Rudolph J. Basile

Rudolph J. Basile
Rudolph J. Basile

Rudolph John Basile passed away on Aug. 29, 2013 at his family home in Laguna Beach. He was 86.

R. John or Rudy was born at home in New York City on March 10, 1927, to John and Maria (Raia) Basile, with two older brothers and a sister, a first-generation American.  He grew up in the Ravenswood Italian immigrant community in Queens and later Astoria.

Having experienced the depression as a youth and the end of WWII at 17, serving across the Mediterranean, Basile came away with an appreciation that the most important things were compassion for all those around you and enjoying one’s life every single day.

He attended Catholic University and St. John’s, where he majored in philosophy and received a law degree.  The combination allowed him to bring a wondrous appreciation for everything from history to science to all those around him and to always stay one guiding step ahead of his two children.

As the adventurer in the family, he moved from New York to California in the early ‘50s, there meeting his wife, Phillis, a future Orange Coast College professor, union leader and vice-chancellor for the community college district. They would remain together for 55 years, raising a family and creatively supporting each other in all of their life-long dreams.

As an attorney, Basile participated in one of the first poverty law programs in Indio, sponsored VISTA attorney Stephen Engelhardt in Tulelake Calif., and for many years maintained a law practice in both Orange and Modoc counties, making sure that his clients were given a fair opportunity to be heard in court.  Later, along with Robert Domengine, he owned and ran the Clamdigger Restaurant in Birch Bay, Wash.

Independent thinking and helping all those around him to enjoy life were his guiding goals—along with an infectious and insightful smile and an all-encompassing laugh.

He was a wonderful and nurturing father to Katherine (Katy) and George; a supportive father-in-law to Michael (Fero) and Christina (Faris); and a loving grandfather to Kelly, Allie, Shelby and Mostyn (Fero) and Connor and Delaney (Basile).  He also is survived by his older brother Matthew Basile.

He will be greatly missed and will remain a source of inspiration for all of those he touched.  A remembrance will be held at noon on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1000 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.


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  1. Hello from Saginaw, MI. Rudy was my mother’s (Connie McDougall) cousin and I remember him coming to our home in the early 1970’s. I didn’t know much about him but I knew he was someone very special. May he Rest in Peace.


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