Obituary of E. Carter Corriston
E. Carter Corriston, Sr., 84, of Englewood Cliffs passed away peacefully after a sudden illness near his winter residence in Boca Raton, FL, on May 5, 2019. Born on March 21, 1935, in Englewood to Edwin F. “Corky” and Gertrude Corriston, Carter was raised in Cliffside Park. He graduated from the Englewood School for Boys in 1953, obtained his B.A. from Rutgers University in 1957 and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1960. Carter was a prominent practicing attorney in Bergen County for nearly 60 years. In the summer of 1958, he started as a law clerk at Breslin & Breslin, P.A. in Hackensack, where he ultimately rose to the position of Senior Partner and was actively practicing until the time of his passing alongside three of his sons together with his good friend and partner Donald Caminiti.
Public service was deeply important to Carter, who remained devoted to his community throughout his entire life. In 1967, Carter was first elected to the Borough Council in Englewood Cliffs, which had not previously elected a member of the Democratic Party. Carter continuously served as a councilman through 1993; serving as council president from 1974-1993. During his time on council, Carter served as Police Commissioner, and it was a testament to the esteem in which he was held that during his tenure, the Borough and the PBA concluded their negotiations with a handshake and without a written contract. After leaving the council, Carter served as borough attorney for Englewood Cliffs from 1996-2009, and again 2012-2015. Carter was also Special Defense Litigation Counsel for the Borough of Paramus from 1991-1997; Township Attorney for River Vale from 1977-1986; Township Attorney for Mahwah from 1968, 1974-1982, 1984-1989; and a trustee of Bergen Community College from 1993-2017, serving as chairman from 1997-2003, 2009-2017. Carter was the Englewood Cliffs Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1971 and was honored by the Boy Scouts of America in 1996. In 2010, Carter was inducted as one of Ten Leaders of Civil Trial & Personal Injury Law, Northern New Jersey. Since 1976, Carter served as the attorney for the Housing Authority of Bergen County and also on various occasions as Special Litigation Counsel to the County of Bergen.
Over the years, Carter mentored many young lawyers who went on to become prominent judges and attorneys throughout the state. His compassion for people drove him to defend the defenseless; he was forever looking out for those who he knew were underserved. With him at their side, they could take on the largest corporations in the world to ensure that justice was served.
Carter was extremely active with Fordham University School of Law and served as the president of the Fordham Law School Alumni Association of NJ from 1988-2007 and as a director of the Law School alumni from 1984-2018. Carter truly espoused the core principles of Fordham Law, which he referred to as God, family and community. The school was especially important to him because of its night program, which permits students who have to make a living to pursue their dreams while putting food on the table. He received the Fordham University School of Public Interest Resource Center Public Service Alumni award in March 1992. He was honored by the Fordham Law School Alumni Association in 2008 for his presidency and efforts in building the New Jersey chapter of the Fordham Law alumni association.
In addition to his extensive experience in politics and governmental law, Carter was universally recognized as one of New Jersey’s preeminent Plaintiff’s trial attorneys and was the first lawyer in Bergen County to recover a Plaintiffs award in excess of $2M. During his career he handled many noteworthy cases resulting in six separate recoveries of over $2M, in addition to a landmark award of over $7M in favor of the Township of Mahwah in a tax appeal matter before the NJ Supreme Court. In addition to his professional achievements, Carter was an active baseball coach and was instrumental in the formation and supervision of many recreational sports programs in his hometown of Englewood Cliffs. Carter was also an avid golfer and served as president of White Beeches Country Club.
At the time of his passing, Carter was a member of the NJ State Bar Association; Bergen County Bar Association; American Bar Association; International Society of Barristers; and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He was also a Fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a Director, Emeritus of the Fordham Law School Alumni Association.
Carter had far too many accomplishments to list, but he was proudest by far of his large and loving family who feel blessed God made him their patriarch. He is survived by his loving wife of 62-years Barbara (nee Perkins); his son Kevin, wife Deborah and their children Brian and Colleen; his son Terrence, wife Lina and their children Brennan, Julia, and Katie; his son Timothy, wife Robin and their children Kelsie Burnett, husband Nicko, Michele and Liam; his daughter Christine, husband Stephen Valkenburg and their children Olivia and Graham Valkenburg; and E Carter Corriston, Jr., wife Terri Ann and their children Victoria, Sean, and Claire. Carter was a loving husband, father and grandfather who cherished time with his family. He and Barbara always warmly welcomed extended family and friends into his homes in Englewood Cliffs, Brick Township, and Boca Raton. And he made the best (and strongest) margaritas known to man.
In lieu of flowers and in light of Carter’s generous and practical nature, the family requests that contributions in Carter’s memory be made either to the John and Barbara Costantino Fordham Law School Scholarship or to the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School. Contributions can be made online: