Frederick Tedeschi, retired town justice, dies at 98

Frederick Tedeschi, a longtime judge in Greenport Village and Southold Town, died at his home in Southold on Thursday. He was 98.

A graduate Columbia University School of Law and a World War II veteran, Mr. Tedeschi was a practicing attorney for almost 40 years before serving as Greenport Village Justice from 1977 to 1979.

Then, Mr. Tedeschi was appointed on July, 24, 1979 to fill the unexpired term of Town Justice Martin Suter, who had resigned to run for supervisor. He then ran for the position, which was up that same year, unopposed. He served four terms in the seat.

Former Greenport Mayor Dave Kapell said Mr. Tedeschi was generous with his counsel, always a willing ear and always honest.

“It’s hard to overstate his central role in the community, particularly in Greenport,” former Greenport Mayor Dave Kapell said Friday. “He was the best friend you could have. He was fiercely loyal.”

Mr. Kapell called Mr. Tedeschi a good family friend, beyond professional relationship in the village and in real estate.

Mr. Tedeschi would tell Mr. Kapell how some people he had sentenced to thank him.

Before making his way to Greenport, where he ran his own law practice, Mr. Tedeschi was a successful attorney in Long Island City, Mr. Kapell said.

He had a reputation of of being “indomitable, but in a good way,” Mr. Kapell said.

“He would fight for his clients,” he said.

Mr. Kapell, now a real estate broker, said he can remember countless times when after closings, the other side would approach them and said they wish Mr. Tedeschi had been their attorney.

“He was a good teacher in the practice of law,” said Bill Price, who retired from his Town Justice seat last year after 36 years. “He was tough but fair.”

Mr. Tedeschi retired from the position of Town Justice in 1995. Justice Rudolph Bruer, who died in July at age 77, was elected to the seat and held it for 20 years.

“There is a good reason why incumbent Town Justice Frederick Tedeschi is unopposed— the opposition party realizes he is the best person for the job,” The Suffolk Times editorial board wrote in a 1991 endorsement of Mr. Tedeschi, the last year he ran for election. “With or without an opponent, we believe Judge Tedeschi deserves to be returned to the bench.”

Mr. Tedeschi’s family will receive visitors Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14,  at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church in Southold, officiated by Father John Barrett. Interment will follow at East Marion Cemetery.

Photo: Frederick Tedeschi when he ran in 1983. (File photo)

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