Palestine Texas High School - Class of 1967

John Christopher Kolstad, 69

The Palestine community lost a man of passion, friends and family said, when retired Anderson County Court of Law Judge John “Chris” Kolstad died Aug. 13, at Palestine Regional Medical Center.

“He loved the law,” Kolstad's wife Mary told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “He loved being able to help people through court. Along with family and church, law was his greatest passion.”

Although Kolstad had been battling many illnesses, including pancreatic cancer, for a lengthy period, Mary Kolstad said her husband's passing still came as a shock.

“He had health problems,” she said. “But, I didn't think it was anything he would die from. We've been married for 35 years.”

Kolstad, 69, served as judge from 1989, when County Commissioners appointed him to the bench after presiding Judge Bascom Bentley was appointed to the District Court, until 2002.

A consummate jurist, Kolstad earned a doctorate of jurist prudence degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Mary Kolstad said her husband practiced law before and after his time on the bench, and also taught law for over 20 years at Trinity Valley Community College.

“I'd forgotten about his teaching until I received some condolence emails from his former students,” she said. “From all the calls, Facebook messages and emails I've received, I realize he was loved even more than I knew.”

Kolstad's friend of over 20 years, local attorney Scott Nicholson, told the Herald-Press that when Kolstad was not with family, or on the bench, he would typically be found at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, where they both worshiped.

“He was incredibly active; always doing something for the church,” Nicholson said. “He was a great man who never had an unkind word to say about anyone.”

Kolstad loved the community, volunteering often with charities like the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life, a national charity his wife Mary brought to Anderson County.

As a founding member of the board of directors for Anderson/Cherokee Community Enrichment Services, or ACCESS, Kolstad used his experience and knowledge of the law to petition state government for additional funding, as well as recognition.

“He didn't resign his position with ACCESS until last week,” Mary Kolstad said. “He wanted to help as much as he could.”

Part of a historical Palestine family, friends said Kolstad made his own mark on the community and he will be missed.

“He was a public servant for a long time and a personal friend of my father,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston told the Herald-Press. “The community has lost a beloved jurist. He was just a good guy.”

Source: Palestine Herald Press, August 16, 2018

John Christoper Kolstad

Service Schedule

Services for the Honorable Judge John Christopher Kolstad will be held at
1 p.m., Saturday, at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 106 E. Crawford, Palestine; reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorials be sent to St. Philip's Episcopal Church.

Kolstad is survived by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. P.A. Kolstad; wife Mary Seat Kolstad; daughter Laura Kolstad Blanchard; son Jonathan Weaver; and sister Lue Stevener.