Francis Rhinow

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Francis Rhinow, a former Greenport Justice Court judge with a resume reflecting his long career in criminal justice, died July 5 at his home in the village. He was 92.

Mr. Rhinow was elected Greenport justice in March 1985, following a career that had taken him from legal aid attorney to United States attorney and assistant Suffolk County district attorney before becoming acting Suffolk County district attorney in 1974.

A graduate of St. John’s University Law School, in 1962 he joined the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in 1962. A decade later, he became chief of the complaint bureau and executive assistant to then district attorney George Aspland. Mr. Rhinow was named interim district attorney in 1974.

In 1975, Mr. Rhinow was placed in charge of the East End criminal courts, and in 1978 he became administrative assistant to then district attorney Patrick Henry.

“Frank Rhinow, with his wealth of information and experience, has long been a tremendous asset to this office, and I am looking forward to working with him in his new and most important position,” Mr. Henry said at the time.

Mr. Rhinow was serving in the DA’s appeals section in 1982 when, determined to give the East End representation on the court, he decided to seek election as a Suffolk County Court judge. There were 11 county judges on the court, but not one from the East End, Mr. Rhinow said.

Running with only Conservative Party backing, he was the only candidate in the race without cross endorsements from the Democratic and Republican parties. He lost to Charles Cacciabaudo.

Born in Brooklyn, he and his wife, Loretta, maintained their residence in that borough. But following the lead of other family members, they bought a summer home in Greenport.

Mr. Rhinow served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, during which a brother, William, was killed in action.

According to family members, he had been ill for some time. He spent several days at Peconic Bay Medical Center last week.

Predeceased by his wife in 2004, he is survived by four children, William and Gregory, both of Greenport, Dennis, of Alexandria, Va., and Lorraine Garvilla of Forest Hills.

Visiting hours were held July 7 at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. A funeral Mass will be offered at St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport today, Thursday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m., followed by burial with military honors at the church cemetery.