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Stanley Leal, who grew up on a San Jose apricot farm and went on to become a well-known trial lawyer, succumbed Saturday after a long bout with cancer. He was 76 years old. A 1954 graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and a Korean War vet, Leal built a South Bay law practice that survived into the 1990s. Specializing in personal injury law, Leal tried more than 100 cases in front of a jury, according to his son, Matt Leal, a solo practitioner in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. In 1963, Leal was president of the Sunnyvale-Cupertino Bar Association. John Sears, who was hired by Leal in 1986, said his former law partner treated everyone he encountered with respect and dignity. “You knew when you were dealing with Stan that he was going to treat you honorably,” Sears said. “I gotta tell you, the world would be a lot better if there were more attorneys like Stan still practicing law.” In the late 1980s, Leal was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and Sears said the doctors gave him only a brief time to live. But Leal beat the odds by continuing to lead an active life and maintaining a presence in his law practice up through the mid-1990s, Sears said. Matt Leal said his father hiked Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome at age 70, and just six months ago he was still golfing, skiing and playing Frisbee. Leal’s law firm produced some well-known South Bay lawyers, including Santa Clara County Superior Court Judges Raymond Davilla Jr. and Mark Pierce, and attorney Gary Olimpia. “Stan was fun to be around,” Olimpia said. “He wasn’t an egghead, but he was a good lawyer.” Leal was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn. He is survived by his sons, Matt Leal and Todd Leal; his daughter, Tracy Reinsert; and a grandson, Calvin Goodman. Friends and family held funeral services on Thursday. Donations in Leal’s memory may be directed to the American Cancer Society.

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