John A. Nejedly ’41, former state senator and lifelong environmental activist, died in Walnut Creek, California, last week following a stroke. He was 91.
Nedjedly was elected to the 7th Senatorial District in March 1969, where he served for a decade. He was acknowledged as a tireless leader in the fight to protect California’s natural resources and recognized as an expert in water policy. Nejedly, who served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildlife, authored major environmental protection legislation, including the Pesticide Control Act, which eliminated the use of DDT, and the Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act of 1972. He was also responsible for numerous bills related to the state park system, wildlife protection and management, and forestry, and spearheaded the creation of many Contra Costa County parks and trails through state park bonds. As state senator, he also authored reform of the state’s criminal justice sentencing procedures.
Nejedly served as Walnut Creek City attorney from 1946 to 1959, and as a Contra Costa County District Attorney until 1969. He also worked on behalf of children, donating 80 acres of land in the Sierra for a wilderness camp for disabled and disadvantaged youth.
Nejedly was born in Oakland, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1935 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned his law degree from Boalt in 1941, and served as a Japanese-language officer for an intelligence unit of the Army Air Forces. He is survived by his daughter, Mary Piepho; sons James Nejedly and John T. Nejedly; stepson Greg Rossi; and nine grandchildren.