Obituaries

Bernard ‘Ben’ Robins

Bernard “Ben” Robins left to be with the Lord on Jan. 8, 2021.

He was beloved father, husband, grandfather, uncle and friend to many. His home was the center of the extended family, and everyone knew they were welcome in Cut­ch­ogue. 

Ben was born June 11, 1925, to Frank and Stella (Bukala) Szymanski. He was raised in South Ozone Park and attended Brooklyn Technical High School, graduating in 1943. Immediately following graduation he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was stationed in several air bases in California and Florida following boot camp and training.

Ben then attended the Academy of Aeronautics, graduating in 1951. He married Marion Simonson on May 17, 1952, making their home in Oceanside, N.Y. Ben and Marion had two sons, Brian (deceased) and Dale. 

In the early 1960s, Ben and Marion moved to Cut­ch­ogue. The summers in Cut­ch­ogue, from the ’60s to today, have been filled with joyful times with family. Volleyball, bocce, card and board games, rooms filled with love and laughter and too many people for too few beds leading to sleeping bags on the floor. 

Ben was a man of deep faith, who never had to shout it since he lived it each and every day, leading his family in prayer before each meal and providing witness to our Lord by his gentle, good and trustworthy way of living. He is most remembered for his kindness. He always had a smile and a “What’s the story?” to everyone he met and was a generous giver to many in need, to people he knew and people he didn’t.

Ben helped found North Fork Baptist Church in the 1960s with a group of friends of faith when he moved east. He was the treasurer, started a teen center there and was active in that church until it closed in the 1980s. Since then, he worshipped at Calvary Baptist Church in Riverhead and sometimes at First Presbyterian Church of Southold. 

Way back when, he enjoyed bowling in the church league on Saturday nights at Mattituck Lanes. Ben was always moving. He enjoyed fishing, clamming and tinkering around the yard and repairing the bulkhead and dock. Ben’s engineering training always showed in the way he was able to reuse and repurpose materials for any project to save on materials, much to the amazement of his family. He was also generous in sharing this wisdom — when his son or son-in-law were stuck in the middle of a repair, he would simply walk over, hammer or nail in hand, and quietly say, “Try that … ”

Having obtained his degree in 1951, he worked at Grumman for 19 years, starting at the Bethpage facility and transferring to Calverton when he relocated to Cut­ch­ogue.

Subsequently, Ben worked as an engineering technician for the federal government at the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center. Ben enjoyed taking the ferry every day, playing Uno and bridge with his co-workers and friends. He loved Plum Island, walking the beach and leading tours for historians and people interested in history to see Fort Terry, a coastal fortification built in 1897 and used until the end of World War II. He hosted many family members at the annual summer picnic on Plum Island and happily provided tours.

After his retirement in 2001, he lived a rich and happy life with Marion in Cut­ch­ogue and spending many winters in Florida, where he strolled the beaches with his metal detector and collecting golf balls.

Ben was a beloved Grandpa, happily attending events with his grandchildren, including his granddaughters’ dance recitals and grandson’s baseball games at Mattituck High School — enduring the early spring wind and weather wrapped in a blanket with his face seen peeking out of his parka.

He showed his pride in serving our country in World War II by joining the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2015 with his son to visit the World War II memorials and participate in ceremonies thanking the veterans for their service.

Ben was 95 years young and peacefully passed at home surrounded by those who loved him, including his wife of 68 years and love of his life, Marion. 

Predeceased by his parents; sister, Marie; and his son Brian, he is survived by Marion; his son Dale (Jane); niece, Dawn (Tony); daughter-in-law, Debra Dolan; grandchildren, Mary Kathleen, Carolynne, Caitlin, Maggie, Kieran, James and Ian; and great-grandchildren, David, Elizabeth and Christine.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in Calverton for close family. A memorial service will be held in summer 2021.

Arrangements were in the care of Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cut­ch­ogue.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to East End Hospice.

This is a paid notice.

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