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Monday, February 18, 2013

Stephen Tate, Prominent Westport Attorney, 90

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Stephen Tate of Norwich, Vt., a longtime prominent Westport attorney, prosecutor, judge, and member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), died Feb. 17 in Hanover, N.H. He was 90. Image
Stephen Tate: long active in Westport community. Contributed photo

An obituary said he died at the Hanover Terrace Healthcare and “although Steve was recently in poor health, his loving wife Jo, kept him smiling to the end.”

Tate’s law career spanned 50 years in Westport. During that time, he served on the RTM (1961-73, 1981-85), was president of the Westport Public Library Board of Trustees, and was active in the Y’s Men of Westport Weston.

Born Aug. 25, 1922 in Montclair, N.J., to the late Laura (Bromell) Tate and Cecil Whitter Tate, he was the youngest of four children (Robert, Arthur and Norman). He attended Dartmouth College, graduating with the class of 1944.

After college, he served during World War II as a captain in the infantry and was stationed in the Philippines until 1946.  Following his service, he attended Harvard Law School on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1949.

As a young lawyer, he settled in Westport, near his brother Norm and later partnered with Ed Capasse to form the law firm Tate & Capasse, which later expanded to become Tate, Capasse & Johnson. The firm merged in 1989 with a firm now known as Nevas, Capasse & Gerard, LLC.

He later served as a prosecutor and judge for the Municipal Court of Westport, which is now Westport Police Headquarters.

In 1955, he married Josephine Hanlon and together they raised their four children, Lee Emerson (David) of Norwich, Vt.; Charlotte Tate (Chris Zeoli) of Middlebury, Vt.; Michael Tate (Leslie McCormick) of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Stephen Tate (Nicole Ache) of Pasadena, Calif.

He is also survived by four grandchildren: Connie and Shepard Emerson and Marguerite and Charlie Tate.

While in Connecticut, he enjoyed sailing on Long Island Sound and volunteer activities, including serving on the board of the Fairfield County Hunt Club. As president of the Westport Public Library Board of Trustees, he was involved in planning the current library.

He also worked hard to stay fit, evidenced by his completion on the New York City Marathon at the age of 60 (1982). He retired in 2000, and with Jo moved to Norwich, Vt.

There he remained active, joining the Norwich Library Board of Trustees, serving as the president of Dartmouth Class of ’44, and trying his hand at new skills such as piano, harmonica, bread baking, and continuing to stay abreast of all the latest technology developments. 

The Tates traveled extensively and were great companions to the end, his family said.

Friends can make donations in his memory to the Norwich Public Library, PO Box 290, Norwich, VT 05055.

A memorial service will be held later in the spring.

Messages of sympathy for the family can be shared at

Posted 02/18/13 at 06:49 PM


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Steve, always a class act, and a true gentleman. He was a longtime Westporter who along with his wife Joey were a part of the fabric of the town. So long, Steve!

Posted by mark s. graham on February 19, 2013 at 05:25 AM | #

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