Amityville Record

S.C. Judge and Amityville resident Toni Bean dies at 62

Toni Bean with S.C. Exec. Steve Levy on her appoint­ment to the bench in 2004.

Toni Bean with S.C. Exec. Steve Levy on her appoint­ment to the bench in 2004.

Suffolk County Judge Toni A. Bean, a lifelong resi­dent of Amityville who worked hard to champion causes she believed in, died March 19, 2022. She was 62 years old and died from complications from surgery.

Judge Bean was a woman who was intricately in­volved in her community, serving as a Trustee on the Amityville Village School Board and speaking up frequently on issues that were important to her and the residents of Amityville and North Amityville.

Larry Bellinger, who was born and raised in Ami­tyville and knew the Bean family growing up, re­called Judge Bean fondly.

“She was very studious; a driven person,” he said. “She was also an athlete in high school and our families were close and though we have not been in touch for many years I can say I liked her a lot; she was my high school prom date.”

Judge Bean was the second woman of color to be appointed to the bench in Suffolk County; the first was Bellinger’s wife, Francel Trotter Bellinger.

“Toni helped lay the foundation for so many other women and people of color who saw and continue to see the judiciary as a goal,” said former S.C. Exec. Steve Levy who appointed Bean in 2004. “It is im­portant to get perspective on the bench from a vast variety of our population and Toni conducted her­self with competence and integrity and served as a model for so many others. She was not just an Afri­can American judge; she was a good judge and that is what matters.”

Her family and friends recall a woman who never focused on her health issues, accepting the limits it placed on her and following the philosophy of “keep on keepin’ on,” said her sister Jane Bean Folkes.

“For Toni, the love of her life was her son Matthew and he was what drove her,” she said. “Everything she did was for her son and for the people around her and in her life.”

“She was a good person, a mentor and a mother who loved and adored her son,” said her sister Lisa Bean-Johnson.

Judge Bean was the daughter of the late Robert Cyril Bean and Eliza Jane Bean of Amityville. She earned a bachelor’s de­gree from SUNY Brockport in 1981 and a law degree from Howard University School of Law in 1985. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1986.

A member of the National Bar As­sociation, Suffolk County and Nassau County Bar associations, Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association, Amistad Black Bar Asso­ciation of Suffolk County and the American and New York State Bar associations, she began her legal career in 1985 in private practice at the Harlem law firm of Walker & Bailey, a practice concentrating on personal injury litigation. Three years later, she moved on to Waxman and Wincott P.C. of Mineola, where she liti­gated personal injury cases. She left that firm in 2002 to establish her own private practice in Amityville be­fore becoming a District Court Judge in 2004.

S.C. Exec. Steve Bellone described her as a “trail­blazer.

“With decades of service on the bench, she was someone of the highest integrity and her tenacity and dedication to the people of this County was un­matched,” he said.

Her appointment to the bench was in 2004 by then Suffolk County Exec Steve Levy. She won election in Novem­ber of that year and was re-elected in 2010 and 2016 running on the Democratic, Republican, Conser­vative, Working Families and Inde­pendence party lines.

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich­ard Schaffer who knew Bean called her “A true treasure of a person not only in her professional career but in her personal life as well.

“She always had a smile on her face no matter the pain she was experiencing from her health is­sues. She was a mentor to many and served our town and county well. Most importantly, she was a great friend. She will be missed.”

Both Suffolk County and Babylon Town flew flags at half-staff in her honor.

Judge Bean is survived by her son Matthew of Amityville and her sisters: Jane Bean-Folkes and her husband Laurie A Folkes of South Orange, New Jersey and Lisa Bean-Johnson of Amityville and by her nephews Brian and Aaron Johnson and his wife Ashley and many friends and family members both here and in Bermuda.

Judge Bean reposed at the Powell Funeral home, 67 Broadway, Amityville.

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