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Sidney Feinberg, an associate justice on San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeal for seven years before retiring in 1984, has died. He was 87. Feinberg died Friday in Palo Alto at his home of 53 years. His son, Ian Feinberg, a litigation partner in the Palo Alto office of Chicago’s Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, said Feinberg died from complications of diabetes. “But,” he added, “he really died of a broken heart.” The retired justice’s wife of 67 years, Doris, died only three days earlier from pneumonia. “Dad realized that mom was dying and he had no interest [in living],” the younger Feinberg said Monday. “He told everybody.” A 1941 graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, Feinberg started his career with a private law practice. Then in the mid-’40s and early ’50s, he was a lawyer for San Francisco’s Office of Rent Stabilization before joining the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, where he eventually became the administrator of the north coastal area. In 1963, then-Gov. Pat Brown appointed Feinberg to the Palo Alto-Mountain View Judicial District of Santa Clara County Municipal Court. He was elevated to the superior court in 1975 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who two years later named Feinberg to the First District. He served on the court’s District Three until retiring. Former First District Justice John Racanelli, who now lives in New York, called Feinberg “a close and wonderful human being and friend.” “He was multi-talented. He was a distinguished legal scholar, as well as a distinguished judicial scholar,” said Racanelli, who was presiding justice of Division One from 1977-91. “He was noted for crisp and clear analytical writing, and by nature he was a student of the law.” Racanelli said Feinberg also was an “accomplished” gardener of rare roses. “He had an exquisite rose garden there in Palo Alto,” he said. Feinberg’s son said his father spent a few years acting as a pro tem judge, teaching evidence at night at Santa Clara University School of Law and presiding over moot courts at Stanford Law School. “He had his wits all about him,” the younger Feinberg said, “but it was hard to work [because of diabetes], so he stopped.” Survivors include Ian Feinberg, his wife Kathy and their children, Elizabeth and Jessica; daughter Erica McClure, a professor of sociolinguistics at the University of Illinois-Champaign, husband Malcolm, son Gaeron, and daughter-in-law Veronica, and their two children, Richard and Gabriel. Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. today at the Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, in Los Altos Hills. Burial will follow at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, 695 Arastradero Road, in Palo Alto.

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