Rudolph Bruer, a Southold Town justice for two decades who began practicing law in 1965, died Wednesday. He was 77.
Mr. Bruer was first elected in 1995, winning a three-candidate race by 519 votes. He served until 2015, when he decided to retire and not seek re-election following his fifth term.
Town officials remembered Mr. Bruer as a family man who admirably served Southold Town.
“He was not only a justice for the town, but a very close friend of mine,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell. “I worked on campaigns with him. I was proud to have actually run one of his campaigns in the past.”
A Southold resident since 1960, Mr. Bruer worked early in his career as a trial attorney in New York for a firm specializing in negligence cases. He had moved to Florida after retiring.
“He was a great friend of mine for 40 years and it was an honor to serve with him for his 20 years on the bench,” said Southold Town Justice Bill Price, who will retire at the end of this year after serving more than 35 years.
Mr. Bruer earned a law degree at Brooklyn Law School after graduating from St. Lawrence University.
In his last election, in 2011, Mr. Bruer faced a challenger for the first time in 12 years. A veteran Republican, Mr. Bruer went up against attorney Brian Hughes, a Republican who ran with Democratic support. Mr. Bruer easily won his re-election bid with 62 percent of the votes.
“He was just a dynamite jurist and just a wonderful person,” Mr. Russell said.
Visitation will take place Saturday at Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. as well as Sunday from 2-6 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Southold. Burial will follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a Meals on Wheels Program.
Top photo: Rudolph Bruer pictured in 2011. (file photo)