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Move to rename Mount Sinai High School for late principal

Robert M. Grable Jr., seen in 2013, principal

Robert M. Grable Jr., seen in 2013, principal of Mount Sinai High School, died unexpectedly Friday. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

The president of the Mount Sinai school board has announced the board will vote to rename the high school for Principal Robert M. Grable Jr., who died unexpectedly Friday at age 49.

Robert Sweeney made the announcement Monday to a crowd of more than 1,000 at a candlelight vigil in honor of Grable at Mount Sinai High School. He said the board will vote Aug. 28 to rename the building "The Robert M. Grable Jr. Memorial High School."

“I put it out to my colleagues and let our superintendent know our intentions and everyone was all for it,” said Sweeney, who attended a viewing Tuesday for Grable at the Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Home in West Sayville. “We all agree we like the idea. Rob Grable was the spirit and the leader of our school. We are a high school of excellence for six years in a row under his leadership. He was a teacher’s principal and a student’s principal.”

Grable’s father, Robert Sr., who spent Tuesday greeting thousands of mourners, reflected on his son’s life and the planned renaming.

“It’s a fantastic tribute and really quite amazing,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor for the district to do that. They have indicated and recognized what a value he was to their community and school. I’m absolutely so proud — but I’ve always been so proud of him for things far less than having a school named after him. It’s just over the top to see so much love from everyone.”

Grable was a standout three-sport athlete at Connetquot High School who went on to play baseball at St. John’s University and professionally with Detroit and Philadelphia. He retired in 1995, during a players strike, and pursued a career in education.

“He was an exemplary teacher and we had an opening for an administrator,” said Scott Reh, the director of athletics at Mount Sinai. “Rob was the perfect fit. He was a visionary.”

Sweeney, who has served nine years on the Mount Sinai board, including seven as the president, said Grable made a tremendous impact in the community and on the district.

“I will promote and advocate the resolution for the next board meeting,” he said. “The students will need it. They’ll come back to a building and see his name and they’ll find comfort in that. He was such a gentle soul, who ran a tight ship, and took the time to interact with every kid in our school." 

Thunderstorms and heavy winds had forced Monday's ceremony indoors. "I looked around during the vigil and three quarters of the people were former and present students and that spoke volumes,” Sweeney said.

A funeral Mass will be said at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in St. John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church, Bohemia. Interment will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery, Sayville.

Grable's survivors include three daughters. A scholarship fund has been created: The Rob Grable Daughters Scholarship Fund, checks payable to Mount Sinai Administrators Association, Mr. Matt Dyroff c/o Mount Sinai High School, 110 North Country Rd., Mount Sinai, NY 11766.

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