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Long IslandObituaries

Francis Rhinow, 92, success in law and beloved father

Francis Rhinow, who was born in Brooklyn and got his law degree from St. John's Law School, spent most of his professional life in the field of criminal law, going from a Legal Aid attorney to United States attorney and Assistant Suffolk district attorney and - in January, 1974, after District Attorney George Aspland took office as a Supreme Court justice - becoming acting Suffolk County district attorney.

But his last job may have been his best. He was elected a decade later as village justice in Greenport, where he and his wife brought their family after leaving Brooklyn.

Rhinow, 92, died at his home in Greenport on Monday. He had spent several days last week in Peconic Bay Medical Center, and had been ill for some time, according to his son, Gregory.

Rhinow's family had a summer house in Greenport for generations, and it was natural for Francis and his wife to move out there, even after he started a small law practice in Brooklyn.

"We had relatives out here, and we would stay with them. He would go in on Sunday, and come back Friday night. I remember just waiting for the train to come in," his son Gregory Rhinow said.

Another son living in Greenport, William, remembers his father belonged to a swim club on Shelter Island. And, he added, his father would swim from Greenport to Shelter Island - a 10-minute ferry ride away.

"Way back when, we had a lot of diving trophies from Shelter Island," William Rhinow said. "Great grandma Rhinow came over from Germany, and we always had a summer house here in Greenport . . . it was nice. I loved it out here on the water, clamming and fishing and going into the swamps. So many things have changed, and so many are still the same. You can't take away the views from the sound or the bays."

Gregory remembers going into the city with his father, and going to baseball games with him. He recalls one very special ballgame they shared - Game Four of the 1969 World Series. "That was the big one. When you wanted to go to the World Series, we just mailed in our money and they sent us tickets. Can you believe that? Imagine doing that today."

Rhinow served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. His brother, William, a Marine corporal, was killed in the war.

Rhinow married his wife, Loretta, in 1940. She died in 2003.

He is survived by four children, William and Gregory, both of Greenport; Dennis of Alexandria, Va.; and Lorraine Garvilla of Forest Hills, Queens.

There will be a visitation Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. Mass will be offered Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Greenport, followed by interment with military honors at the church cemetery.

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