William Frank Traverso

Born 29 Mar 1895 in San Francisco, California

Died 22 Jan 1975 in San Francisco, California

Married Ruth Jardine, about 1920; born in 1890; died in 1961

Daughter, Nancy Traverso

Married Eleanor E Tomlinson, 6 Apr 1963; born 1900; died 1995

Lowell High School 1917 at Hayes and Masonic Streets

Bill was an assistant reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court and District Court of Appeals for more than twenty years; appointed by Governor Warren as Judge of the Municipal Court in 1943 as the first Italian appointed to the municipal court and Governor Warren's very first appointment. (Clipping from Oakland Tribune) Later, Governor Warren would become the 14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Brothers Vic (left) and Jack (right) congratulate Bill on his appointment.
Traverso Archives

In 1945, he was elevated to Superior Court (Clipping from The Press Democrat) and appointed Presiding Judge of the Superior Court in 1950. (Clipping from San Francisco Examiner) He retired in 1965.

On March 29, 1965, Bill was presented with a resolution commending his service to the City and County of San Francisco by then President of the Board of Supervisors, Joseph E. Tinney. The resolution was also signed by Mayor John. F. Shelley.

Bill graduated from Lowell High School in San Francisco and then went to St. Ignatius College.

Bill second from the right
Traverso Archives

He was Chief Yeoman in the Navy in 1915 and then went into the reserves becoming a judge advocate for the Navy in Vallejo.

He worked for Randolf V. Whiting Reports law firm and attended Hastings Law School at night, graduating in 1918. He passed the bar exam on the first try in 1920.

When he got out of the service, he opened his own office at 21 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. He was very successful and later moved his office to 550 Montgomery Street, the Bank of Italy building.

The historic Bank of Italy building, built in 1908.
Home to a century's worth of San Francisco history, and now to Wingtip.

The San Mateo Times | 22 January 1943

Oakland Tribune | 22 January 1943

February 17, 1943, Bill was a guest of honor at the North Beach Merchants Association's Annual Banquet and Dance. (Program) The listing of officers and directors is a who's who of San Francisco's Italian-descent leaders. The brothers often took lunches with many of these leaders at places like Alioto's and Tadich's.

Traverso Archives

Bill, a Past Master, and his brothers were members of Masonic Lodge, Roosevelt #500 in San Francisco. The following pages are a digest of the comprehensive histories of the Masonic Lodges, Golden Gate Lodge #30, Speranza Lodge #219, Roosevelt Lodge #500, Mount Moriah Lodge #44 and Far West Lodge #673, that have consolidated to form Golden Gate Speranza Lodge #30. Go to page 18 to read about the Traversos. These histories are far from complete for all lodge records of Golden Gate, Speranza, Italiana and Mount Mariah, prior to 1906, were destroyed by the earthquake and fire. We have researched what material is available, to gain a picture of formations and early days of these lodges, much of which was fast fading into oblivion.

On January 15, 1975, Bill's car was struck by another in an intersection in San Francisco. He died of his injuries on January 22. (Clipping from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In the United States District Court, Northern District of California, on January 23, 1975, several judges appeared to attest to Bill's contributions over his lifetime. His son-in-law, Malcolm Dungan, also a member of the bar, following his remarks moved to adjourn the court out of respect for Bill. (Read entire official court report.)