Robert Citkovic served as the Lynbrook fire chief from 1985...

Robert Citkovic served as the Lynbrook fire chief from 1985 to 1986. Credit: Family Photo

Robert Citkovic, a Vietnam War veteran who served as the fire department chief in Lynbrook, died Nov. 5 after battling diabetes, prostate cancer and undergoing heart surgery. He was 74.

Citkovic loved playing golf, rooting for the New York Islanders and reading books about astronomy. Before he died, Citkovic traveled to all 50 states and seven continents, including Antarctica.

“Antarctica was the best,” said Robert’s wife Jean, who lives in Cumberland County, Tennessee. “I remember the blue ice. The icebergs were blue because they had been so old and so dense.”

Citkovic was born in Brooklyn on June 3, 1943. His parents moved to Lynbrook when Citkovic was 3 months old. He graduated from Lynbrook Senior High School in 1961.

Soon after graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served during the Vietnam War.

Citkovic returned to the United States in 1967 and began working for IBM as a customer engineer. He spent more than 30 years with the company before retiring in 2003. While at IBM, he met Jean, who was working as a receptionist in the same department. The couple were married two years later.

While working at IBM, Citkovic joined the Lynbrook Rescue Squad of the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department. He eventually became the department’s chief, serving from 1985 to 1986.

Citkovic’s daughter said those days as fire chief were some of her best memories of her father.

“I was in third grade, and I remember always wearing a T-shirt that said, ‘My dad is the fire chief’,” said Carol Best, of Lafayette, California. “When he was driving the fire chief car, he was just larger than life. He was kind of like a local celebrity.”

Soon after retiring, Citkovic and his wife moved to a retirement community in Tennessee to live out their golden years. When they got there in 2003, Citkovic joined the Fairfield Glade Volunteer Fire Department and became chief in 2006.

The chief’s title came with a salary Citkovic didn’t want, said Vince Peters, the fire department’s records officer. Instead, Citkovic used the salary to bump up pay for fire captains and other volunteer members.

“That was very unselfish of him to do,” Peters said. “He was super-generous with the community.”

In addition to his wife and daughter, Citkovic is survived by son Robert Scott Citkovic of Grand Junction, Colorado; brother James Citkovic and sister Margaret Citkovic, both of Manhattan.

A funeral was held Nov. 10 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Crossville, Tennessee. A ceremony honoring his military service will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Westbury Superfund site … Trump on trial … Summer attractions Credit: Newsday

Student blames cancer on landfill ... Westbury Superfund site ... Congestion pricing ... Knicks lose Game 7

Westbury Superfund site … Trump on trial … Summer attractions Credit: Newsday

Student blames cancer on landfill ... Westbury Superfund site ... Congestion pricing ... Knicks lose Game 7

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME