Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Judge Francis A. Pallotti died at the St. Raphael Hospital, New Haven, on December 21, 1946, ending a distinguished career as a lawyer, public servant and jurist. He was born at Hartford on August 21, 1886. His parents, Nicholas and Maria Antonia Pallotti, came to Hartford from Italy in 1866. He attended the public schools of Hartford and then entered Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he graduated with the class of 1908. In 1911, he was graduated from the Yale Law School.
As a youth at Holy Cross College and the Yale Law School his warm personality and rare character endeared him to his classmates and marked him as one who was to achieve success in the years that followed. At Holy Cross College he was an outstanding athlete and earned his letters in football and baseball. As indicative of his ability as an athlete, it is worthy to note that the late Major Cavanaugh, who was then coach of football at Holy Cross College and later at Boston College and Fordham University, named Judge Pallotti on his All-Time Football Team. This tribute Judge Pallotti cherished very highly in the late years of his life. At the Yale Law School he was elected president of his class, and after graduation he presided at all the class reunions.
Upon his graduation from the Yale Law School he commenced the practice of law in the office of the late John W. Coogan in Hartford and continued as an active practitioner until his appointment as a judge of the Superior Court on July 6, 1945.
On April 12, 1915, Judge Pallotti married Mary Agnes Verdi, of New Haven, who survives. He is also survived by a son, Nicholas A. Pallotti, who served for four years in World War II and who is now a student at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and by a daughter, Rosemary Leone.
Throughout his life, Judge Pallotti took an active interest in the affairs of his city, state and country. He served the city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut, with the utmost honesty and distinction, in many and varied offices. From 1911 to 1917 he was a member of the board of street commissioners of the city of Hartford; from 1917 to 1921 he was a judge of the Hartford Police Court; from 1922 to 1928 he was secretary of the state of Connecticut; and from 1938 until July 6, 1945, when he was appointed to the Superior Court bench, he was attorney general of the state.
He was a member of the National Association of Attorney Generals and served this association as president during the year 1943. He was also a member of many business, social and civic organizations. The ones which were closest to his heart, however, were those which afforded him opportunity to be of help to others. The Disabled Veterans' Camp Fund, of which he was chairman, St. Francis Hospital, of which he was director, and St. Anthony's Church of Hartford, of which he was trustee, always played a prominent part in his life, for they presented to him the greatest opportunity to help those in need of spiritual as well as physical and financial aid.
Judge Pallotti considered the practice of law a privilege, and in his career as a lawyer he was faithful and loyal to his clients, just to his adversaries, and frank and open with the court. He considered the holding of public office a trust, and in the discharge of his duties in the many offices which he held he was always moved by a desire to do those things which were for the public good. As a judge of the Hartford Police Court, he was kind and considerate to the unfortunate who appeared before him and who deserved consideration, yet he was firm with the hardened criminal and those who habitually violated rules of decency as well as man-made laws. As secretary of state, he acted in a manner which made those who had occasion to deal with him feel that he was a true servant of the people. As attorney general, he gave of his time and energy without stint and was often to be found working in his office in the late hours of the night. His office was always open to all who sought his advice, and no one, whatever his station in life may have been, ever found it difficult to see him. In his brief career as a judge of the Superior Court, he earned the respect and affection of his colleagues on the bench as well as the respect of the members of the bar. His decisions were just, and his treatment of those who appeared before him was such that it inspired in them confidence in and respect for our courts.
It is difficult to reduce to writing in a memorial the many noble characteristics possessed by Judge Pallotti. Perhaps the outstanding of these was his desire to help those in need and his devotion to duty. No person in need was ever turned away from his office. On many occasions he served clients in important litigation without compensation. He contributed liberally in order to help boys obtain an education, and on many occasions he paid the tuition of a number of boys attending college without their knowing of his contributions. His devotion to duty could only be surpassed by his devotion to his family, and this was best exemplified by the fact that in the last days of his life, though sick and physically weak, he persisted in holding court. He completed his short calendar work in New Haven in the afternoon of Friday, December 20, 1946; he was driven to his home in Hartford; and on the morning of December 21, 1946, he was taken to the St. Raphael Hospital, where he died in the same evening.
Judge Pallotti was a firm believer in our democratic way of life. In his passing, the state of Connecticut has lost a good citizen, a learned judge, and a sincere public servant.