Friends, colleagues remember longtime judge Svetanoff
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 9, 2014 7:02PM
Lake County superior court judge Gerald Svetanoff of Crown Point.
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:30AM
CROWN POINT — Superior Court Judge Gerald N. Svetanoff, the longest serving judge in Lake County at 32 years, is being remembered as a fair judge with a sharp legal mind and a great role model.
Svetanoff, 78, of Crown Point, died Wednesday evening.
He was the senior judge in Lake Superior Court’s Civil Division and presided in Gary. He had taken a leave of absence from the bench last year.
“He was the best role model a son could ever have. He was caring, kind, compassionate and an overall great person,” said Joseph Svetanoff, the judge’s only child.
“Not only was he the best father, but a fantastic grandfather to my children, Natalia, 5, and Alexander, 10,” Joseph Svetanoff said.
Superior Court Judge John Pera, who also serves in the Civil Division, called Svetanoff’s passing a great loss for the court.
“He served the people of Lake County and the judiciary with the utmost distinction for nearly 33 years,” said Pera, who served as a law clerk for Svetanoff in the 1980s.
“He was a great legal mind. He was very sharp, very astute, and greatly loved by all. He was an exceptional judge and human being. My heart goes out to his family,” Pera said.
Joseph Svetanoff said his father took tremendous pride in his work.
“I think all the attorneys in Lake County would agree that not only they, but their clients, too, would have a fair day in court with my father,” he said.
Svetanoff was a lifelong resident of Northwest Indiana, born and raised in Gary. He lived in Crown Point for 25 years with his wife, Linda Svetanoff.
The judge attended Lew Wallace High School, Indiana University School of Business and Indiana University Law School. He also attended Northwestern University’s Master of Law program.
In addition to his wife, Linda, and son, Joseph, Svetanoff is survived by Joseph’s wife, Cathy, and their children, Natalia and Alexander.
Visitation is from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Burns Funeral Home & Crematory, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point. A service is at 7 p.m. Sunday, with the Very Rev. Tome Stamatov officiating. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, with Stamatov again officiating, with burial directly following the service at Calumet Park Cemetery, 2305 W. 73rd, Merrillville.