Royce Lewellen, a retired Santa Barbara County Superior Judge and co-founder of Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards, died Tuesday at the age of 89.
Born in St. Louis, MO., Mr. Lewellen met Louis Lucas in 1975 through the Santa Maria Wine & Food Society. Over the next 25 years, the Lucas and Lewellen families grew a deep friendship that would serve as the foundation for the vineyards. After bonding over lunch and wine in 1966, they set out to produce the finest wines in Santa Barbara County, according to his biography on the winery’s website.
After graduating from the University of Missouri and serving in the Air Force, he arrived in California to study law and graduated from the Boalt School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1957. Mr. Lewellen then moved to Solvang where he launched his own successful legal career.
He eventually served as the Solvang Justice Court Judge and later judge of the Superior Court in Santa Maria, which was renamed the Lewellen Justice Center in his honor. Upon retirement, he continued to serve the courts as an assigned judge and conduct private arbitration and mediation services.
— Mitchell White