When Robert McIntyre was mayor of Great Neck from 1977 to 1981, he was dedicated to serving residents, and he wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty doing so, his son Douglas said.
At 11:30 one night during a thunderstorm, the phone at the family home rang. A resident was complaining of flooding, Douglas McIntyre of Los Angeles recalled.
“My father put on boots and a raincoat and went down to help clean out a storm drain, because that’s what was flooding the guy’s house,” the son said. “People would call the house, because, ‘You’re the mayor. Do something about it.’ My father didn’t think anything of it.”
Robert McIntyre died of heart failure April 29 at age 85 in Haslett, Michigan, where he had lived for the past year and a half.
McIntyre was born on Dec. 18, 1931, in Hollis, Queens, moving to Great Neck in 1942 with his parents and brother Jeffrey. While at what is now John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, he played on the baseball, basketball and soccer teams.
McIntyre played shortstop, said baseball teammate Bob Quinn.
“I was awful,” Quinn, now 85, said with a laugh. “He was good. Baseball in the summertime was our thing. If we weren’t playing in the league, we were playing in pickup games.”
Quinn, McIntyre and their buddies would go fishing in a rowboat on the Sound and hang out at Jones Beach, sometimes spending the night sleeping on the sand.
McIntyre attended SUNY Maritime College and the University of Mississippi. He spent most of his career as an engineer and parts designer for Target Rock Corp. of Farmingdale, his son said.
He started in village government on the planning board and, after serving as a village trustee, he was elected mayor for two terms.
“He didn’t aspire to make a career out of politics at all,” his son said. “He lived in Great Neck and the town was good to him, and he had a lot of affection and love for the town.”
Among his accomplishments was helping to establish a 74-unit federally subsidized residence for seniors, many of whom were being priced out of the village, said David Ferguson, 76, a village trustee when McIntyre was in village government.
“I think he did a fantastic job, an excellent job as mayor,” Ferguson said.
Howard Miskin, 79, who was deputy mayor under McIntyre, said McIntyre “was very creative and a very hard worker.”
“We had a small staff and we did a lot of the work ourselves,” Miskin recalled. “And we never took money from the village except expenses.”
In addition to his son, survivors are his wife, Nancy Scudder McIntyre; daughter, Kathleen McIntyre Herndon of upstate Brewster; and six grandchildren. Son Jeffrey McIntyre died in 2013.
Services in Michigan are private. McIntyre’s ashes will be scattered in the Great Neck area at a later date, Douglas McIntyre said.