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07/03/09 06:56 AM

Francis L. Pritchard, Grand Island town justice

Jan. 15, 1920 –June 30, 2009

Francis L. “Bud” Pritchard, a longtime Grand Island town justice and a highly regarded attorney, died Tuesday in Riverwood Health Care Facility, Grand Island, following a long illness. He was 89.

Known for his friendly nature, his intelligence and quick wit, Mr. Pritchard worked as an attorney for nearly six decades and was also active in a huge range of volunteer activities on Grand Island.

He was also a World War II veteran who joined the Army six weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, served as a combat infantry platoon leader in Germany and reached the rank of captain.

“Bud was a legend. Practically everyone on Grand Island knew him and his great sense of humor,” said James P. Kennedy, a federal prosecutor who was one of many local attorneys who considered Pritchard a mentor. “He had many, many good friends in the legal community of Buffalo and outlived most of them. Bud will be sorely missed.”

He grew up in the Riverside area and graduated in 1937 from Riverside High School.

In 1946, he enrolled in the University of Buffalo, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and then entered the law school. His law school classmates included many who later became prominent Buffalo lawyers, including Michael F. Dillon, a former Erie County district attorney and county judge, and former state judges John Dillon and Thomas Mc- Mahon.

Mr. Pritchard began working as a lawyer in private practice in 1951, forming a partnership with the late Edward W. Kinney.

In 1957, he moved to Grand Island and became one of the town’s attorneys. In 1972, he ran for judge and was elected. Over the next 28 years, he had dealings with thousands of town residents until retiring as a judge in 2000.

After that, he continued working in his Grand Island law practice, with partner Deborah Kennedy- Rogaza, until his death.

His service in World War II earned him the Bronze Star, and he stayed in the reserves until 1960, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

The many organizations that Mr. Pritchard volunteered in over the decades included the Grand Island Human Rights Commission, Huth Road Parent Teacher Association, Grand Island Lions Club, Grand Island Boy Scout Troop 254 and Riverside Scout Troop 239.

He was a longtime member of the Grand Island Veterans of Foreign Wars post, Grand Island Moose Lodge, Erie County Bar Association, Erie County and New York magistrates associations and the American Bar Association.

In 1975, he was named Grand Island citizen of the year by the town’s Chamber of Commerce, and for many years, he served as master of ceremonies at the island’s annual Independence Day Parade.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Ellie Gaschnitz, and two daughters, Cheryl Organ and Jackie Mordaunt.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a. m. July 11 in Trinity Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island.