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Oppenheimer retires, Howard returns as Village of Rockville Centre trustee

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Ed Oppenheimer retired as a village trustee on July 1, having served in the position for 10 years. On Tuesday, Mayor Francis X. Murray swore in former Deputy Mayor Nancy Howard to fill the role of trustee.

“I love this community,” Howard said. “I have tremendous respect for Trustee Oppenheimer, and I vow to try to match his dedication to service.”

Oppenheimer’s wife, Ethel, told the Herald that her husband thanks the village for its continued support. “He loved serving the community as a trustee,” she said.

The Herald named Oppenheimer, a third-generation Rockville Centre resident, Person of the Year in 2017, and reported on his dedication to serving the village between cancer treatments.

Murray announced Oppenheimer’s retirement at the village’s July 1 board of trustees meeting. Murray noted that Oppenheimer “has spent a large portion of his life trying to make this community a better place.”

Trustee Emilio Grillo said that Oppenheimer’s “voice and fighting spirit” would remain with the board beyond his retirement. He said that Oppenheimer was always willing to stand up and give his opinion, whether it was popular or not, and enhanced collaboration among trustees.

“He’s someone who is so committed to the community,” Grillo said. “He’s not doing it for the notoriety, but really because he cares. I’m going to miss serving with him.”

Oppenheimer had already served the village for many years before he became a trustee. He has volunteered as a firefighter and emergency medical technician in the Fire Department’s Floodlight Rescue Company No. 1 for 40 years, and responded to thousands of calls throughout the village.

He is also a former Nassau County legislator and a past president of the Rockville Centre Public Library. He was a founding trustee of the village’s Community Fund — serving as its treasurer for 25 years — has been on the village Planning Board, and has served as a trustee for the Chamber of Commerce and Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David.

“There is no doubt that Ed’s dedication to our village runs so deep,” Murray said. “He is the embodiment of what an outstanding citizen is and should be, not batting an eye to getting involved to help his fellow neighbors.”

“We all are saddened to see him go from this position,” the mayor added. “We will truly miss him.”

Ben Strack contributed to this story.