Arthur Cromarty, State Supreme Court justice and war hero, dies at 94

Arthur Martin Cromarty, a former state Supreme court

Arthur Martin Cromarty, a former state Supreme court justice, decorated World War II veteran and the namesake of the Suffolk county court complex in Riverhead, died May 1 from heart failure at the age of 94.

Arthur Martin Cromarty, a former State Supreme Court justice, decorated World War II veteran and the man for whom the Suffolk County Court complex in Riverhead is named, died last Thursday from heart failure at the age of 94.

Cromarty's public service spanned decades in which he held town, county and state office. The Riverhead complex was named in his honor, following his 17 years as administrative judge for the county court system, and two terms as a State Supreme Court justice.

"He was an old school gentleman," said David H. Beso, managing partner of Long Tuminello, a Bay Shore law firm where Cromarty was "of counsel" from 1993 until just months before his death. "He basically worked his way up to the top of the legal profession."

Cromarty, of Lindenhurst, served as that village's attorney in the early 1950s before being elected to the Babylon Town council in 1956, and eventually rising to Babylon Town supervisor from 1958 to 1963. He also served as chairman of the Board of Suffolk County Supervisors and was vice chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority.

Born in Brooklyn on July 3, 1919, Cromarty was the ninth of 11 children. As an infant, his family relocated to Amityville, where he attended St. Martin of Tours School and Amityville High School, serving as senior class president.

Cromarty graduated from the University of Alabama in 1942 and earned his law degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1948, said his son Peter Cromarty of Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

He was a captain in the Army Air Corps during World War II, completing more than 30 combat missions, including some alongside legendary actor Jimmy Stewart, his son said.

After the war, Cromarty returned to Long Island and married Lindenhurst native Ellin Ann Hirsch in 1947. The couple had three children: Peter, Alice Cromarty of Lindenhurst and Ross Cromarty of Scottsdale, Arizona.

"Together they made an exceptional team and worked the campaign trail from clambakes in Montauk to cocktails in Manhattan," Peter Cromarty recalled. Ellin Cromarty died last May at the age of 87.

Cromarty is survived by his three children, two grandchildren, three great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home, 448 West Main St. in Babylon. The funeral Mass will be held at 9:45 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Lindenhurst, followed by burial at Breslau Cemetery in Lindenhurst with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Cromarty's memory to St. John's University School of Law, online at https://lawgiving.stjohns.edu/Default.aspx or by calling 718-990-1816.

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