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Philip Kassel, longtime San Bernardino criminal defense attorney, dead at 91

By in Press Enterprise on October 12, 2017

By Joe Nelson

Philip Kassel, a longtime criminal defense attorney and San Bernardino resident, died Tuesday. He was 91.

Kassel “passed peacefully” at 3:50 p.m. at Redlands Community Hospital, his son, Sanford Kassel, said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Born in Colton on June 28, 1926, Philip Kassel moved to San Bernardino at age five and remained there most of his life. He was residing in a retirement home in Yucaipa the last few years of his life, his son, Sanford, said.

The senior Kassel got bit by the law bug as a child attending the now-defunct Jefferson Elementary School in downtown San Bernardino, at Sixth Street and Arrowhead Avenue. He walked past the courthouse daily on his way home from school, gazing in awe at the extravagant building and often dropping in to observe trials in progress.

“He loved the law very much and always found it very interesting and real exciting, ” Sanford Kassel said.

Philip Kassel graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1944, then enlisted in the Marines. He served in the Fourth Marine Regiment, which was a part of the 6th Division. It was the original Marine regiment that was in China during the Boxer Rebellion. They were referred to as the “China Marines,’” Sanford Kassel said.

Kassel served as a rifleman in the Marines, honing his sharpshooting skills at Camp Calvin B. Matthews in La Jolla (aka the Marine Corps Rifle Range). He received the highest score in his platoon – 324 out of a possible 340 – and held that record for six months. Kassel’s achievement was noted in Stars and Stripes.

After leaving the Marines, Kassel enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College in 1946, then transferred in 1948 to the University of Redlands, where, in 1950, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He went on to the University of […]    

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