passed away on the December 21st winter solstice, which is a celebration of being "born again"--not of flesh, but of the spirit. He courageously fought brain cancer for 18 months, remaining eloquent, dignified, gracious and flirtatious, until the very end. Despite a difficult childhood and the untimely death of his mother, Bob led a life of leadership and service to others. He graduated from Copiague High School in 1971. He was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Maverick, garnering numerous awards. He spearheaded the fight against school newspaper censorship, leading him to take on state politicians in Albany which included a colorful exchange with Governor Rockefeller! He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Syracuse University in 1975. After moving to NYC, he enjoyed brief political successes before catching the real estate bug. He went on to study Real Estate Finance at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, earning his degree in 1982. Soon afterwards, he established his practice and became one of the top real estate appraisers in the state of New York. His keen sense for the booming market led him to purchase a condo at auction on the upper west side, at Columbus Common. Serving as Board President for ten years, he was instrumental in knitting together a cohesive and friendly community, creating opportunities for strangers to become friends. He was well known for his beautiful terrace garden, and he loved hosting weekly dinners with his friends, which came to be known as "family dinners". He opened his home, heart and wallet to friends and animals in need, providing shelter, food and comfort. He gave generously without a desire for acknowledgement or recognition. Bob was a passionate animal advocate adopting numerous cats and dogs throughout his life. He always had a treat in his pocket for every dog he met on his daily walks through the neighborhood and Central Park. His beloved Akita, Bella, was the motivation behind the fight to keep off leash privileges for dogs in NYC parks when the city sued to ban it forever in 2006. As president of NYCDOG, Bob brought thousands of people together and led a victorious campaign that resulted in the 9pm to 9am off leash privileges. Every dog owner in NYC owes a huge debt of gratitude to Bob Marino for this remarkable achievement. His close friends describe Bob as: handsome, charming, intelligent, unwaveringly loyal and fair, great listener with a huge heart, unfiltered sense of humor, lover of all blondes, playfully naughty, staunch Democrat, and matchmaker of people and animals. All of his friends' children regarded him as a beloved uncle. He never had an unkind word to say about anyone, unless they were Republican! He is survived by his loving sister Mary, who was his fierce advocate and caretaker for the last part of his life, his father and stepmother, five additional siblings, and extended family. In addition, Bob leaves behind hundreds of friends across the globe, whose lives he has impacted and changed for the better. A celebration of life was held for Bob this past May at his favorite restaurant in NYC, with over 200 people and animals in attendance. Ever generous, Bob donated his body to Rutgers University for research. Bob's final wish is for everyone to share their lives by adopting rescue pets who need love. For those who prefer to donate as a tribute to Bob, he encouraged and helped sponsor a new animal rescue in 2012 -Home Sweet Home of Long Island, 273 Walt Whitman Road #343, Huntington Station, NY 11746.
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Published by New York Times on Dec. 28, 2014.