SYRACUSE — Hon. James Charles Tormey III, 68, of Syracuse, passed away June 22, 2019 at Crouse Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Syracuse, son of the late James C. and Catherine (Nelson) Tormey Jr. He was also predeceased by his brother Gregory Tormey.
James is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Susan Jane (Toman) Tormey; his children, Andrew James (Kelly Taylor) Tormey and Colleen Elizabeth Tormey; his grandchildren, Jack Andrew Tormey, Kathryn Emerson Tormey and Charles Michael Tormey; sisters Kathleen Tormey, Patricia Malley and Sharon (William) Michaels; brother-in-law Art Malley; sister-in-law Kate Artessa (Richard); numerous and beloved uncle, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins, and his beloved dog, Doolin.
Judge Tormey received his B.A. in Political Science, State University at Cortland in 1972 and his J.D. from Syracuse University School of Law in 1976, admission to the Bar: NYS, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, 1979.
His career accomplishments include Onondaga County, Legislator, 1977-1987, Robert A. Schuh Law Office, Attorney, 1979-1980, Williams, Micale & Wells Law Firm, Attorney and Partner, 1980-1987, Judge, Syracuse City Court, Onondaga County, Elected, 1987-1995, Supreme Court Justice, Onondaga County, Appointed by Governor George E. Pataki, 1995-1995, Supreme Court Justice, Fifth Judicial District, Elected, 1995-2009; Re-elected 2010, Administrative Judge, Fifth Judicial District, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2000-Present.
Judge Tormey was highly recognized and received many distinguished awards throughout his career. He established peer review and mentoring programs for judges and centralized arraignment parts in the 5th District for defendants to obtain attorneys at arraignment. He led pro bono and access to justice initiatives to provide legal representation to all and instituted yearly judicial education conferences for all judges in the 5th Judicial District. He also championed NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore excellence initiatives to ensure the timely adjudication of cases making the 5th District the leader in the state. He established Drug Courts, Opioid Courts, Human Trafficking Court, Youthful Offender Court and pioneered Community Court which took low level offenders into the community to provide community service in lieu of incarceration and presided over the first same-sex marriages in Onondaga County.
Judge Tormey was a devoted family man and was actively involved in the local community for decades. A legislator, attorney, jurist and dedicated public servant, Judge Tormey’s profound impact is immeasurable. He lived by two quotes, “Temper justice with mercy”; and “Justice delayed is justice denied.” He was first to credit his fellow judges, court employees and staff for their relentless dedication to the District’s success. Regardless of position, he treated everyone he met with the same respect. Even with all his accomplishments, he never referred to himself as Judge, it was always Jim. He was forthright and honest; you always knew where you stood with him. His contagious smile, incredible sense of humor and wittiness captured the attention of any crowd or room he entered.
Judge Tormey was tremendously devoted to his family and friends. He was so proud of his son, Andrew, a United States Naval Academy grad and lacrosse All-American; his daughter Colleen, a Villanova alumna and member of the Villanova Advancement staff; his daughter-in-law Kelly Taylor Tormey, head lacrosse coach at Fayetteville-Manlius; and three beautiful grandchildren who were the absolute twinkle in his eye. Camp Tormey on Gananoque Lake provided years of family fun, special memories for his family, and a host of friends who visited.
He tremendously admired President Teddy Roosevelt and one of his favorite quotes was Roosevelt’s: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Judge Tormey was a frequent patron of Green Hills Farms bakery, purchasing dozens of doughnuts for office staff, friends and the city garbage crew on Thursday garbage days.
The Tormey family would like to express sincere thanks to Dr. Anthony Scalzo and staff, Dr. David Simon, dedicated nurses, doctors and staff at Crouse Hospital, especially 4 South and North; family priest and friend, Fr. Fred Mannara; and the outpouring of support and love from so many friends, wonderful neighbors, and community leaders.
A Funeral Mass in celebration of Judge Tormey’s life will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27, 2019 at Most Holy Rosary Church, 111 Roberts Ave., Syracuse, NY.
Private burial will be held in St. Mary’s Cemetery, DeWitt.
Family and friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home, 3401 Vickery Road (corner of Buckley Road) North Syracuse, New York.
Online condolences: tjpfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, the family hopes that you might consider a donation to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of CNY, or a favorite charity in his memory.