Tree Dedicated in Cortlandt for Former Town Justice Klein

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi presented a plaque to the family of Gerald Klein during a ceremony Friday.

Former Cortlandt Town Justice Gerald Klein was lauded Friday “as a truly special man” during a tree memorial dedication at Cortlandt Town Hall.

Klein, who served on the bench in Cortlandt for 28 years, died November 13, 2020 at the age of 76. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented an earlier ceremony in his honor.

“Even though Gerry Klein will be remembered by all of us in the town and greater community as a long-serving town justice, that was only one part of his life,” Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi remarked to more than 100 family, friends, clients and others who gathered for the ceremony. “Gerry was a devoted family man to his lovely wife Lee and to their three children, to his many friends, to several community organizations and to his faith.”

Former Town Justice Daniel McCarthy said he and Klein shared a mutual admiration and respect during their time together in town court.

“This speaks volumes for what Gerry was about,” McCarthy said in reference to the standing room-only crowd. “He was a consummate professional, a bright, intelligent man.”

Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker talked about Klein’s “very dry sense of humor.”

“He would always make you laugh,” she said. “He was a kind, honest, decent man. He is so missed. He really just loved people.”

Klein was a longtime congregant at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, an active member of the Croton Lion’s Club, a board member and pro bono attorney of the Cortlandt Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a member of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce (HVGCC).

“There are many different ways we choose to live our lives. Gerry lived a very full life, balancing so many things—happily, calmly and fairly,” said Cortlandt Councilman Dr. Richard Becker.

Businessman Mark Franzoso, a member of the HVGCC, said Klein, who served as his attorney, taught him how to swim when they first met at a camp in 1965.

“Gerry was just a wonderful human being. I am blessed to have known him for so long,” Franzoso said.

In addition to the planting of an Eastern Redbud, the Klein family was given a special plaque.

“He really took his values to heart and really lived them,” said Klein’s son Jake.


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