Milton Tamarin, 92, civic activist and veteran

Janelle Clausen
Milton "Mickey" Tamarin.

Milton Tamarin, a veteran, long-time community activist in Great Neck and the husband of 17-year Park Commissioner Ruth Tamarin, died on April 4. He was 92.

Friends and family described Tamarin, a longtime Great Neck resident, as a kind, giving, but quiet man with a passion for music, sports and helping others.

“He was very quiet, very laid back,” recalled his friend Michael Flamhaft, a conductor for Band of Long Island and longtime Great Neck Rotary Club member, “but a doer like you can’t believe.”

Tamarin was born in Brooklyn, on April 23, 1924, the youngest of three children.

Tamarin graduated high school in 1942, but was soon drafted into military service and assigned to the 95th Infantry Division’s 320th Engineering Battalion, a unit within General George Patton’s Third Army.

This experience took him to Normandy, through Belgium and into Germany.

Tamarin was not quite on the frontlines, his son Michael said, but he supported the army in communications as a tech sergeant.

“He was certainly proud of his service crossing Europe to liberate Germany,” Michael Tamarin, his son, said.

Upon returning home from the war, Tamarin earned a degree in engineering from Brooklyn Polytech and worked for Republic Aviation about 12 years helping build planes. Within that time he met Ruth on a skiing trip in Vermont.

“I was the only one in the group that fell into a snowman, and he was the only one to stop and help me up,” Ruth Tamarin, his wife of over 50 years, recalled with a laugh. After that, she said, they got to know each other on the way back to New York.

But opportunities at Republic began to dry up.

“After awhile, things slowed down, the war was over and he wasn’t as interested anymore. He wanted something more exciting,” Ruth Tamarin noted. So, she said, her husband went to school again for six months for stock brokering.

Tamarin would eventually find work with Prudential Bache, which was later known as Prudential Securities and merged into Wachovia Securities.

He was fortunate, Ruth Tamarin said, to have an office in Great Neck because it meant the two of them could be home at a reasonable time for their children.

Tamarin retired from stock brokering in the 1990s to invest himself into community and civic service.

Tamarin worked his way up to president of the Great Neck Rotary Club, drove for Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers food to senior citizens and was an officer with the Anti-Defamation League.

He also worked in Temple Beth-El.

While at the Rotary Club, Flamhaft said, Tamarin began the traditional turkey drive, donated trees to the park district, organized the club’s involvement in parades and pushed to have defibrillators available in Great Neck because they could save lives.

“He was the driving force behind that,” Flamhaft said.

Flamhaft also said that Tamarin, a clarinet player, was responsible for first getting him into the Band of Long Island, an ensemble that helps non-profits conduct fundraising.

Tamarin, upon discovering Flamhaft once played the trombone, nudged him into playing again. Years later, Flamhaft became the Band of Long Island’s conductor– something that could not have happened without Tamarin.

“Milton [Tamarin] got me out of music retirement. He got me to play,” Flamhaft said.

Aside from his civic interests, Tamarin frequently traveled, basked in Jazz music, studied history and played golf and tennis. Because of his father, Michael said, many of those interests remain with him today.

“If it was good enough for him to like, I should take an interest also,” he said.

Nearly two hundred people paid their respects to Milton Tamarin on Thursday, April 6, at Temple Beth-El’s chapel. The funeral was an honorary one, the family said, as the honor guard came and his coffin was draped in the American flag.

When asked what she believed her husband’s legacy was, Ruth Tamarin said he would be remembered for how active he was.

“His involvement with various organizations, with the temple… Just everything,” she said. “He was involved in a lot of different activities and most of the activities were ones that brought help to other people.”

Milton Tamarin is survived by his wife, Ruth, and their two sons Michael and David.

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