STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (SI Advance) -- Retired Justice Thomas R. Sullivan, a lifelong Staten Islander and a titan in the legal community, died yesterday in Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze. He was 85.
Known for his wisdom, fairness and uncanny memory, Justice Sullivan often regaled visitors with his sweeping knowledge of Island history and stories about colorful figures from the past.
The retired appellate jurist once said he has been "exceedingly fortunate" with the positions he attained over the course of his career. "I enjoyed each. At that particular time, each job seemed particularly right for me."
Justice Sullivan's legal career spanned more than half a century. Prior to taking the bench in January 1983, he served as the borough's district attorney. His stint in that post crowned 18 years spent under former District Attorney John M. Braisted Jr.
Justice Sullivan was always a strong voice for preservation of the family unit, which was also reflected in his strong Catholic faith.
Just this month, he was honored with the unveiling of his portrait in state Supreme Court.
Despite the standing ovation he received, Justice Sullivan was typically humble.
"This has been a great day for me," he said. " I can't get over the fact that everyone is here to honor me in such fashion. I thank everyone."
The Harmon Home for Funerals, West Brighton, is handling the arrangements, which are pending.
A complete obituary will appear in tomorrow's Advance and online at SILive.com.
By Staten Island Advance
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