in the Los Angeles Municipal Court. In 1980, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as a Judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court, making him one of the first jurists in California to go from a Municipal Court Commissioner to Superior Court Judge. After a year as a judge at Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, he transferred to Van Nuys, where he served the remainder of his career. He started in Van Nuys as a felony criminal judge, then in later years transitioned to handle civil cases. He served as Supervising Judge of the Northwest District (Van Nuys) in 1988.
He was an active supportive of organizations such as the San Fernando Valley Bar Association and the Armenian Bar Association. For many years, Judge Kolostian served as a volunteer judge for the Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trials program, including one year as a judge for the National Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. He was a longtime Scoutmaster for Troop 127 of the Great Western Council (now Western L.A. County Council) of the Boy Scouts of America, influencing many young men, and helping his two sons to reach Eagle Scout, the highest award in Scouting. He was involved for many years in seeking to obtain cityhood for Calabasas, and was honored to swear in the inaugural city council in 1991.
He retired in 2006, as #1 in seniority of all judges in the entire Los Angeles Superior Court. In retirement, he volunteered to sit by assignment in the probate court of the Van Nuys Superior Court. He and his wife also got to travel to various places around the world, including: China, Egypt, Russia, Central Europe, and the Panama Canal. He also got to see and enjoy the growth and development of his 4 grandchildren, who affectionately nicknamed him “Grandpa Judge.”
He passed away peacefully on June 9, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joan; his sons Richard Jr. (Michele) and Jon; and his wonderful grandchildren Peter, Ava, Zachary, and Conner. Services will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 11 am, at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, 11160 Stranwood Ave., Mission Hills.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in the name of Judge Kolostian to the following organizations: San Fernando Valley Bar Association—Valley Community Legal Foundation (thevclf.org), Armenian Bar Association (armenianbar.org), and the Constitution Rights Foundation Mock Trial Program (crf-usa.org—please specify “Mock Trial Program”).”