In Memoriam - Jack B. Hislop
Longtime Bakersfield attorney Jack Hislop passed away on November 8, 2011, at the age of 85.
Jack Hislop was a second generation Bakersfield native with Scottish roots. He embraced his Scottish heritage and insisted that the entire family go to Scotland in 1998. When he graduated from Kern County Union High School, World War II was in full swing, and he joined the Navy. He did not want to end up on a destroyer, so he volunteered to be a radio technician. He was stationed on Kodiak Island in the Aleutian Islands, monitoring Russia with antiquated equipment. The assignment was isolated, and much of the time Hislop had only Kodiak bears for company. He was transferred to Treasure Island toward the end of the war, and he celebrated VE Day in San Francisco.
Jack Hislop returned to Bakersfield after the war and attended Bakersfield College. He fell in love with Beverly Lee, a third generation Kern County girl who had grown up in Taft. They married in 1949 and moved to San Jose and bought a house for $5,000. Jack studied law at Stanford University and Beverly earned her undergraduate degree at San Jose State University. Both were ready to return to Bakersfield when they completed their studies, and in 1954 the new firm of Bradley, Wagy, Bunker & Hislop was formed.
In the first years of his practice, Hislop did everything – civil litigation, family law, and criminal defense work. However, he soon joined partner Jack Bradley in representing State Farm in insurance defense cases. Hislop continued doing insurance defense work for the rest of his career, representing State Farm and other carriers, as well as Greyhound Bus, John Deere, and the Dial Company. Lorna Hislop Brumfield, now a Superior Court Judge, describes her father as “super old school.” Of course, law firms did not use computers in the 1950s and 1960s. There were no fax machines, so the pace was much slower. Judge Brumfield recalls the huge magnetic Dictaphone belts and machines her father used to dictate his pleadings and correspondence. When automation first came to the firm, the printers were huge with paper that had holes on the sides to push it through the printer. Carbon paper was purchased en masse.
Lorna Brumfield joined her father’s firm, then known as Bunker, Hislop & Lewis, in 1986. This was just before Civil Fast Track was implemented, and the filing cabinet was full of active files that were four and five years old. She loved working with her father. “He was really nice and let me do my own thing.” In 1990, the firm split, and the firms of Byrum, Bunker & Kimball and Hislop & Brumfield were formed. Hislop & Brumfield opened offices in the Triangle Building, where they practiced for eight years. In 1998, Lorna joined LeBeau Thelen, and Jack became a sole practitioner for the last ten years of his career. He did estate planning, small business work, and some mediation.
Jack Hislop was active in many community organizations. He served as president of the Kern County Bar Association in 1970-1971, and he was honored with its most prestigious award, the Bench and Bar Award, in 1997.
As Jack Hislop eased into retirement, he found a new hobby to occupy his time: cooking. Judge Brumfield laughed as she recalled, “He read cookbooks, went shopping and bought the best ingredients, and he really got into it.” Having little experience in cooking over the years, every dish was a bit of an experiment. “He once bought some expensive fish and then boiled it in olive oil, giving the fish a greenish tinge. After that, we would tease him and ask if he was boiling dinner in olive oil.” Jack Hislop spent a lot of time with Paul Brumfield, the oldest of his four grandchildren. Hislop picked up Paul from school many afternoons, and together they watched World War II movies, read and discussed books about the war, and enjoyed the music of that era. As a result, Paul Brumfield, a talented singer, can sing all of the popular songs from the 1930s and 1940s.
Undoubtedly one of the proudest moments of Jack Hislop’s life was the day he watched his daughter and former partner sworn in as a Superior Court Judge. Judge Brumfield’s love and respect for her father is evident when she speaks of him. Jack Hislop leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Beverly, his three children, Lorna, Scott, and John, and four grandchildren.
by Judge Susan M. Gill, as appeared in the February, 2012 issue of the Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Jack Hislop's obituary was published in The Bakersfield Californian on November 15, 2011.