Zucker, Longtime Roslyn Estates Mayor, Dies

Robert D. Zucker

Robert D. Zucker, a former mayor of Roslyn Estates and a longtime resident of that village, died at his home in North Shore Towers, Floral Park, on June 8.

Zucker lived in Roslyn for 67 years, first in East Park, and then, after nine years, he moved his family to Roslyn Estates.

That move was initiated when Zucker found out that the state was planning to build a highway that would take one row of houses from the development. That highway became known as the Long Island Expressway, and eventually took a second row of houses. He first came to Roslyn during a class trip from Columbia College, when his political science professor, Ken Hechler (Roslyn High School Class of 1931, author and West Virginia Secretary of State) took the class to visit the Mackay estate, where his parents lived and worked.

After settling in Roslyn Estates, he served as mayor of the village for five terms. During his tenure, he was able to lower the tax rate while building a village hall, hiring staff for the village hall, as well as a road crew, and acquiring two park sites, work trucks and steam rollers. He never stopped being active in the village, staying on committees to work to keep the village beautiful.

Zucker grew up in New York City and graduated from Horace Mann (’37) and Columbia College (’41.) He joined the U.S. Navy shortly after graduation, attended OCS and became captain of a fleet minesweeper that was in U.S. waters during most of WWII. In 1942, he married his wife of 58 years, Allyn Van Baalen, who predeceased him. By the end of the war, he had attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was in charge of eight minesweepers. After the war, with a young family to support, he worked at Van Baalen Heilbrun Corp., which he and his partner bought in 1961. Shortly after they sold the company in 1972 it became Nautica.

Zucker never stopped loving the water and owned a sailboat for several years. He also navigated a friend’s 43-ft. sloop to a win in its class in the 1976 Newport-Bermuda race, and also won the trophy for best overall performance among the 161 boats in the race. His other hobbies were opera and tennis.

Zucker is survived by his children Michael (Lorry), Alan and Nancy, and by his partner Fran Katz, whom he met in 2001. He had four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

—Submitted by the Zucker family

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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