Frank J. Federico II, a longtime Towson trial lawyer who was known to his clients as "Mr. Rico," died Sept. 5 of heart failure at his Bethany Beach, Del., summer home. He was 71.
"Frank was an excellent criminal defense attorney and was very well-regarded. I was shocked to hear of his passing," Judge John Grason Turnbull II, who is administrative judge for Baltimore County Circuit Court, said Wednesday.
"Frank was a bit of a character," recalled Judge Turnbull, who went to McDonogh School and law school with Mr. Federico. "He had a great sense of humor and courtroom manner. He respected the bench and was an absolute gentleman, and this carried over into his practice."
The son of a celebrated trial attorney and a homemaker, Frank Joseph Federico II was born in Baltimore and raised in Homeland.
He was a 1958 graduate of McDonogh School, where he had excelled in sports and had earned All-Maryland honors in both lacrosse and football.
Mr. Federico earned a bachelor's degree in 1961 from the University of Baltimore, where he continued playing lacrosse and earned an All-Maryland ranking in the sport.
After graduating from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1964, Mr. Federico joined his father, Anthony S. Federico, the next year when they established the firm of Federico & Federico in the Munsey Building in downtown Baltimore.
In the late 1970s, Mr, Federico left that firm and became a solo practitioner, remaining in the Munsey Building until moving in the early 1990s to the Midstate Federal Savings & Loan Building on York Road in Rodgers Forge.
For the last several years, he had his law office in the Dun & Bradstreet Building in the 7400 block of York Road.
"I've known Frank for more than 20 years, and he'd refer his workers compensation cases to me," said Richard J. Reinhardt, a Towson lawyer.
"He was very affable and was always trying to look out for the person's best interest when it came to any kind of defense, which he vigorously pursued for his client," he said. "When he was in court, he was steady and got right to the main issues and focused on them."
Mr. Reinhardt said that Mr. Federico had "two good mentors," because he had worked for his father and clerked for the late Anselm Sodaro, who had been chief judge of the old Supreme Bench of Baltimore City, now known as the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.
A colorful figure, Mr. Federico was seldom seen without his ubiquitous H. Upmann cigar.
"He thoroughly enjoyed his years as a trial attorney and continued to practice law until his death," said his son, Frank J. "F.J." Federico of Hampden.
Mr. Federico, a longtime resident of Phoenix, Baltimore County, was a former member of the Hunt Valley Golf Club, where he enjoyed playing golf. He also liked spending time at his second home in Bethany Beach.
His first marriage to the former Jamie Johnson ended in divorce. In 1980, he married the former Margaret "Peggy" Kaifer. That marriage also ended in divorce; she died in 2010.
A memorial Mass will be offered for Mr. Federico at 11 a.m. Sept. 21 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St.
In addition to his son, Mr. Federico is survived by his daughter, Kristen E. Federico of Dewey Beach, Del.; four brothers, Anthony S. Federico of Homeland, Philip C. Federico of Baltimore, Michael S. Federico of Ruxton and Christopher P. Federico of Jarrettsville; two sisters, Maria F. Calder of Sparks and Paula F. Conley of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and many nieces and nephews.