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Justice Frank Torres

Pelham, New York

My name is Alma Torres-Warner. This is about my oldest brother, Retired Justice Frank Torres, born in New York City of Puerto Rican parents. Frank became a Boy Scout, Troop 680; attorney, 1957; Assistant District Attorney, Bronx County 1958-1962; Administrator in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); New York State Assemblyman, 1963; Judge of the Family Court State of New York, 1980; Justice of New York State Supreme Court, 1985; Mentor to aspiring Hispanic law students, many who now sit as judges within the New York State Unified Court System, his proudest achievement.

(Pictured above, from left to right: Austin Torres, Felipe Neri Torres, Frank Torres, standing before side entrance of Appellate Division Courthouse, Manhattan on Dec. 11, 1961, the day Austin was admitted to the bar.)

Frank was born January 25, 1928 to my father, the late Felipe Neri Torres, Judge of the Family Court, and his first wife Flerida Berrios. Frank and our sister, Aida Torres, were products of that marriage. While Aida remained with her mother, at age 4 ½ Frank was brought to live in the home of Felipe and his second wife, (my mother) Puerto Rican-born Inocencia (Censita) Bello de Torres. This marriage produced Velia, Austin and me (Alma). Ours was a bilingual home where we learned to speak, read and write Spanish and English. My parents required us to learn musical instruments. We attended the Manhattan School of Music. Frank studied violin and viola.

Justice Frank Torres received his schooling in New York City. He attended P.S. 103 Manhattan; Junior High School 184 and graduated from Stuyvesant High School, then located at 15th Street. Like our late father, Judge Felipe Neri Torres before him, Frank graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science from The City College of New York. He received his Bachelor of Laws from St. John’s University Law School in 1955.

Justice Frank Torres was married for sixty-three years to the late Yolanda Marquez Torres, a tenured faculty member of the Psychology Department at The City College of New York. They had four children: Andrea Torres Mahone, retired nursery school teacher; Ramon Torres, retired New York City Housing Authority Assistant, writer, actor; Pamela Celeste Torres who died of Leukemia at age 4 (after which the Pamela C. Torres Day Care Center in the Bronx was founded by Justice Frank Torres and his wife Yolanda); and Analisa Torres, appointed in April, 2013 by President Barack Obama to the distinguished bench of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Justice Frank Torres and Justice Analisa Torres represent the second and third generations of judges in the Puerto Rican family of the late Judge Felipe Torres.

After the passing of his wife Yolanda on July 24, 2013, Justice Frank Torres has relocated to the home of his daughter Andrea and son-in-law Glenn R. Mahone in Pittsburgh where he continues keeping current with world, national and New York City news.

The papers of Justice Frank Torres and Judge Felipe Neri Torres have been donated to Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos at Hunter College’s Silberstein Building, 2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street, Room 121, in N.Y., N.Y. Centro, an internationally recognized archival library, contains information regarding the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Individuals interested in obtaining information about the lives and contributions of my father and brother, may contact Senior Archivist Pedro Juan Hernandez, (212) 396-7877 or dhernand@hunter.cuny.edu for an appointment to visit Centro and access their files. Combined examination of both files yields information about the Puerto Rican community and culture in New York City beginning with the arrival of Judge Felipe Neri Torres in 1919 as a “Pionero”.