HARTFORD, Conn. – U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton, the longest-serving federal judge in Connecticut history, died, his family said Tuesday. He was 95.

Eginton, who continued working until days before his death, died Monday in hospice care in Redding after battling an illness, his children said.

Appointed as a federal judge by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979, Eginton served for more than 40 years on the bench. In recent years, he served as a senior judge, a form of semi-retirement with a flexible caseload that is available to long-serving judges.

His daughter, Andrea Seaton, said he and former law clerks held a party Friday celebrating his life before he went into hospice care.

“He lived a full life and you can’t be sad about that,” Seaton said.

In 1981, Eginton presided over a trial involving extortion claims against six men who were working in the Bridgeport area for Mafia-connected loan sharks. The defendant was a Hell’s Angel member described at the time as the most dangerous man in Connecticut and Eginton had U.S. Marshals living at his home for at least two weeks during the trial.

His specialty was product liability work that took him around the country to help other courts with cases.

“He saw the court as family,” said Stefan Underhill, chief judge for the District of Connecticut. “He really inspired me, when I became a judge and he was already 75.”

Underhill added he was someone who also enjoyed naturalization ceremonies, community outreach programs and never missed an American Bar Association event.

Most recently, Eginton picked a jury this year and presided over a smoker liability case against RJ Reynolds Tobacco that was eventually settled out in court.

Eginton was born in Brooklyn in 1924. He served in the Philippines during World War II and remained in the U.S. Army Reserve until 1970s, his family said. He graduated from Princeton University in 1948 and Yale Law School in 1951.

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Chris Ehrmann is a corps member for Report for America , a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage, in a partnership with The Associated Press for Connecticut. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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