Famed attorney Tom Bolan died Saturday at the age of 92, following a life of service to his country, the conservative movement and journalism.
He may be remembered as a Republican powerhouse who did legal work for the Trump family and was a partner for lawyer Roy Cohn, but the low-key barrister may wish to be remembered for his lifetime passion for baseball and the New York Yankees.
During World War II, Bolan flew 35 bomber missions over Germany during World War II. In civilian life during the 1950s, he gained a strong reputation as a prosecutor working as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
He became an influential GOP insider as he and law partner Roy Cohn, a Democrat, dominated New York politics for decades.
His broad circle of friends included Ronald Reagan, New York Cardinals John O’Connor and Terence Cooke, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, William F. Buckley Jr., Donald Trump, Yankees President Randy Levine, Rupert Murdoch, Senator Alfonse D’Amato and George Pataki, among many others.
CNBC host Larry Kudlow, a long-time friend, described Bolan as a “gracious, self-effacing man who mentored and gave very shrewd advice to so many of us.”
“It's important to remember how instrumental he was to the recovery of conservatism from the ‘50s onward by co-founding the New York Conservative Party and chairing the East Side Conservative Club,” Kudlow said. “They were central points to the revival of conservative thinking and activity.”
A close personal friend of conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr., Bolan helped found the National Review and served on its board of directors for many years.
"I first met Tom in my 20s, and like to so many people he was a great friend and adviser," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy remembered. "He had a true passion for America the Great and the Good, at his core, that's what he was all about."
Bolan's public service included heading former President Ronald Reagan's 1980 transition team in New York State and he later played a key role in selecting major federal judicial appointments for Sen. D'Amato, including picking a former FBI agent Louis J. Freeh for the bench. Freeh later became FBI Director.
A devout Catholic, Bolan served as a professor at St. John’s University School of Law and represented the Archdiocese of New York and defended cases such as school prayer and discrimination against Catholic teachers.
Bolan received numerous awards for his service to the Catholic Church and Catholic War Veterans and was a Knight of Malta. He founded the Human Life Foundation, the ad hoc Committee in Defense of Life and other pro-life organizations.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once claimed, "I don't make a trade unless I talk to him," according to Bolan's obituary. In retirement he could be seen regularly at Yankees games sitting in the owner's suite, according to National Review.
Bolan lived in Flushing, N.Y., and is survived by his wife, Marie, four children, and several grandchildren. A wake will be held Tuesday in Bayside, N.Y., with burial on Wednesday in Flushing.
An obituary on the National Review website highlighted Bolan's long list of accomplishments and said, "May our friend rest in peace, and may God grant his family comfort and solace."
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