For more than half a century, as a soldier, attorney and judge, Daniel Luciano loved the law. The former state Supreme Court justice died Monday at home in Oakdale after a long battle with cancer. He was 80.
One of his favorite quotes about his profession was by the 19th century legal scholar Joseph Story: "The law is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favors, but by lavish homage."
Luciano took that to heart, said his son Thomas, also a lawyer. "For my father, the law was everything," he said.
Shortly after he graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1954, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Germany and worked as a military lawyer then.
When he returned home, he set up a civil law practice, handling everything from property tax assessments to tort litigation. Eventually, he became an assistant town attorney in Islip and first was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1982. He presided over civil cases, including real estate, matrimonial and other matters. He was also the first Suffolk judge to handle guardianship proceedings, assigning control over the affairs of those judged unable to care for themselves.
In 1993, he was appointed to serve on the Appellate Term for Nassau and Suffolk and three years later, then-Gov. George Pataki named him as associate justice of the Appellate Division in Brooklyn. Pataki also that year appointed Luciano to serve on the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.
He retired from the bench in 2006.
Thomas Luciano, a law clerk in state Supreme Court in Suffolk, said his father's influence played a role in his own career.
"I really wanted to be a teacher, a college professor," he said. "He encouraged me toward the law. He said to just try it out, and 20 years later, I'm still doing it."
In his father's free time, he loved to spend time on his powerboat in the Great South Bay, Thomas Luciano said. The boat was named the Penuche, after a Spanish chocolate that his wife adored.
"He just loved the boat," said his son.
In addition to his son, who lives in West Sayville, Luciano is survived by his wife, Beverly; a brother, Vincent of Levittown; and a grandson.
Cremation was private. Visiting is Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Chapey's Funeral Home in East Islip. There will be a funeral Mass Friday at 9:45 a.m. at St. John's Nepomucene R.C. Church in Sayville.