Obituary, Edward Robert Wassman

Edward Robert Wassman, of Larchmont and Brant Lake, NY, died peacefully on January 26, 2008, at the age of 87. Mr. Wassman was awarded the Silver Star during World War II for his heroism on board the U.S.S. Franklin aircraft carrier. He was predeceased in 1998 by his wife of 53 years, Eleanor Humphrey Wassman.

Son of Irene and Edward Wassman, he was born in his parents’ home in New Rochelle, NY, on August 18, 1920. After graduating from New Rochelle High School magna cum laude in 1939, he enrolled at Columbia University in engineering where he was a member of Delta Phi.

With the outbreak of war in Europe, he earned his pilot’s license, and after Pearl Harbor he joined the U.S. Navy as a naval aviation cadet. He served as Deck Officer and Navigator on the U.S.S. Franklin, CV-13, which saw heavy combat duty in the Pacific. When the ship was hit by kamikazes on March 19, 1945, Mr. Wassman risked his life to save five men trapped below decks and was later awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. He then was part of the skeleton crew that sailed “The Ship That Wouldn’t Die” all the way back to New York City. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S.N.R. and in more recent years was Commander of the New York Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States.

At the war’s end, he married his beloved Eleanor and resumed his studies at Columbia, from which he graduated Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society) in 1948. He worked for Rockefeller Center Incorporated for 35 years rising to Vice President for Construction and Design and eventually President of the Rockefeller Center Construction Corporation and its subsidiaries. During his career, he oversaw the design and building of several major skyscrapers on the Avenue of the Americas as well as buildings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Arizona. Upon retirement, he served as a Construction Consultant for UST in Greenwich, Connecticut.

In addition to devoting himself to country and family, Mr. Wassman was an outstanding community leader. A lifelong member of the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church, he served on the board of Trustees four times, once as President, and on the Session and Deacons as well. For 15 years he chaired the Town of Mamaroneck Zoning Board, and he also served as Chairman of the Board of Architectural Review as well as Chairman of the Mamaroneck Town Republican Committee. He and his family joined Orienta Beach Club in 1957, where he served two terms as President of the Board.

He was a deeply revered and loved father and grandfather. He is survived by his daughter Diane Wassman Darst, Ph.D., and her husband David of Greenwich, CT; his son E. Robert Wassman, Jr., M.D., and his wife Susan of Marblehead, MA, and Seal Beach, CA; and his daughter Debra Wassman Lanman, M.Arch., and her husband Jonathan of Millbrook, NY, and New York, NY. In addition he is survived by six adoring grandchildren: Elizabeth M. Darst and her husband Charles S. Leykum; David M. Darst, Jr.; Eleanor F. Lanman; Jonathan T. Lanman, Jr.; Anna Cecelia Wassman; and E. Robert Wassman, III. As an emblematic member of the “Greatest Generation,” he will live on in our hearts forever.

Services will be held at 11 AM on Friday, February 1, 2008, at the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church, Forest Park Avenue in Larchmont, NY, with a reception to follow at Orienta Beach Club in Mamaroneck, NY. Donations may be made in his memory to the Larchmont Avenue Church, the Naval Order of the U.S. New York Commandery, or The Adirondack Council.
2080 Boston Post Road
Larchmont, NY 10538
(914) 834-0144

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