Carl F. Bryan II



Nevada County Superior Court Judge Carl F. Bryan II passed away from illness on Sept. 27, leaving behind many mourners among his community, friends, and family. His good friend, retired Nevada County Superior Court Judge Albert Dover, shares the following remembrance:

It is hard to quantify the enormity of the loss we suffer with the passing of Carl F. Bryan II, retired Nevada County Superior Court Judge.

First and foremost, Carl was the quintessential family man. He loved his wife, Shelley, of 51 years; his two children, Chelsea and John, and their spouses, Keith and Laura; as well as all his adoring grandchildren.


There was no better friend. Simply put, there was no one more fun to be with. Even our disastrous fishing trips (of which there were at least four in this category) leave memories that will forever make me laugh.

Behind his “good old boy” northern Florida facade lived one of the fastest minds I’ve ever encountered. It wasn’t that he was just very smart. It was that he was a visionary.

Take the juvenile hall named after him. Years before the new juvenile hall was built, Carl had told me that to stem the rise in juvenile offenses, we would need a new hall. Carl didn’t care about having the building named after him, although it was an honor he earned.

Carl cared about making sure juveniles knew there could be consequences for their bad behavior, as a way to stem it. He cared about making sure that if a kid had to be in the juvenile hall, they were in their hometown where they could be supported by family and friends. Carl did not want us to have to send “our kids” to other communities where they could be infected with gang culture and the like. Success to Carl, his vision, meant an empty juvenile hall or one that gave our kids their best shot at not reoffending. His vision has proved successful.

Carl’s way was to look at what was and find ways to make it better. He did this in every aspect of his life. From picking up litter on the streets of our cities, to streamlining our jury selection process and court system, to improving the Nevada City Little League field, to planting trees at the Alta Sierra Country Club. Our community is a safer, healthier, and happier place for having had the good fortune of his caring as family man, friend, and judge.

~ Submitted by retired Nevada County Superior Court Judge Albert Dover


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