Frank Grande may have been short in stature, but he was tall in judicial leadership and forward-thinking as the first municipal court judge in Tracy and as a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge.
With a mix of knowledge of the justice system, compassion and wit, Grande broke with legal traditions. Before it became fashionable, he invited the media into his court, with photographers in the courtroom, reporters in his chambers and video recording the proceedings from the bench. Grande went a step farther by being a leader in inviting judges, lawyers and journalists to break bread and discuss their concerns about the justice system at off-the-record monthly bench-bar-media dinners at one of his favorite Stockton Italian restaurants.
As a judge, Grande was at ease with the common folk because he was a community leader outside the courthouse. He served as president of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, president of the McHenry House Family Shelter board and a member of the Tracy Planning Commission, Tracy Rotary Club and Tracy Elks Lodge. He was a property owner throughout Tracy, and he and his wife owned four local Tender Loving Care child-development centers.
These accomplishments in themselves merit adoration of Grande as a true pillar of our community for nearly four decades.