By Muriel J. SmithATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Hundreds of friends, relatives, and just plain folks visited Posten’s Funeral Home Sunday to pay final respects to the late Judge Peter A. Locascio, who died suddenly Tuesday, Dec. 30, at his home. More than 100 mourners also participated in his funeral liturgy at St. Agnes Church Monday morning and accompanied the family to Fair View Cemetery, Middletown, where he was laid to rest.The judge’s nephew, Anthony Locascio, a professional singer, paid a special tribute to his uncle during the Mass, singing the Ave Maria in both Latin and Italian. The Rev. William Lego, pastor, offered the Mass and spoke on the conflict of emotions focusing on the joy of the Christmas season and the grief of Locasio’s death, relating them to the Church’s teachings on the joy of Christmas and the grief of Good Friday.A resident with his wife, Patricia, of Atlantic Highlands for 40 years, where they raised their daughter, Gianna, and son, Peter, Locascio was born in Linden to the late Joseph and Elsie Locascio on Sept. 2, 1946. He attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory School and Rutgers University before earning his Juris Doctor degree at Seton Hall School of Law. He was admitted to the bar in both New Jersey and Hawaii and was in private practice in Red Bank. Early in his career, he served as a Union County public defender, Middlesex County prosecutor, and was currently an active member of the Monmouth County Municipal Court Judges’ Association.But Locascio is most remembered by thousands in the Bayshore for his dedication to the bayshore towns and his reputation for fairness and honesty. He served as borough attorney in Atlantic Highlands, prosecutor in both Highlands and Atlantic Highlands as well as attorney for the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Commission before stepping down from that position to become municipal court judge for both boroughs. He was in the second year of his third three-year term as Atlantic Highlands judge at the time of his death.“He was a great man, and a great judge,” said Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast, in recalling his long-term friendship with Locascio.“Pete had a great wit and a good sense of humor,” said Harbor Commission Chairman Jane Frotton. “He served the Harbor Commission with distinction and dedication. I have known Pete for nearly 45 years; he was a great lawyer and a good friend.”“Oh, Pete Locascio was a wonderful man,” said former mayor and longtime friend Helen Marchetti. “He was good at everything he did. He was fair and honest and always had the good of Atlantic Highlands at heart. He will be sorely missed.”“He was a professional and everyone who appeared before him in court could be confident they would get a fair trial. He was a good listener,” recalled borough administrator Adam Hubeny. Hubeny has also had a long relationship with the judge, and recalled that when he, Hubeny, was a rookie patrolman in Colts Neck in 1982, Attorney Locascio was the first lawyer who defended a motorist issued a ticket from Hubeny. “I can recall all the details of the case,” Hubeny laughed, “including what the ticket was for. And Pete Locascio did a tremendous job in defending his client.”The administrator continued his admiration for the attorney when Hubeny was an officer on the Atlantic Highlands Police Department and Locascio was the borough prosecutor. “I like having him on my side better,” he smiled. And, he continued, he was especially pleased when Locascio was named municipal court judge because “I already knew of his fairness and ability to listen.”In addition to his wife and children, Locascio leaves behind three brothers and their wives, Michael and Susan of Westfield, Joseph and Joyce of Waretown, and retired Superior Court Judge Louis and Sue Anne of Lincroft, as well as four nephews and six great-nephews. Messages of condolence may be emailed to Postens@comcast.net and will be received by the family. BoldHow will the next Municipal Court Judge in Atlantic Highlands and Highlands be selected?Atlantic Highlands Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny said Judge Locascio’s present term expires in 2015. The procedure set for selecting a municipal court judge includes sending a request to the Administrative Office of the Court in Freehold asking for the names of three possible candidates for the position. Other interested attorneys can also send their biographies and related information to the municipal clerk.The names are then submitted to the borough’s personnel committee which is headed by Councilman Peter Doyle and includes Councilmen Roy Dellosso and Bob Sutton, who make a recommendation to the governing body for appointment by the council to fill the unexpired term of Locascio.Highlands follows a similar pattern; however, since Super Storm Sandy, that borough has been leasing space and holding its court at the Atlantic Highlands courtroom.