Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Few men have served the state of Connecticut in an important judicial capacity as long as did Frederick M. Peasley. He was admitted to the bar at Waterbury in 1895, became deputy judge of the District Court in 1901, and with but slight interruption served as a judge of that court and the Superior Court and as state referee over a period of more than forty years.
Judge Peasley was born at St. Mary's, Ohio, February 9, 1866. He attended Ohio State University for three years. In 1886 he came to Waterbury and entered the employ of The Plume and Atwood Manufacturing Company. Studying law at night by the light of kerosene lamps he helped to manufacture, he ultimately went to the Yale Law School and graduated in 1895. He immediately began to practice law in Waterbury in association with his classmate, the late Terence F. Carmody. Together they edited and published annotations to the General Statutes and other similar legal specialties. Very soon Mr. Peasley began his judicial career.
Upon the bench Judge Peasley was direct, forceful and uncompromising, cutting through form and subterfuge in quest of the truth. Never a mere umpire, he took an active part in each trial, simplifying and shortening it, often by a personal examination of witnesses. In court, and out of it, he gave much, and required much of others. His whole life was one of amazing activity. During the day he worked hard and faithfully as a minister of justice; in early morning and late at night he superintended the scientific conduct of one of Connecticut's largest farms, owned by him and located in Cheshire; yet he always seemed to have plenty of time to help others, to indulge in recreation, and to entertain guests in his beautiful home. He came into any company as a fresh breeze. There was a zest, an eagerness, which was always invigorating. There was never an idle nor a dull moment in his long life.
With no pride in his personal accomplishments, he centered his life in his home and his family. His wife, who was Elizabeth Brooks of Waterbury, and his two daughters, Marion and Harriet, survive. His greatest happiness was in them and in the notable hospitality which he and they lavished upon their many friends. At the age of 77 Judge Peasley was leading a life of almost unbelievable activity. On February 16, 1943, at Pass-a-Grille, Florida, his heart suddenly stopped beating: and that was all - except that he lives on in memory as a just and upright judge, as a man of sparkling personality who loved life and people, and as a friend who has illuminated and broadened the lives of very many of us.