Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said yesterday that Luther W. Youngdahl, who died Wednesday at the age of 82, was "one of the finest judges of the federal or state system."
Burger made his remarks at a special meeting of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, of which Judge Youngdahl was a member from 1951 until his death. Several other judges also attended the session in the ceremonial courtroom of the U.S. Courthouse.
The chief justice recalled that his friendship with his fellow-Minnesotan extended over a half-century. He said that youngdahl, then a member of the Minnepolis municipal court, was the judge before whom he argued his first case. He said he had been a member of the small group who persuaded Judge Youngdahl to resign from the Supreme Court of Minnesota to run successfully for the governorship of his state.
Judge Youngdahl, a Republican, was elected governor in 1946 and served three terms. In 1951, he resigned and was appointed to the federal bench in Washington by President Truman. In 1968, when his age reached 70, he took senior judge status, but remained active almost until his death.
"This occasion is not one primarily for mourning, butfor rejoicing in the kind of life (Judge Youngdahl) led." Chief Justice Burger said. He said Judge Youngdahl had been a man of courage, vigor and industry.
judge Youngdahl's portrait, which hangs in the ceremonial courtroom and which was presented to him last year by his former law clerks, was drapped in black. The judge's wife of 55 years, the former Irene Annet Engdahl, and their three children, the Rev. L. William and P. David Youngdahl and Margaret Peterson, were present.
At the end, Chief Judge William B. Bryant of the U.S. District Court, who presided, said, "Let the record of these proceedings reflect that the court adjourns out of respect for the memory of the Honorable Luther W. Youngdahl."