John Cole Eldridge

November 13, 1933July 27, 2018
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John Cole Eldridge, 84, retired Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, died at Anne Arundel Medical Center on July 27 after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure. Born on November 13, 1933 to the late Arthur C. Eldridge and Jean K. Eldridge, Judge Eldridge was also preceded in death by his wife of nearly 56 years, Dayne W. Eldridge and his sister, Phyllis Eldridge. He is survived by his daughter, Kathryn E. Kuethe and her husband Rick; his son, John C. Eldridge, Jr. and John's wife, Lisa; his grandson, Sam Kuethe and Sam's wife Kelly; his grandson Mike Kuethe; and Lisa's daughters Michelle and Sydney. He is also survived by his brother, Richard C. Eldridge of Pine Bush, NY; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Robert and Linda Worsham of Daytona Beach, FL; a niece, several nephews, and "The Lunch Bunch".

Born and raised in Baltimore County, Jack was a resident of Annapolis since 1962. He was a graduate of Gilman School, Harvard University, and the University of Maryland School of Law. Admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1960, he served as law clerk to Judge Simon Sobeloff, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. From 1961 to 1969, he served as a trial attorney and later Assistant Chief of the Civil Division, Appellate Section, of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was briefly in private practice before his part time duties as Chief Legislative Officer to Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel quickly became a full time occupation. He was sworn in as a Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland on January 7, 1974, where he served until reaching mandatory retirement at age 70 in 2003. After his official retirement, he returned to the bench as a recalled judge for another ten years.

A lifelong swimmer and a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club for over 50 years, Jack enjoyed numerous hobbies, including fishing and boating, the piano, gardening, picking crabs, and reading murder mysteries. He loved to walk on the beach, particularly the hard sand in Daytona. He had an extensive collection of classic and silent movies. He followed the Baltimore Colts, the Ravens and the Orioles. Spending time with his grandchildren and amateur photography were his greatest joys.

The family will receive visitors at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, MD 21401 on Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 PM. Interment will be private at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Cemetery in Myersville, MD. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Public Justice Center, One North Charles St., Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21201.


  • Visitation Saturday, August 4, 2018
  • Visitation Saturday, August 4, 2018

John Cole Eldridge

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Robert Kopp

August 12, 2018

After I graduated from law school in 1966, I joined the Appellate Section of the Civil Division. Jack was one of the established supervisors in the office. At first I was a bit scared of him. He seemed to be so smart I wondered whether I would ever to be able to grasp all the knowledge about appellate litigation that he was teaching me, and that he expected me to learn. He not only made abundant edits to my draft briefs but carefully explained the rationale for the changes. At first I was somewhat mystified, but I soon began to see the logic behind his changes. I became a much better lawyer because of him. I was very fortunate to have him as one of my supervisors at the beginning of my career.

Martin Catterton

August 2, 2018

I only met him a few times but he was very nice, welcoming and funny. My prayers are with the family.

Gary Bernstein

July 30, 2018

I had the pleasure of arguing before him at the Court of Appeals. He was brilliant and a wonderful writer. I even had the good fortune of enjoying his keen sense of humor in one particular case. He left an incredible judicial legacy. May he Rest In Peace and may his family be comforted in this sad time.

Gary S. Bernstein, Esquire

Anne Murphy

July 30, 2018

Judge Eldridge was a terrific lawyer, judge, mentor and friend. I feel so lucky to have been able to start my career as a law clerk under his guidance. He was terrifyingly smart and had an astonishing memory, but he was kind and gracious in teaching what he could to the next generation. I am especially thankful to him for telling me about the Justice Department's Civil Division Appellate Staff, where he had been an Assistant Director, and his invaluable support in helping me find a position there. We had lots to talk about when we got together because he remembered everything about the Department and its ways. I really enjoyed the pleasure of his company when I was able to see him over the last 20 years. I will miss his guffaws and his stories and his care and concern for other people, and his wisdom about the law and history. He was really a wonderful human being.

Sydney Bradfield

July 30, 2018

Judge Eldridge was a funny guy who was great to spend time with. His photography skills were awesome.

Lisa Eldridge

July 29, 2018

It was very inspiring to always see him always so energetic and interested in being and out about. He had many interesting and sometimes hilarious memories and stories to share.