By John Maher
On Sept. 30, the Rockville Links will host the 26th Annual Mayor’s Golf Classic, this year honoring Robert Schenone, owner of Schenone Nursery on Long Beach Road and a nearly lifelong resident of the village.
Schenone, 61, was born in Mercy Hospital in 1951, and attended the St. Agnes Cathedral School until high school, when his family moved to Oceanside. He graduated from Oceanside High School in 1970, and went on to earn a degree in mechanical engineering from the New York Institute of Technology.
But it wasn’t long before Schenone was back in Rockville Centre. After working as a marine surveyor for the American Bureau of Shipping for five years, he moved to Baldwin for a year before he and his wife, Rose, were married. In 1981, he began working at his father’s nursery.
“I missed having my hands in the dirt, as strange as that might seem,” he said. “So I came back and joined my father.”
During the 32 years Schenone has been at the nursery, he has been a dependable volunteer in the village. He has coached soccer, and served as vice president of the Rockville Centre Conservancy and as landscape consultant to the village. He is currently the director and vice president of the Friends of Senior Services Inc. and the chairman of the zoning board.
“We’ve been here all our lives,” he said, adding of the village, “It’s treated us well. We’ve lived good lives. It’s only fair to give back to the community whenever you can.”
Schenone has also helped with many other projects in the village: the playground and the flag pole brick inlay at Hewitt School, two brick patios at the Wilson Elementary School and one at South Side Middle School, the expansion of the Sandel Senior Center and the creation of its garden park, and the 9/11 Memorial on the Village Green.
“Landscaping has evolved over the years,” he explained. “When my father started, it was just a bunch of people cutting grass. Today, landscaping is shaping the land. Today you have to know concrete work, you have to know brickwork, you have to know so many different things.”