Mourning the death of The Honorable Robert A. Harlem, distinguished citizen and devoted member of his community

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  • 12 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of The Honorable Robert A.
Harlem, distinguished citizen and devoted member of his community

WHEREAS, The State of New York is deeply saddened by the loss of its
esteemed residents and distinguished public servants; and
WHEREAS, Former New York State Supreme Court Judge Robert A. Harlem of
Oneonta, New York, and a winter resident of Venice, Florida, died on
Thursday, September 13, 2012, at the age of 86; and
WHEREAS, Born on Flag Day, June 14, 1926, in New York City, to Helen
(Goetz) and Leroy Harlem, Robert A. Harlem was very patriotic and exhib-
ited his love of his country by wearing a United States flag pin almost
every day; and
WHEREAS, He was raised in Yonkers the second oldest of five children;
despite losing his father as a young boy, he did not let that deter him
from obtaining his education and pursuing his dreams; and
WHEREAS, Robert A. Harlem served his country as a member of the United
States Army; and
WHEREAS, He graduated from Champlain College, and in 1953, he moved to
the Oneonta area after graduating from Albany Law School; he then joined
the law firm of Harrington and Bookhout in Oneonta, New York; and
WHEREAS, Robert A. Harlem's unmatched oratorical skills, prolific
writing abilities, mental agility and passion for the law enabled him to
become a most revered litigator; he was a lawyer's lawyer; still trying
cases into his early 80s, his legal career spanned six decades; and
WHEREAS, This distinguished attorney worked as a trial lawyer, a judge
and in private practice; he was elected Otsego County and Surrogate
Court Judge in 1972; he was nominated for state supreme court in 1978,
and subsequently elected to serve the sixth judicial district; and
WHEREAS, He served as New York State Supreme Court Justice, 1979 to
1991; as Otsego County Surrogate Court Judge, 1975 to 1978; as Otsego
County attorney; and town attorney during the 1950s through the 1970s
for many surrounding towns until he became surrogate court judge; and
WHEREAS, In 1991, Judge Robert A. Harlem retired from the bench and
practiced law with his son, Richard A. Harlem; and
WHEREAS, Robert A. Harlem's commitment to excellence, and his spirit
of humanity, carried over into all fields of enterprise, including char-
itable and civic endeavors; and
WHEREAS, He incorporated the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club in 1964, and
served on its board; served as the attorney for the Goodyear Lake Asso-
ciation and was instrumental in saving the lake from being drained; and
attorney for the Holy Name Society and the Newman House; and
WHEREAS, A congregant of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Robert A.
Harlem served as a Grande Knight (Knights of Columbus); a member of the
Fox Hospital Foundation; founding member and chairman of the board-O-
neonta Indians Football Club; and the Oneonta Country Club, serving as
both a director and president; he was very proud that he "shot his age"
beginning in his 70s; and
WHEREAS, Furthermore, Robert A. Harlem was a trustee for the Elks;
guest conductor for UCCCA; Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of
the Year; supporter of St. Mary's School, Orpheus Theater and Hartwick
College; member Advisory Board for the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Saraso-
ta County, Florida; supporter of Bon Secours Hospital; founding member
of the Community Foundation at the Venice Golf and Country Club; and
member of the Board of Directors of the Master Association of the Venice
Golf and Country Club; and
WHEREAS, Robert A. Harlem is survived by his wife, Irene; his former
wife and mother of his children, Ramona P. Harlem; his six children,

Robert A. (Barbara) Harlem, Jr., Ramona (Richard) Palermo, Richard A.
(Debra) Harlem, Rebecca (John) Lloyd, Ruth Ehrets, and Rosemary
(William) Harlem-Wood; eight grandchildren; one brother, Roy (Joan)
Harlem; four stepchildren, Charles (Sue) Mann, Donald Mann, Kenneth
(Barbara) Mann, and Robert (Karen) Mann; seven step-grandchildren; and
six step-great-grandchildren; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Robert A. Harlem leaves behind a legacy which will long
endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all
he served and befriended; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of The Honorable Robert A. Harlem, distinguished citizen
and devoted member of his community; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of The Honorable Robert A. Harlem.


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