Mourning the death of Robert M. Best, distinguished citizen and devoted member of his community

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  • 30 / Jan / 2013
  • 05 / Feb / 2013
  • 05 / Feb / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of Robert M. Best, distin-
guished citizen and devoted member of his community

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body to pay tribute to
citizens of the State of New York whose lifework and civic endeavor
served to enhance the quality of life in their communities and the great
State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best of Binghamton, New York, died on Wednesday,
October 10, 2012, at the age of 90; and
WHEREAS, Born in Newcomerstown, Ohio, in 1922, Robert M. Best was the
son of the late Beatrice Mulvane Best and Chester R. Best; and
WHEREAS, In 1942, Robert M. Best enlisted in the United States Navy
and was separated from active duty with the rank of Lieutenant in 1946;
he continued in the active reserve until 1954; he met his first wife,
the late Roselyn Welton, when they were both students at Ohio Wesleyan
University; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best graduated from The Ohio State University in
1947, and spent his entire working life in the insurance business,
retiring in 1990 from Security Mutual Life as Chairman of the Board; he
was also a former CEO; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best distinguished himself in his profession and by
his sincere dedication and substantial contribution to the welfare of
his community; and
WHEREAS, This remarkable man served as Chairman of two affiliated
companies, Home Mutual Insurance Company and Security Equity Life Insur-
ance Company; he served as the director of several companies, including
Utica Mutual, Republic Franklin, Graphic Arts Mutual, New York Marine
and General, Marine Midland Bank, Buckingham Manufacturing, and
Universal Instrument Company; and
WHEREAS, In addition, Robert M. Best served the insurance industry as
President of the Life Insurance Council of New York, Chairman of the
Medical Index Bureau, Director of the American Council of Life Insur-
ance, a member of the State Insurance Board, Trustee of the New York
State Guarantee Corporation, and a life Trustee of the American College;
WHEREAS, He was a member of the New York Joint Labor Management
Committee, the New York Commission on Insurance and Banking Regulatory
Reform, Board of Governors-International Insurance Seminars, and Chair-
man of the New York Business Council Insurance Fund; and
WHEREAS, A dedicated community servant who lent his time and talents
to many organizations and who was known as a leader of leaders, Robert
M. Best served as President of the Broome County Chamber of Commerce,
President of the State Chamber, and a founding Director of the New York
State Business Council; moreover, he was the founding Chairman of the
Harpur Forum, Chairman of the Broome County Performing Arts Center,
Director of the Tri-Cities Opera, and Director of United Health Services
(UHS); and
WHEREAS, UHS credits Robert M. Best as the principal community leader
in the organization's successful efforts to bring open heart surgery to
Binghamton in the 1980s; and
WHEREAS, The Robert M. Best Center for Cardiac Services is located at
UHS's General Hospital facility in Binghamton, New York; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best also served for many years as an important
advisor to Senator Warren M. Anderson on economic development, higher
education and other issues; and
WHEREAS, Furthermore, Robert M. Best served as Director of Roberson
Museum and Science Center, and a member of Binghamton University (BU)

Council; he was one of the supporters for BU to create Thomas J. Watson
School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1983; he was also a found-
ing chair of the Harpur Forum and a regent for the New York State
Department of Education; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best had the foresight to recognize the need for a
school of engineering and applied science, which today, has become one
of the best in the nation; and
WHEREAS, Robert M. Best was President of UHS Foundation, a founding
Director of Broome Community Charities and a member of the State Board
of Regents; he was a congregant of Trinity Memorial Church and its
vestry, the Binghamton Club, the Putting Academy, the 21 Club, and the
Oteyowka Club; he was a past member of the Binghamton Country Club,
Binghamton Rotary Club, and the University Club of New York; and
WHEREAS, The recipient of numerous awards, Robert M. Best was honored
as a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1975; received the Man of the
Year Award from Sertoma Club, Hall of Fame Congress American Legion Post
80, State of Israel Peace Medal 1980, Huebner Gold Medal American
College, and Alumni Citizenship Award from Ohio State University in
1983, Citizenship Award Binghamton University Alumni 1984, Distinguished
Citizenship Award Susquehanna Council Boy Scouts of America, the New
York State Governor's Arts Award, Commitment to Community Award New York
State Business Council, and Free Enterprise Award all in 1985, Distin-
guished Citizen's Award, SUNY Board of Trustees and Public Service Award
- B'nai B'rith in 1987, and the University Medal from Binghamton Univer-
sity in 1988; and
WHEREAS, Predeceased by three brothers-in-law, Fred Smith, Donald
Addy, and Dr. Donald Kopes, Robert M. Best is survived by his loving
wife, Shirley Smith Best; and his family: son, Eric and wife, Ronna and
their two daughters, Marissa and Leah; son, Grant and daughters, Linda
and Christine; he is also survived by Shirley's family, Cynthia VanOst-
rand and her family, Karen (Randy) Bishop, Charles Stewart and his fami-
ly, and Brenda (Richard) Smith and their family; in addition, Robert M.
Best is survived by two wonderful sisters, Martha Jane Addy and Beryl
Ann Kopes, Janie's son, Tom Addy (Kelly) and family, and her daughter,
Jill Little and family, and Beryl's daughters, Jane Dixon and her fami-
ly, and Karen Archer (David) and family, and four sisters-in-law, Wanda
(Daniel) Chisarick, Marie (Paul) Benedict, Beverly (David) Conklin, and
Miriam Smith; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Robert M. Best 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 Robert M. Best, 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 Robert M. Best.


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