Millard L. Midonick, 90, N.Y. judge who worked to end patronage in probate system

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NEW YORK — Millard L. Midonick, a former Manhattan Family Court judge and surrogate who decided numerous celebrated estate cases, including those of the poet W.H. Auden and the painter Mark Rothko, died Jan. 18 in Manhattan. He was 99.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Jill Claster Midonick.

Millard Midonick was a lifelong progressive who in 1953, in the aftermath of Adlai Stevenson’s first failed presidential campaign, helped found the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club, which supports reform-minded political candidates.

A lawyer who handled labor arbitrations, and trusts and estates cases, he was appointed temporarily to the municipal bench by Mayor Robert F. Wagner in 1956. He became a Family Court judge in 1962, and in 1971 he was elected to the Surrogate’s Court.

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