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Robert Brandenberger: The 'godfather' of Lindenhurst

Robert Brandenberger

Robert Brandenberger Credit: Brian Graham


Robert Brandenberger didn’t have many friends. Though this reads like an indictment at first, the reason speaks volumes about the man — Brandenberger didn’t have many friends because he treated everyone like family.

From his immediate and extended family members, to his "brothers" in the Lindenhurst Fire Department, to the generation of youth in the community he helped mentor and to all who knew the open-door policy at “Uncle Bobby’s” house, Brandenberger treated everyone with an abundance of love.

Brandenberger, 62, died April 12, from complications due to the coronavirus. He lived his entire life in Lindenhurst with Susan, his wife of 40 years. The couple raised four children, Robert, Raymond, Corinne and Courtney.

“He was such a big guy. It’s so funny that his personality was the opposite of how he looked. People who may not have known him would see this tough guy, but he could talk about his kids for hours. And that includes his nieces, nephews, players and students,” said Brandenberger's nephew, Brian Graham, of West Babylon. “He was so nice to people and an adoring father to his kids.”

Brandenberger served as president of the Lindenhurst football and cheerleading leagues, mainly so he could stay involved in his children’s interests. He was the kind of dad that took visible pride in his children — his face lighting up at the mere mention of any of them, according to his nephew.

And Brandenberger’s caring quality extended well beyond immediate family to fellow residents of his hometown, where he was a well-known figure. He joined the Lindenhurst Fire Department right out of high school, serving for 40 years. He was also the ex-captain of the fire department's Breslau Engine Company 1.

“He knew everyone and treated them all like family. People were just so drawn to him,” said Graham, who called his uncle the “godfather” of Lindenhurst. “He always left such a positive impression on whoever he talked to. And they would never forget him even after meeting him once.”

Outside of the firehouse, Brandenberger managed the groundskeepers at Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island, and then for the Lindenhurst School District. He also served the community through multiple terms on the Lindenhurst Board of Education, giving him a direct outlet to provide guidance for the youth of the community he loved so much.

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“People who hadn’t seen him since their kids were young or even since high school graduation in 1975, would instantly light up,” Graham said. “It was masterful to watch him at homecoming or at a holiday party. He was so in tune with crowds everywhere.”

Graham said that his uncle’s larger-than-life presence also provided immeasurable comfort to so many over the years.

Brandenberger also directed that comfort inward toward his family whenever they needed him most, whether it was everyday problems or immense tragedy, like the death of his son Robert in 2009.

“Even now, it’s second nature to want to call him and talk to him about whatever,” said Graham. “That’s the kind of person he was.”

In addition to his wife and three children, Bradenberger is survived by many nieces and nephews. A service was held on Friday, April 17 at the Breslau Cemetery in Lindenhurst.

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