Frank D. Paulo
Staten Island Borough Hall, New York City, New York, USA
Frank didn’t have much as a child in the 1910s. His family lived in Rosebank, a district on the north eastern shore of New York’s Staten Island, and little Frank was known to neighbours as ‘the raggedy-pants kid’. But humble beginnings didn’t hold Frank D. Paulo back. He was clever, worked hard. And he won a place at New York’s Fordham University. Then came a place at Harvard Law School. He was soon recognized as one of the brightest and keenest legal minds of his generation. This mind, and his considerable intellectual gifts, he dedicated to serving the people in the neighbourhoods and communities of Staten Island, where he’d grown up. He was appointed to the Municipal Court bench in 1954, and, in 1961, when he was 47-years-old, he was asked to preside over the Staten Island’s Surrogate Court. It was a post he held for the next 20 years, right up until his death from a heart attack at the age of 67 in 1981. It’s the job of the Surrogate Court to look after the affairs of someone who’s died, with or without a will. ‘Surrogate’ because it stands in for the deceased. Sometimes, large sums of money and vast estates are involved. Sometimes, small. But always, emotions run high. The respect people in the legal community and beyond had for Frank D. Paulo only grew when he started work for the Surrogate Court because of the empathy and compassion with which he approached each case, and because of his sense of fairness. He served families well, often when they were going through difficult times. And that’s why he’s shown with a child in this statue. His hands rest on her shoulders. He’s protecting her. Like he protected many vulnerable families and their children throughout his legal career.