Written by Jill Nossa
The 1907 Courthouse building is now known as the Marguerite and Joseph Suozzi Building, marked by a special ceremony held at the North Shore Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 3 to a packed house.
“It’s a great day for the Suozzi family and a great day for the museum. We are so grateful for the Suozzi family for this generous donation,” said Brian Mercadante, president of the museum.
Mercandante then gave some history on the building, which was built in 1907 by the Town of Oyster Bay, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the Gold Coast was in its heyday. He described how it came to be a museum, explaining that Tom Suozzi came up with a plan for redevelopment during his term as mayor of Glen Cove in the 1990s.
“This courtroom as you see it today was brought back to its original condition,” he said.
Several local elected officials spoke; Delia DeRiggi-Whitton expressed her thanks to Joe and Marge Suozzi for all they have done to the community and Charles Lavine’s office presented a citation.
Rosemary Suozzi Lloyd, daughter of Marge and Joe, gave a speech. “The histories and stories of the people of the North Shore will be told for generations,” she said. “Today there are four generations from the Suozzi and Holmes lines that are joining and celebrating this endeavor that will be long associated with the people whose names will echo with the stories of their inspiring lives of service and love.”
The decision to rename the building came from the museum’s naming committee, as both Marge and Joe have devoted a significant part of their lives to the betterment of the North Shore. Prior to the unveiling of the plaque with the new name, a video presentation played, with photos and biographies of each of the honorees.
The Honorable Joseph A. Suozzi was born in Italy and has lived out the American dream of achievement and public service. He attended St. Patrick’s School in Glen Cove and St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay. After majoring in education at Fordham University, he enlisted in the Air Force. As a navigator on a B-24 plane in World War II, he flew 35 missions, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war, he attended Harvard Law School on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1948. He became the law partner of Mayor Luke Mercadante and, in 1949, at the age of 28, he was elected as a Judge of the City Court of Glen Cove, the youngest judge ever elected in New York State. He was elected for two terms as Mayor of Glen Cove, and to two 14-year terms as Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. During his second term, he was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division. He eventually became a senior partner in the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein.
Marguerite Holmes Suozzi was born in Queens. She studied nursing at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and worked as an operating room nurse at Glen Cove Community Hospital after her family moved to Sea Cliff. She met her future husband on the eve of his installation as City Court Judge and they were married four years later. They are the parents of five children, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In addition to her duties as a wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and mother, she has been an avid devotee and supporter of the political campaigns of her husband and her son,
Tom, who served four terms as Glen Cove Mayor and two terms as Nassau County Executive. An enthusiastic gardener and champion golfer, she has also been active in the AARP, Girl Scouts, St.
Patrick’s R.C. Church and most notably, the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival. She has chaired this popular event for more 50 years. Working with a committee of local volunteer residents, Marge has presented programs ranging from opera,ballet and Broadway musicals to swing, jazz and military bands.
“They are living histories of what is possible for our city and for our country when we welcome the stranger and say, ‘you are free here, this land is your land.’ Because of institutions like the North Shore Historical Museum, we will not forget that we are a community, city and country of immigrants like Marge and Joe,” said Lloyd. “They contributed so much to make this place our home.”