Years ago, sometime after he had retired from his career as a salesman, Robert Greenberger went to Nassau Coliseum to visit his daughter, Caryn Sheckler, and her husband, Cole, who were showing the crafts they made at a fair.
While there, he had an idea that would combine two of his greatest skills — sales and working with people. He soon started selling dried fruit and nuts at weekend markets, fairs and festivals.
“He loved interacting with the public, and people loved him,’’ Caryn Sheckler said. “That’s where the success came in — he wasn’t financially successful, but he was successful in other ways.’’
“Everyone loved my dad,’’ Robert Greenberger's son, Richard Greenberger, said. “He was a bon vivant. He had the most wicked sense of humor.’’
Robert Greenberger, 88, of Greenport, died on March 23 from complications related to COVID-19, his daughter said.
He died two days before what would have been his 64th wedding anniversary. His wife, Joan, who lived with him at the Peconic Landing retirement community, has so far not exhibited symptoms of the disease.
“She’s fine,’’ Sheckler said of her mother. “She’s heartbroken, but she’s healthy.’’
Robert Greenberger was born in the Bronx on Dec. 28, 1931. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School – where he later worked for many years as a substitute teacher – and City College of New York, where he was captain of the lacrosse team.
He met Joan on a blind date on a snowy night in 1954. They married in 1956, and lived in Yonkers, Hartsdale and Ossining, in Westchester County. They moved to Peconic Landing in September 2016. They both loved it there, Sheckler said.
Greenberger had been suffering from ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the time he died. But before that, he had been a fly fisherman and served a term as president of the Westchester County chapter of Trout Unlimited, a national organization that works to preserve freshwater rivers and streams and habitat for trout, salmon and other aquatic wildlife.
Robert Greenberger is survived by his wife, Joan; two sons, Jeff (Doc) Greenberger, and his wife, Lorene Custer, of Cutchogue, and Richard Greenberger and his wife, Keri, of Burdett, New York; his daughter, Caryn Sheckler, and her husband Cole, of Ithaca; and a granddaughter.