Obituary of Robert L Safarik
Robert (“Bob”) Safarik, 82, passed away surrounded by loved ones on December 9, 2021.
Born April 2, 1939, Bob grew up in Flushing and Great Neck, NY with his sister, Phyllis Lombardi. He attended St. Kevin’s in Flushing, St. Aloysius in Great Neck, and Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY where he participated in football and track while also advancing to Scouts’ Eagle rank. His attendance as a member of the class of 1961 at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY, set the tone for the rest of his career. As a participant in the initial testing of the split sea year program, he sailed on six ships and five trade routes that brought him to 31 countries, all before the age of 23.
After graduation, and as a licensed U. S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner with a U.S. Navy Commission, he served two years of active Naval duty as Navigator aboard the USS Arcturus, followed by four years as a merchant marine officer with various shipping companies, primarily aboard vessels in support of the war effort in Vietnam. After active duty, he was a drilling member of the US Naval Reserve for 26 years, attaining command of five Naval Reserve units.
He came ashore in 1967 and joined Moore-McCormack Shipping Lines as manager of container operations. The next 10 years were spent at the Eastern Region of the Maritime Administration in NYC as Chief, Office of Port and Intermodal Development and ultimately Regional Director. During this time, he was a fiercely dedicated father to his children, Jennifer and Matthew, and later, Lyndsey. His next position was at USMMA in 1983, serving as the Assistant Commandant, Commandant, Director of External Affairs, and Chief of Staff. While there, he met and married the love of his life, Judith. After 23 years of Academy service and ushering through more than two dozen graduating classes (also acting graduate emcee, one of his favorite activities), Bob retired with the rank of Rear Admiral, to his cherished home in Pequannock, NJ.
As a former Eagle Scout, Bob was a big believer in community service. He promoted community outreach to many of the community and civil organizations during his tenure at Kings Point, and continued this practice throughout retirement as a member of the Pequannock Historical Society and the Pequannock Open Space Advisory Committee. He continued to serve as the 1961 USMMA Class Agent for 50 years and served a total of 36 years in the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. He and Judith traveled extensively and spent much time with family, both before and after retirement. He was well-liked and respected by many.
God Steer Thee Well.
He is survived by his wife, Judith, daughter Jennifer (Guttuso) and husband Gregg, son Matt and wife Samara, and daughter Lyndsey (Lange) and husband Brett, as well as his adored grandchildren, Katelyn, Steven, Charlotte, and Rowen. He was predeceased by his parents Philip and Elizabeth and his sister, Phyllis.
Cremation will be private and no funeral services are planned. A memorial service at his beloved USMMA is planned for a future date.
Memorial donations may be made to the United State Merchant Marine Alumni Association and Foundation.
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