Village of Flower Hill Mayor Robert McNamara died of pneumonia on Wednesday, April 15 He was 76.
McNamara had served as Flower Hill’s mayor since 2016. During his time in office, he led an increase in building throughout the village while managing to hold the line on taxes despite an uptick in operating costs. The mayor had a lifelong passion for construction and architecture that village administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer said made him a tremendous asset for the village during its building boom.
“One of his hobbies was building a house, living in it for a few years and then selling it and building another house,” Shatzkamer said. “He loved construction, and that insight really helped the village a lot.”
Prior to becoming mayor, McNamara had served as a village trustee since 2012 and spent three years as deputy mayor before being appointed and later elected to Flower Hill’s highest elected office. Before he entered public service, McNamara worked for years at Citibank as the director of its credit card division.
McNamara announced earlier this year that he intended to run for a trustee seat in Flower Hill’s upcoming elections (then scheduled for March) instead of running for reelection as mayor, endorsing current deputy mayor Brian Herrington to replace him at the head of the village. Shatzkamer told the Roslyn News that McNamara’s health began to take a turn for the worse a couple months ago, and that the downturn factored into his decision to seek a less strenuous office.
When he made that announcement that he would not seek reelection as mayor, though he didn’t mention his health, McNamara noted he had full confidence in Herrington’s ability to take over for him.
“The first thing I did was make Brian deputy mayor, and we really mirrored each other in many situations,” McNamara said. “I could be gone and he could take over and vice versa, there would be no problem. I felt as if this was the time to turn it over to Brian and give him the reins and run it with.”
Herrington mourned the loss of his friend in a statement released following McNamara’s death, and lauded the late mayor’s personable style and persistent advocacy for his community.
“We lost a dear friend and community advocate today,” Herrington said. “Bob was an exceptional and respected man who was dedicated to our village up until the very end. He touched so many lives throughout our community. He always made himself available and could frequently be found driving around ‘just checking things out’ as he liked to say. He touched the hearts of so many and will be missed by all. You can just be a mayor or you can be ‘The Mayor,’’ Bob was always “‘The Mayor.’”
Shatzkamer called McNamara a mentor to her in village government, and said the mayor was a hands-on manager who earned the respect of everybody who worked with him.
“He always wanted to know everything that was going on in the village, from the smallest complaint to the big stuff,” she said. “He was just a wonderful man and a gentleman. Never had a bad word about anybody. He wanted to do good for people, he wanted to help his community.”
McNamara is survived by his wife Ginny and their three children, Susan, Keith and Tim. The village will work with the McNamara family on holding a celebration of the mayor’s life once the current pandemic subsides.
Additional reporting by Caroline Ryan and Marco Schaden