Prominent LA stained-glass window maker dies

Walter Judson, a fourth-generation stained-glass maker whose family-owned business, Judson Studios, created decorative windows for cathedrals, casinos and shopping malls, died Jan. 5 of a heart attack at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

He was 61.

Mr. Judson took over the family business in 1975 in a direct succession that began with his great-grandfather William Lees Judson in 1897.

During Walter Judson's time as president, the studio designed stained-glass windows for commercial buildings, including the South Coast Plaza shopping mall in Costa Mesa and the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. But most of the studio's business has been ecclesiastical, including windows made for St. James Episcopal Church in Los Angeles in the 1920s and St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego.

Last year, the new Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles installed a glass panel etched with angels made by Judson Studios.

``Walter Judson was a truly artistic man who was very knowledgeable of the teachings of the Vatican II Council and how the arts could be expressive of those teachings,'' the Rev. Richard Vosko, the liturgical designer for the cathedral, told the Los Angeles Times last week.

Mr. Judson never claimed to be a craftsman. ``I'm no good with my hands,'' he told the Times in 1985. But, he said, like his ancestors, he was ``a strong-willed Judson with a total dedication to stained glass.''

As president of the company, Mr. Judson spent most of his time meeting with clients, researching the religious iconography that suited each window commission and helping the studio artists translate his ideas into finished works. His role in the company grew out of his particular skills.

``My father was a devout Catholic and very diplomatic,'' Mr. Judson's son David said last week. ``He knew about saints the rest of us never even heard of. We have lost a major resource for our business.''

Mr. Judson is survived by his wife, Karen, two sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

600450 Prominent LA stained-glass window maker dies

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