Robert Blakeman, a World War II veteran, a three-term state assemblyman and former Valley Stream Village attorney, died Saturday morning. He was 92.
Blakeman served as Valley Stream’s village attorney for seven years and was instrumental in developing the village, said his son Bruce Blakeman, a Hempstead Town councilman.
Bruce Blakeman said his father also served as a legal representative in building portions of the Long Island Expressway, the Northern and Southern Parkways and the Robert Moses Parkway.
Robert Blakeman was the first president of Franklin Hospital in 1973 and had a private law practice in Valley Stream until two years ago.
“He was really involved in the building of Long Island,” Bruce Blakeman said. “Aside from being a devoted husband and father, he dedicated his life to public service.”
Robert Blakeman was born in New York City and moved to Long Island as a child. He graduated from Long Beach High School.
He enlisted in the Merchant Marines when he was 17 and was in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He served for two years during World War II on gasoline tankers bringing supplies through submarine-infested waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Bruce Blakeman said. One mission as a navigator took supplies and gasoline for tanks to Gen. George Patton in North Africa, his son said.
After the war, Blakeman graduated from Hofstra University and received his law degree from NYU. He married his wife, Betty, in 1950.
Blakeman was Valley Stream village attorney from 1955 to 1961. During his tenure, he paid $10 to purchase land from New York City and the state for what is now Arthur J. Hendrickson Park and Pool. He also founded the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library.
While in the Assembly, Blakeman established revenue sharing to make sure all counties in the state were treated equitably and fairly.
After returning to private practice, Blakeman and a group of investors purchased Franklin Hospital Medical Center from a group of doctors. The hospital was renovated and acquired a new parking field from New York State at no cost. Blakeman sold the hospital to Northwell Health in the 1990s.
Blakeman continued to practice law at Robert Blakeman and Associates in Valley Stream until 2016, along with Bruce, of Valley Stream, and his younger son Bradley, of Alexandria, Virginia. Bradley Blakeman worked in the White House under George W. Bush.
“My father instilled my brothers and sisters with a very strong commitment to community service and a love of our country,” Bruce Blakeman said.
Blakeman died of natural causes at his Valley Stream home where he had lived for 63 years.
He is predeceased by his wife in 1995. In addition to his sons, survivors include a brother, Royal E. Blakeman; daughters Karen, Linda, both of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Cathy, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great grandchildren.
A private burial is planned Monday at Long Island National Cemetery. Pinelawn. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Lawrence Yacht and Country Club, 101 Causeway, Lawrence.