Former state Chief Justice Pearson dies

TACOMA — Former Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Vernon Robert Pearson died Feb. 4 at the age of 89.

His family told The News Tribune that he died from hip surgery complications while suffering with heart disease.

Pearson was a Navy veteran and University of Michigan law graduate who worked as a lawyer in Tacoma before becoming a judge. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1981 by Gov. John Spellman and served until 1989, retiring in Gig Harbor.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander said Pearson was instrumental in instituting a court rule that says tribal court judgments “will be given full faith and credit” in Washington courts.

Pearson’s wife Jean died in 1995.

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