Robert “Bubba” Seaman, a beloved member of the Rockville Centre community, died of a 9/11-related illness on March 3, at age 57.
Officers and members of the Fire Department joined family members outside the Thomas A. Glynn and Son Funeral Home on March 8 to give Seaman a proper firefighter’s funeral.
“Ex-Chief Robert ‘Bubba’ Seaman served our village as a volunteer firefighter with courage and bravery,” 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.”
Seaman joined the department in June 1989. He took on several responsibilities as a member of Live Oak, and went on to serve as captain from 1995 to 1997 and again from 1999 to 2001, while also sitting on several department committees.
Like many emergency responders at the time, he helped with the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center on and after Sept. 11, 2001, alongside other members of the department.
Seaman is fondly remembered by the department as a natural leader who always made time to mentor young recruits. After serving as second and first assistant chief, he was chief of the department from 2015 to 2017.
He remained active throughout his 34 years of service. Whether responding to a call or meeting with committee members, he was always there to help.
“He was a great guy and a good fireman,” Second Assistant Chief Tony Ruggalo said. “He knew everybody, and was always a huge help who never, ever complained about anything.”
Keriann Grandazza, captain of Live Oak Engine No. 1, said Seaman 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 to the Mets to 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,” Grandazza wrote in an email. “Everyone knew that he was always a phone call away.”
Seaman was a delegate to the Fourth Battalion Fire District — serving East Rockaway, Lakeview, Lynbrook, Malverne and Rockville Centre — at the time of his death. He was also assistant chief fire inspector, warden of the fire council representing Engine Co. No. 1, and co-chair of the New Engine Committee, among other department and company committees.
“He was a true gentleman,” Village Trustee Emilio Grillo said. “He was extremely generous, not only to our Fire Department but to our community at large, and was a tremendous asset who will truly be missed.”
Seaman was a beloved member of the business community and a sales manager at P.C. Richard, where he worked for more than 25 years.
“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 we 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 is survived by his fiancée, Patricia Martinez, and his two siblings, Maggie and Jimmy.
After the funeral service on March 8, Seaman’s casket was hoisted onto the back of a 1931 vintage fire apparatus and escorted by members of the department to Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, where he was buried.