PALMDALE – Ross Amspoker, Palmdale’s first attorney and a longtime civic leader in the Antelope Valley, died Friday after a four-month battle with cancer. He was 84. Amspoker opened his local practice in 1950, the first attorney to open a full-time office in Palmdale. In 1993, Amspoker was hired as a Superior Court referee, acting as a judge in civil cases. In 2002, he was one of four Antelope Valley referees who were laid off as part of a cost-cutting move by Los Angeles County Superior Court. He continued to work as a court referee – but for free – and then volunteered his time in court, hearing probate matters one or two days a week. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant In a surprise ceremony arranged by judges in March 2005, Amspoker was honored for his many years of service and leadership in Antelope Valley legal and civic affairs. “We are here to honor Ross for his many years of valuable service. When he could’ve retired … Ross has volunteered his time,” supervising Antelope Valley Superior Court Judge Thomas White said at the 2005 event. “He has to pay his bar dues for the privilege of working for free because that’s his love and what he wants to do.” Amspoker’s public service included serving as president of the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, trustee in the Palmdale School and Antelope Valley College districts, and president of the Antelope Valley Bar Association. As an attorney in private practice, he handled probate, property, criminal cases and other matters. The son of an educator and one of six children, Amspoker worked his way through college as a gardener, elevator operator and postal telegraph operator until he received a degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. After serving in the U.S. Air Army Corps and Signal Corps in Europe from 1943 to 1945 during World War II, Amspoker entered Boalt Hall, the law school at Berkeley, in 1946 and got his law degree three years later. He was admitted to the bar in 1950. Fresh out of law school, Amspoker was hunting for a job when he heard about a place called Palmdale that had no attorneys, Amspoker said in an interview with the Daily News in 1993. He visited the Antelope Valley after a law book publisher mentioned the growing area and he read a letter to his law school from the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce that talked of job opportunities. “Palmdale at the time was at the end of a very dry cycle, it was brown, and there were only 1,500 people,” Amspoker said. “You can’t compare San Francisco and Berkeley to Palmdale in those days.” Amspoker decided to open a law office in Palmdale and built a home in the Ana Verde Hills where he and his wife reared three sons “who grew up with fresh air and no smog,” he said. Amspoker is survived by his wife of 59 years, Beryl; three sons, Brien (and wife, Ellen), Mark (and wife, Polina) and Todd (and wife, Alice); and eight grandchildren. No funeral services are planned. Those wishing to contribute to his memory can make donations in his name to the Antelope Valley College Foundation. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!