Robert M. Best died on October 10, 2012. He was born in Newcomerstown, OH in 1922, the son of the late Beatrice Mulvane Best and Chester R. Best. He met his first wife, the late Roselyn Welton, when they were both students at Ohio Wesleyan University.
He 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, all of Binghamton. He is also survived by Shirley's family, Cynthia VanOstrand and her family, Karen (Randy) Bishop, Charles Stewart and his family, and Brenda (Richard) Smith and their family. Bob is also 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 Kopes and her family, and Karen Archer (David) and family. He is also survived by four sisters-in-law, Wanda (Daniel) Chisarick, Marie (Paul) Benedict, Beverly (David) Conklin, and Miriam Smith.
He was preceded in death by three brothers-in-law, Fred Smith, Donald Addy, and Dr. Donald Kopes.
Bob enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and was separated from active duty with the rank of Lieutenant (jg) in 1946. He continued in the active reserve until 1954. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 1947 and spent his entire working life in the insurance business, retiring from Security Mutual Life as Chairman of the Board in 1990. He also served as Chairman of two affiliated companies, Home Mutual Insurance Company and Security Equity Life Insurance 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. Bob also 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 Insurance, a member of the State Insurance Board, Trustee of the New York State Guarantee Corporation, and a life Trustee of the American College. He was a member of the NY Joint Labor Management Committee, the NY Commission on Insurance and Banking Regulatory Reform, Board of Governors-International Insurance Seminars, and the Chairman of the NY Business Council Insurance Fund. He served his community 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. He was the founding Chairman of the Harpur Forum, Chairman of the Broome County Performing Arts Center, Director of the Tri-Cities Opera, Director of United Health Services, Director of Roberson Center, and a member of Binghamton University Council, President of UHS Foundation, a founding Director of Broome Community Charities and a member of the State Board of Regents. He was a member 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. He was honored as a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1975. He has 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 BSA, Governor's Arts Award NYS, Commitment to Community Award NYS Business Council, and Free Enterprise Award all in 1985, Distinguished Citizen's Award, SUNY Board of Trustees and Public Service Award - B'nai B'rith in 1987, University Medal - Binghamton University 1988. He will be missed by his family, friends, and the community. The family wishes to thank Laura Giannetto for her devoted and loving care for the past 18 months.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Addy Funeral Home on Saturday Nov. 3 at 11am with Pastor Derek Hickman officiating. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Bob may be made to the charity of one's choice or to the Best Cardiac Center, UHS Foundation, 33 Mitchell Ave., Binghamton, NY 13903