Rudolph H. Bruer III, longtime Southold Town Justice and local lawyer known for his soft-spoken demeanor and sense of humor, died on July 12, 2017. He was 77 years old.
Bruer served 20 years on the town bench before deciding to retire in December 2015 — at the urging of his wife, he said in an interview at the time.
“We’ll maybe spend a little bit more time in Florida,” he said. After his retirement from the bench, he continued to maintain an office in the village, across from the Southold Fire Department.
“Rudy was a good friend and an excellent colleague. I am saddened by his passing,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said. “He was always a gentleman and was deeply devoted to his family, his friends and this community. He will be missed.”
Bruer was admitted to the New York State bar in 1965 following his graduation from Brooklyn Law School. He practiced law in New York City before opening an office in Southold. Bruer succeeded Buzz Edson as the attorney handling closings for Southold Savings Bank some 40 years ago, maybe more, Southold Town Justice William Price said today. “My uncle was good friends with Buzz, who had a stroke, and he sent me over there to do whatever they needed help with. “That’s when I first met Rudy,” Price recalled.
“He and I spent an awful lot of time together,” Price said. “He loved jokes. He could see the humor in life. He didn’t take himself all that seriously. When he was working, he was doing his job. But he also knew human frailties, including his own,” Price reflected.
Price, a 36-year jurist, spent 20 of those years with Bruer on the bench in the town court.
“It was an honor to serve with him for those 20 years,” he said. “He was a true colleague and someone you could talk with. He was a real family man. You never had a conversation with Rudy without him talking about his family.”
The Southold Justice Court staff was shocked and saddened to learn of the former judge’s death.
“Judge Bruer was always kind, caring and compassionate with the staff and whoever came in front of him in the courtroom,” said Southold Justice Court director Leanne Reilly. “He was just a gentleman.”
Bruer is survived by his wife Virginia, four children and nine grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, July 15 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday, July 16 from 2 to 6 p.m at the Coster-Heppner Funeral Home, 32470 Main Road, Cutchogue. A funeral Mass will be held on Monday, July 17 at 10 a.m at St. Patrick’s Church, Main Road, Southold. Burial to follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a Meals on Wheels Program.