Funeral held for a beloved firefighter


Robert “Bubba” Seaman was a beloved member of the Rockville Centre community, who died of 9/11-related illness in the line of duty on March 3, at the age of 57.

Officers and members of the fire department joined family members outside of the Thomas A. Glynn and Son Funeral Home, last Wednesday morning, to provide a proper fireman’s funeral.

Seaman was a delegate to the Fourth Battalion Fire District — serving the East Rockaway, Lakeview, Lynbrook, Malverne, and Rockville Centre communities, through to the time of his death.

“Not everyone knew, but ex-chief Robert Seaman supported and helped our wounded warriors,” Steve Grogan, vice-chairman of the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warriors, said. “Anytime (the organization) needed any type of appliance for the wounded, we always went to him. And he, with the backing of the company, always came through and helped them.”

Seaman learned all of the different phases of firefighting after joining the Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department in June 1989.

He took on several responsibilities as a member of Live Oak Engine Company No. 1, where he went on to serve as captain from 1995 to 1997, and again from 1999 to 2001, while also serving on different department committees.

“Ex-Chief Robert ‘Bubba’ Seaman served our village as a volunteer firefighter with courage and bravery,” Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray said in a statement. “He was a true asset to our community and will be greatly missed. Our prayers and condolences go out to his family and his friends as well as his family at the Rockville Centre Fire Department and especially Rockville Centre Live Oak Engine Company No. 1”

Like many emergency responders serving throughout Nassau County at the time, he did not hesitate to help out with the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, alongside other members of the department.

He is fondly remembered by members of the department as a natural leader, who always made the time to speak and mentor younger recruits.

After serving as the second assistant and first assistant fire chief, he was named Chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department from 2015 to 2017.

Throughout his 34 years of service, he maintained a high level of activity with the department, whether it meant responding to a call or meeting with committee members, he was always there to help.

“He was a great guy and a good fireman,” Tony Ruggalo, second assistant chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department said. “He knew everybody and was always a huge help who never ever complained about anything.”

Bruce Schwarting, secretary of the fire department, said he would often be spotted on a Friday night, surrounded by his closest friends at MacArthur Park — one of his favorite local watering holes — where he would talk about everything from the firehouse, the New York Mets, or any other sports team you could place a bet on. 

“He was always there to help everyone out, whether it be at the firehouse, P.C. Richards, or while passing you on the street,” Schwarting said via email. “Everyone knew that he was always a phone call away.”

In addition to his role with the RVC Fire Department, Seaman was a beloved member of the business community and a sales manager for P.C. Richard and Son on Sunrise Highway, where he worked for more than 25 years.

Seaman is survived by his loving fiancé, Patricia Martinez, and his two siblings, Maggie and Jimmy.

Visitation was held on Monday, March 6, and Tuesday, March 7, and followed in the evening by a Rockville Centre Fire Department Service at the Thomas A. Glynn and Son Funeral Home on Lincoln Avenue. 

Following the funeral service on Wednesday morning, the casket was hauled onto the back of a 1931 vintage fire apparatus, and escorted by members of the department to Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, where he was laid to rest.