CHENANGO COUNTY — The seats of the Chenango County Court were filled by family, friends, and colleagues of the late Hon. Irad Ingraham Friday, during a memorial service to celebrate his life and career.
Elizabeth Garry, 16th Presiding Justice of the Third Department of the Appellate Division, presided over the ceremony and shared the impact that Ingraham had on her life and career.
"It is so suitable and appropriate that we gather here this morning to share a few words and a few stories together about a man who was indisputably one of the very finest citizens our county and our region has ever known," said Garry. "We are also joined by two of his other, former law clerks … who share with me the experience of learning, as brand new lawyers, from his tremendous practical experience and caring approach to the law, from his wisdom, from his strength of character. These are such notable traits worthy of our recognition today."
Ingraham is remembered for his expansive career in the law field, elected as Chenango County District Attorney in 1970, Chenango County Court Judge in 1975, and Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Sixth Judicial District in 1984.
Later in his life, Ingraham pursued another passion and took up painting, studying at the Art Student's League in New York City. His specialty was portraits, a few of which were of fellow area judges, and still hang in the Chenango County Courthouse today.
A total of 12 city, county, and state judges attended the service. Retired Chenango County Court Judge Howard Sullivan, Supreme Court Justice Joseph McBride, Chenango County Judge Frank Revoir, and retired Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dowd spoke at the ceremony to share fond memories of their friend and colleague.
"Irad was a big part of my life. He came along at the right time, and he helped me in my career. He was a mentor, a friend, a role model to me, and I would never have been able to achieve the things that I have, had it not been for Irad," said Sullivan, a colleague and longtime friend of Ingraham.
"I enjoyed every moment I ever spent with Judge Ingraham," said Revoir. "He was a very talented man and certainly a fantastic judge, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to have him be a small part of my life."
Not only was Ingraham remembered for his character and kindness, but also for his sense of humor.
"In 1990, I had been a criminal lawyer and I was now starting a civil practice. Irad was a civil judge and was helping me along the way. Every step of the way," said McBride. "I may or may not have had a very, very loud voice in this very room. Now one time he interrupted me and said, 'Counselor, do you think I'm sleeping?'"
The Hon. Irad Ingraham had a significant impact on those in his life, and left a lasting legacy that is carried by those whose lives were touched by his generosity, integrity, and good nature.
"I can't for the life of me remember the day that I met Irad for the first time," shared Dowd. "That day proves to be one of the moments in my life that changed the trajectory of my life."
"The best of the bunch can make you see and understand that your professional life as well as your personal life should be based upon certain mutable principles. These are honesty, integrity, fairness, compassion, and a good understanding of the human condition. A belief in truth, and good character, and good principles. A commitment to honor," he continued. "A person like this most of us call a mentor. Me, I call him Irad."