Los Angeles County
JUDGE FREDERICK F. HOUSER
Only once in the history of Alhambra has the community had the honor of one of its citizens becoming Lieutenant Governor of the State of California; in 1942, Judge Frederick F. Houser was elected to this office after an unusually close and spirited contest defeating a Democratic incumbent. During his career with many years of service to the people of this state, in politics and as a judge and lawyer, Judge Houser has shown himself to be an able executive and by reason of his training and background, has been exceptionally fitted for the important positions he has held.
Frederick F. Houser, or Fred Houser, as he is known to his many Alhambra friends, is the son of the late Judge Frederick W. Houser and Sara Isabel Wilde. Born in Los Angeles, California, on November 14, 1904, Judge Houser, a resident of Alhambra for 40 years, received his elementary education from Garfield Grammar School, and in 1922 graduated from Alhambra High School. He then entered the University of California at Los Angeles, where he received a degree of A. B. in 1926. Following this he entered the Harvard Law School, where he was awarded his LL.B. in 1929. While at the latter institution, he had the unusual distinction, for a man of his age, of serving as an instructor in government in the Academic Department of Harvard University for three years, under Dr. William Bennett Munro. He was awarded this position largely because he had made the highest record of anyone in his class in political science at UCLA, where he was graduated with “highest honors”.
Taking his first bar examination in April, 1930, he passed and was admitted to the bar in June, 1930. Judge Houser began his practice of law in Los Angeles, this same year, first alone, then later as a member of the firm Campbell, Barstow, Grady and Houser. This association continued for three years. For the following ten years Judge Houser engaged in practice alone in Alhambra, however in association with Judge William M. Northrup and Judge Herbert Farrell.
Judge Houser began his career in public life by election to the State Legislature in 1930, when only 25 years old, and he was the youngest member of that body during the session of 1931-33. In 1932, 1934, and 1936, Judge Houser was nominated by the Republican Party for Congress from the old 12th District, which in the Depression days included East Los Angeles, but in each case, the large Democratic majority of registrants was too great for him to overcome. However, in 1938 he was again elected to the State Legislature and then re-elected in 1940. In 1944 Judge Houser was the Republican nominee for United States Senator, but was defeated by the Democratic incumbent, Sheridan Downey, by the very close margin of 52% to 48%, in an overwhelming Democratic presidential year in California. Judge Houser was first elected to the Superior Court of the State of California in 1946, and was re-elected in 1952 and 1958.
Judge Houser has served as a director of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Alhambra from 1942 to the present time, a period of nineteen years.
Actively participating in sports during his high school and college days, Judge Houser played first base on the Alhambra High School baseball team in 1920, 1921, and 1922, his team winning the Conference Championships in the latter two years. He was captain of the team during his senior year. An ardent tennis player, he was the Boys Tennis Champion of Southern California in 1919 and Junior Tennis Champion of Southern California in 1923. While at UCLA he was a member of the Varsity Tennis Team for four years, serving for two years as captain and first man. His team won four straight conference championships.
In 1924-25, Judge Houser was president of his Junior class at UCLA; chairman of the Student Affairs Committee (student court) in 1924-25; and president of the Associated Students of the University of California at Los Angeles in 1925-26. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and is a past president of the UCLA Alumni Association. He holds memberships in the Harvard Law School Association and the Harvard Club of Southern California. In 1948 Judge Houser was honored as the “UCLA Alumnus of the Year”.
Judge Frederick F. Houser was married to the former Miss Dorothy E. Bodinus on July 4, 1925. Mrs. Houser was a classmate of her husband at Alhambra High School and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Judge Houser’s father, the late Judge Frederick W. Houser, was a Justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1937 until the time of his death on October 12, 1942. He held the highest public office to which any Alhambran has been elected, and therefore his memory is held in the highest esteem in this city. Prior to his elevation to the Supreme Court, Judge Houser had been a member of the District Court of Appeal for fifteen years and, for the last three years of this time, he served as Presiding Justice. For sixteen years prior to this he was a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles County. The late Judge Houser maintained his legal residence in Alhambra for thirty-one years, having moved here from Los Angeles with his family in 1911. Mrs. Sara Isabel Wilde Houser, wife of the late Judge Houser, was one of the first women lawyers in California, having been admitted to practice in 1899. She was very active for many years in the Woman’s Suffrage Movement before her death on March 22, 1948.
Judge Frederick F. Houser has been an active member and official in numerous organizations which follow:
1. Member—Assembly, California State Legislature, 1931-33, 1939-41, and 1941-43
2. Nominee—Republican for Congress, Old 12th District of California, 1932, 1934, and 1936
3. Lt. Governor—State of California 1943-1947
4. Nominee—Republican for United States Senator from California, 1944
5. Member—War Council of the State of California, 1943–1947
6. Judge—Superior Court of the State of California, 1943 to present
7. Director—California Institute for Cancer Research
8. Director—First Federal Saving and Loan Association of Alhambra, 1942 to present
9. Vice-President and Governor—Lincoln Club of Los Angeles
10. Member—Annandale Golf Club
11. Member—Live Oaks Tennis Club
12. Member—Twilight Club of Pasadena
13. Member—Friends of the Huntington Library and Art Gallery
14. Member—Pasadena Art Museum Association
15. Member—Los Angeles Symphony Association
16. Past President—UCLA Alumni Association
17. Past President and present Director—San Gabriel Valley Associated Chambers of Commerce
18. Past President—Alhambra Chamber of Commerce
19. Past President—Oneonta Club of South Pasadena
20. Member—Alhambra Lodge No. 1328, BPOE
21. Member—Alhambra Masonic Lodge No. 322
22. Member—Ramona Parlor Native Sons of the Golden West of Los Angeles
23. Past President—Phi Delta Theta, California Gamma Chapter
24. Member—Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee, elected for two terms, 1927-29 and 1929-31
25. Past Director—Alhambra YMCA, serving for 15 years
26. Past Director—Conservation Association of Southern California
In addition to Judge Houser’s busy schedule, he enjoys his hobbies of golf, baseball, ocean swimming, tennis and traveling.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Historical Volume & Reference Works Including Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel & Temple City, by Robert P. Studer, Pages 658-662, Historical Publ., Los Angeles, California. 1962.
© 2013 V. Gerald Iaquinta.