Retired hero firefighter was on front lines during 9/11 Retired hero firefighter, Robert M. Kozlowski, 74, of New Brighton, the former 1995 Advance "firefighter of the year" died September 10, 2021 after an arduous fight battling 9/11 related cancer. He was born in Jersey City, NJ and moved to New Brighton at an early age, and resided in that community the rest of his life. "He always said that growing up in New Brighton back in the 50's and 60's you received the best in education, maturity, and most of all friendships", said his family. He graduated from Curtis High School and was a member of the 1964 PSAL and SIHSL co-championship basketball team. Between Curtis and St. Peter's highschools, there were at least a dozen players from New Brighton tutored by the likes of Mike Tighe, Jim Skully, Jack McGinley, Oscar Michaud and others whom he always admired. Upon graduation like hundreds of others of his class he was soon drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He attained the rank of Seargent and was an instructor in "quick kill" and jungle fighting with the 25th Infantry Division. Upon honorable discharge he soon married Michelle Gibbs of New Brighton. He soon after embarked on a career with the Fire Department of New York, where he spent almost 28 years before retiring in early 2001. The first 22 years were with Ladder Company 148 in Brooklyn. In 1995 he transferred to Ladder Company 78 in where else but New Brighton. In that year he received the last of his five citations for bravery. It was for this rescue of three persons trapped in a Cebra Avenue apartment he was named Firefighter of the year. An honor he was proud of. He was most proud of his wife who raised three children, while juggling jobs, family and homemaking. Among his other achievements, he was treasurer of the Brighton Kiwanis club for 15 years, a member of the FDNY Holy Name Society, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, FDNY Retirees Association and Staten Island Retirees Association. In his spare time he enjoyed golf and especially darts with teammates of the "No-cigar" Club of Jody's Club Forest. He sadly leaves behind his wife of almost 50 years, Michelle, his sons Kevin and Ryan, a daughter Lindsey and daughter-in-law Suzanne, and son-in-law Osvaldo Martinez. He was dearest "Pops" to Gwendolyn, Ava, Henry and Eloise. He is also survived by his sister Christina, her husband Richard, and brother Ronald, and his wife Cathy, among many dearly loved nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations to be made to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Fire Family Transport.
Visitation Monday, September 13, at Harmon Home, Staten Island, from 2:00-4:00 and 7:00-9:00 p.m. Funeral Mass to be held at St. Peter's Church, Tuesday, September 14, at 10:00 a.m.
Published by Staten Island Advance from Sep. 11 to Sep. 12, 2021.