This article was contributed and written by Peter Cromarty.
A war hero whose reputation was synonymous with sterling public service on Long Island, Arthur Martin Cromarty, one of New York’s longest sitting Administrative Supreme Court Justices and namesake of the Arthur M. Cromarty Suffolk County Court Complex in Riverhead, died on May 1, 2014, at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Florida. With family members at his side, he passed away from heart failure at the age of 94.
The ninth of 11 children, Arthur was born to Alexander and Ellen Cromarty on July 3, 1919, in Brooklyn, New York. When Arthur was an infant, he and his family relocated to Long Island, settling in Amityville.
A lifelong believer in the importance of education, Arthur began his own schooling at Amityville’s St. Martin of Tours School and Amityville High School, where he served as president of his senior class. He studied transportation and commerce at the University of Alabama, earning a Bachelor of Science, and ultimately received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law.
During World War II, he served his country with distinction as a Captain in the United States Army Air Corps, completing thirty combat missions over Germany and France, for which he was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three clusters. Among the battles and campaigns in which CPT Cromarty took part include the European Theater, Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France, and England, where he flew with legendary actor Jimmy Stewart. His valiant service earned him the European, African and Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon as well as the European Theater of Operation Medal with three Bronze Battle Stars. In 1994, he was awarded the Jubilee Medal from the President of the Regional Council of Lower Normandy, which commemorated the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Normandy Landing and Battle of Normandy.
Shortly after completing his military service, Arthur returned to Long Island and met Ellin Ann Hirsch, a Lindenhurst native who had recently returned to the area after completing Dietary studies at Philadelphia’s prestigious Abington Memorial Hospital. Arthur and Ellin were married in 1947, raised three children together, and were partners in life for more than sixty-six years, remaining inseparable up to the moment of Ellin’s passing in May of 2013. Throughout his life, Arthur credited his wife for all of his personal and professional achievements, often stating that his success would not have been possible without Ellin’s love, support and strength.
Throughout his life, Arthur was a steadfast advocate of public service, and with the undying support of his wife, he carved a career path for himself dedicated to improving the towns and cities of Long Island, as well as creating opportunity for its residents. Immediately after receiving his law degree, Arthur began working as a law clerk for Eugene L. Blumberg, Esq. of Amityville, and quickly became Mr. Blumberg’s law partner after being admitted to the New York State Bar. Only a few years later, Arthur directed his efforts toward serving the public sector, serving as the Village of Lindenhurst Attorney and continuing on to become a Babylon Town Councilman, Babylon Town Supervisor, Chairman of the Board of Suffolk County Supervisors, Suffolk County’s Republican County Leader, Vice Chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority and eventually State Supreme Court Justice. In 1974, he began his tenure as the Administrative Judge for the Suffolk County courts, a position he would hold for seventeen years, earning him the distinction of becoming New York State’s longest presiding Administrative Judge for Suffolk County. During his time on the Bench, Arthur successfully lobbied to significantly expand the size of the Suffolk County Court system, increasing both the number of judges and court facilities. Although Arthur retired from the Bench in 1993, he continued to practice law up until the final months of his life, acting as of counsel to the law firm of Long, Tuminello, LLP and serving as a Judicial Hearing Officer for the New York Court System of Suffolk County.
Arthur’s passion for public service continued beyond his professional accomplishments, as he also was a founding member of both the Lindenhurst and Amityville Kiwanis Clubs, a fourth degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus, as well as an active supporter of countless other charitable organizations.
An accomplished golfer, Arthur was a member of the Southward Ho Country Club in Bay Shore, where he remained a respected player into his senior years.
He is survived by his daughter, Alice Cromarty of Lindenhurst, New York; two sons, Ross Cromarty of Scottsdale, Arizona and Peter Cromarty of Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida; his grandchildren, Emily Murphy of Nashville, Tennessee and Christine Fitzhenry of Babylon, New York; three great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter.
Friends and family may visit at the Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home, 448 West Main Street, Babylon Village, New York on Wednesday, May 7th and Thursday, May 8th from 2:00 to 4:30 and 7:00 to 9:30pm. The Funeral Mass will be at Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Church, Lindenhurst, New York on Friday, May 9th at 9:45am; interment to follow at Breslau Cemetery with full Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Arthur’s memory to St. John’s University School of Law at www.lawgiving.stjohns.edu or by contacting (718) 990-1816.