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This event is a cocktail reception which includes light appetizers and wine.

 

A cash bar will be available.

 

 

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THEODORE H. COMINOS

 

            Theodore Harry Cominos (“Ted”) was born in Salinas, the second son of Harry and Helen Cominos, on May 24, 1924.  As the son of immigrants, Ted’s story is a part of the fabric of America.

 

            Ted’s grandparents lived on the Greek island of Kythera.  They had six sons.  In 1911, Ted’s grandfather faced the possibility that each of his sons would be conscripted into the Greek army.  Rather than allow that to happen, he shipped his sons, one by one, to the United States.  All of them landed in San Francisco and Ted’s father took a job as a waiter at the Palace Hotel in that city.

 

            Soon the Cominos brothers moved south to Monterey County and settled in Salinas.  In 1922, Greek relatives arranged for Helen to come to Salinas and marry Harry.  Their families had been neighbors in Kythera.

 

            After working as a waiter at the old Del Monte Hotel (today the site of the Naval Postgraduate School), Harry and his brothers opened their own restaurant in Salinas.  This restaurant became so popular with the locals that the brothers were emboldened in 1922 to purchase an old hotel, the Abbott House on the 100 block of Main Street and to remodel it in a lavish manner.  The Abbott House was the first brick building in Salinas the year it became a city, 1874.

 

“The Cominos,” as it was called, was the grandest hotel in Salinas, having 110 rooms and with imported marble fireplaces in many rooms and an opulent oak bar. It boasted the first elevator in the area. Virtually every dignitary who visited Salinas stayed there--Salinas was an important town, and dignitaries including presidents Taft, Hoover and Coolidge stayed at the hotel, as did every governor of California from Juan Bautista Alvarado to Pat Brown. Senators and state legislators were frequent visitors.  John Steinbeck was often found sitting and drinking at the bar when in town visiting his mother who still lived in his boyhood home just two blocks away.  Sadly, the hotel was badly damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and was demolished by the City of Salinas.  Today, the property is occupied by the newly built international headquarters of Taylor Farms.

Ted was born in a private residence on Central Avenue in 1924.  By the time he was in his early teens, he had performed every job possible for a boy of his age at the hotel – elevator operator, bellboy, busboy and garage man.  Ted attended and graduated from Salinas High School in 1942.

 

            Of course, Ted could not immediately attend college as there was a war in progress and, like all men in his age group, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in an infantry division between 1942 and 1945.

 

            Returning to his family after the war, Ted needed to make some choices about college and beyond.  He began his matriculation at the University of California at Santa Barbara and while there, met John McCutcheon, a man whose friendship changed his life.

 

            The friendship with John McCutcheon led to the two moving to Washington D.C. where each completed their undergraduate degrees and finally to each starting law school in Montana.  Now that Ted had found a profession to which he aspired, he transferred to the University of San Francisco from which he graduated in June of 1951.  Mr. McCutcheon meanwhile moved back to his native Washington state where he began a distinguished legal career.  Ted maintained a friendship with Mr. McCutcheon until his death in approximately 20 years ago.

            Ted was admitted to the California Bar on January 17, 1952 and began practicing in a small office in the bank building on the corner of South Main and Alisal Street.  That building housed a number of young lawyers who had come to practice in the city, such as Sidney Church, Jack Abramson and Albert Worth.

 

            Ted’s practice was very small indeed.  He rented two offices and his father, Harry, often came to work as his secretary.  He charged clients $15 per hour, then the prevailing legal fee for young lawyers.

 

            In the middle of the 1960’s, Ted entered into a partnership with Eugene Epstein, an excellent trial lawyer from San Francisco and Larry Shostak, an adroit family law attorney.  Ted handled business matters, Gene was the litigator, and Larry did the divorces.  A “full service” firm to be sure.  That firm was housed on the opposite corner of South Main and Alisal, across from the bank building and directly facing the large Dick Bruhn department store.

            By the mid-1970’s, the firm hired associates – many of whom went on to very successful practices in Monterey County, e.g., West Clark, Ron Granberg, Steve Fredkin and Larry Biegel.

            In 1981, the firm dissolved, and Ted went into a new partnership with Larry Biegel.  Known as “Cominos and Biegel,” that partnership endured for 17 years, when Larry left to form an office in Monterey with his wife, Tina.

  

Over its lifetime, Cominos and Biegel had a number fine associates, all of whom went onto to exemplary careers: Billie French, Mollie Abel Warner, Vicki Schermer-Kleinkopf and Joe Cisneros.  In fact, two legal assistants at the firm went on to law school and became actively engaged in the practice of law: Susan Chapman, now Monterey County’s Public Defender and Maggie Clark, an estate planning specialist.

 

Since 1998, Ted has practiced at the same location with the help of associates Karin Richards and Peter Brazil, the latter now associated with the JRG firm down the street.  Peter’s senior partner at his new firm is Jeff Gillis and Jeff rented space from Ted and Larry before beginning to build a large multi-attorney practice in Salinas.

 

            Throughout his career, Ted has been the consummate transactional lawyer, helping his clients with business formations and dissolutions, marital, tax, corporate and real property matters.  Today, at almost 95 years of age, Ted goes into the office almost every day --   “Because my clients need me, and frankly I need them to stay active.”

 

            Ted has two incredibly talented adult children.  Ted Cominos Jr., a graduate of the Monterey College of Law, lives in the Chicago area, is a partner in the firm Faegre, Baker and Daniels.  Julia Cominos earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and has been involved in numerous successful business ventures.

 

Ted Cominos has a State Bar number lower than any other attorney practicing today in Monterey County: 22967.  His life has been dedicated to the law and that has consumed 65 years.  Ted Cominos is an example of someone who loves the law and the people he has met over all those years.

 

 


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