(1929 - 2020)
Peter Edward De Blasio died peacefully at his home on Friday December 18, 2020, of natural causes, his wife by his side. He was 91. He was a New York trial lawyer of great renown, recognized as one of the nation's top 35 plaintiff's attorneys when inducted into The Inner Circle of Advocates in 1973 and, some years later, as one of the world's 500 best lawyers by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Among the last of The Greatest Generation, Peter was incomparably charismatic and indefatigably competitive. During his four years at Columbia College, he played on the football, baseball, basketball and golf teams, was the University-wide handball champion, and in 1947 was part of the legendary Columbia squad to defeat #l-ranked Army, 21-20, still considered the greatest upset in college football history. After a stint in the Navy, he entered Columbia Law School and upon graduation went straight to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York where he was a federal prosecutor for four years. The rest of his 50-year career he devoted to defending his fellow New Yorkers as the State's leading personal injury plaintiff's lawyer, taking more than 500 cases to trial and setting many records, among them the first 8-figure verdict in New York history. He also on five occasions represented criminal defendants, including one of the two men charged with the 1975 abduction of 21-year-old Samuel Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, which kidnapping and subsequent trial gained intense national attention in an era before the internet. He won acquittals at all five of those criminal trials. Peter DeBlasio was unrivalled and unmatched, a genius in the courtroom. As one of his long-time friends recently said, on behalf of all who ever knew him, if there is anyone yet on earth like Peter, I sure haven't met them. He was sui generis. The Last Lion of New York. During his final years, Peter wrote a book of stories drawn from his trials and from his life growing up the son of Italian immigrants, published in the summer of 2020 under the title "Let Justice Be Done: A New York Trial Lawyer's Odyssey Through the Last Half of the 20th Century." He leaves behind his wife of 34 years, Joyce DeBlasio, his daughters Alessandra DeBlasio and Caralee DeBla sio (both from his first marriage to Jo Warner), and his beloved grandson Allan Haynes, Jr.