By STEVE FREKER
MALDEN — A dedicated and respected figure in the Massachusetts judicial system for nearly 40 years, the Honorable (Retired) Judge John C. Ligotti made his mark as a softspoken, fair-minded jurist who presided in Malden District Court in the 1970s and 1980s.
A celebration of Ligotti’s life will be held today at 9 a.m. at the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home in East Boston followed by a funeral Mass at 1 p.m. in Our Lady of Assumption Church, Lynnfield. Interment will follow in Forest Hills Cemetery, Lynnfield alongside his late wife Rose M. (Cavaliere) Ligotti, who died in 2013.
Ligotti died last Thursday nine days after marking his 101st birthday. A justice whose tenure on the bench spanned the 1950s to the mid-1990s, Ligotti was a Lynnfield resident for several years, after living most of his life in East Boston, where he got his start in the court system, serving as Clerk-Magistrate of East Boston District Court from 1957 to 1974.
In 1974, former Gov. Frank Sargent appointed Ligotti to the bench as a judge at Malden District Court. He presided in Malden until 1986, most of those years as chief justice.
“In the late 1970s and 1980s, I was a practicing lawyer in Malden. I was always pleased when Judge Ligotti was on the bench. He was always open-minded, considerate to both lawyers and parties, and, to my mind — an ideal judge,” said attorney Robert Soucy.
Ligotti left Malden District Court in 1986, pondering retirement at age 70, but then continued on a part-time basis for 10 more years, into the 1990s, traveling and presiding in other courtrooms in eastern Massachusetts when and where he was needed.
“(Judge Ligotti) was very well thought of and respected because he was fair in his decisions and truly cared about the people he dealt with on a day-to-day basis,” the late former long-time Malden District Court Clerk-Magistrate Joseph Croken said in an interview after Ligotti moved on from Malden.