As mayor of Upper Brookville for more than three decades, Alfred J. Seaman was a staunch advocate of maintaining the village's quaint rural character.
"If Al Seaman didn't like the way you designed your house, it wasn't going to get built that way," said his son, Barrett Seaman of Irvington. "He was pretty tough. He was a real believer in protecting green space."
Seaman died from pneumonia Saturday at his Upper Brookville home, three months shy of his 100th birthday.
Born in Hempstead in 1912, Seaman went on to graduate from Columbia University and work in the advertising industry. During World War II, Seaman was a lieutenant with the Navy, serving on both the Atlantic and Pacific fronts as a combat information officer aboard aircraft carriers.
After the war, Seaman joined Manhattan's Compton Advertising as a writer, later becoming creative director and executive vice president. In 1959, he joined the firm of Sullivan, Stauffer, Colwell and Bayles, becoming president and then chief executive. Seaman helped bring his company together with London-based Lintas, one of the top agencies in the world. He retired in 1981.
Among Seaman's clients were Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. "He really believed in the products he was advertising and we had to use them," said his son. "You did not brush with Colgate toothpaste if he was advertising Crest."
While the industry at the time was focused on catchy jingles, Seaman was a believer in marketing research, his son said, placing emphasis on consumer surveys. Passionate about the study of advertising and marketing, in 1983 he founded the nonprofit Advertising Educational Foundation.
Serving as mayor of Upper Brookville from 1966 to 1998, Seaman was one of the state's longest serving elected officials. He loved the job, his son said, and often presided over village board meetings in the family's finished basement.
As mayor, Seaman was involved in one of the village's more controversial moments, as Upper Brookville sought to limit new residential development to 5-acre parcels. The law was upheld by the courts in 1981 after four years of litigation.
In his spare time, Seaman "lived and breathed" golf, his son said, with a lifetime record of seven holes in one. A joyous man, he also loved Shakespeare. Breakfast time growing up often included an impromptu recital from "Hamlet" or "Richard III," his son said, with Seaman performing fresh out of the shower, a towel wrapped around his waist.
Seaman was predeceased by his first wife, Mary Margaret Seaman, and second wife, Honor Mellor Seaman.
In addition to his son, Seaman is survived by daughters Marilyn Hollingsworth of Locust Valley, Susan Seaman of Manhattan, and Debbie Seaman of New Canaan, Conn; three stepchildren; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.