Howard Miskin, former mayor of the Village of Great Neck and one of the founders and first chair-person of the Water Authority of Great Neck, passed away on Aug. 25 at the age of 89.
Miskin was born in Astoria, Queens, but grew up in Brookline, MA. According to his daughter, Deborah Lobodzic of Great Neck, Miskin was a Bostonian who loved the Patriots and was a fan of the Boston teams.
He joined the army and learned to drive a Sherman tank during World War II in preparation of being deployed to Europe. However, he was ordered off the transport ship and was reassigned to the Armor School at Fort Knox to train on the new M26 Pershing main battle tanks to prepare for the invasion of Japan.
After the war, Miskin attended Purdue University to study mechanical engineering. During his studies, he worked for the United States Department of the Navy and was part of the team that designed the hull of the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine.
While at Purdue, Miskin met his future wife, Lenore. After graduating in 1957 from Harvard Law School, Miskin became an attorney practicing in patent and trademark law.
The Miskins settled in Great Neck, where they raised their four children. Miskin was a senior partner at the intellectual property law firm of Miskin & Tsui-Yip, LLP, and was very active in the Great Neck community. Serving most recently as an associate village justice of Kings Point and formerly village justice of Great Neck, Miskin was also twice elected mayor of the Village of Great Neck and held other numerous positions in the village.
“Judge Howard Miskin was a wonderful friend and a scholar,” said Gary C. Granoff, village justice of the Village of Kings Point. “When I first became the village justice of the Village of Kings Point in 2008, Judge Miskin was the associate justice. He mentored me and taught me the practical issues of being a local judge and how to administer justice for the people and the defendants who came before the court. I will miss his smile, good sense of humor, his wit and intellect, and the excellent ways he conducted himself as the associate village justice of the Kings Point Village Justice Court.”
George Banville, commissioner of the Kings Point Police Department, also fondly remembers Miskin during his judgeship.
“As a village justice, Howard worked hard to get all the facts to get to a fair decision,” Banville said. “He was very insightful and had a keen way of getting to the heart of the matter. Howard was a busy man but as busy as he was, he always stopped to take the time to answer a question or help somebody.”
Miskin was most proud of his work to convert the local private water company, Citizens Water Supply Co. into a public Water Authority of Great Neck and became its first chairperson in 1989; he served as chairman or vice chairman until his retirement in 2016.
Robert Graziano, deputy chairperson of the Water Authority of Great Neck North, met Miskin in 1989. Back then Graziano was the authority’s first superintendent, working closely with Miskin to set up the organization.
“Howard looked at the Water Authority as something very special,” said Graziano. “Within six months, he had put a team together to run the authority in a way that would save tremendous dollars for the villages and residents. Not satisfied to merely produce water within the state and federal guidelines, he pushed for nondetect levels of contaminants, wanting the water to be as pure as it could be.”
On a personal note, Graziano reflects that Miskin was not only a mentor but taught him a lot on how to be compassionate and strong. He also remembers how the Miskins opened up their home, welcoming everyone 24/7.
“His wife Lenore was extremely hospitable and I would go and see Howard at home and we continued to discuss the Water Authority right till the end,” said Graziano. “He was one of the most respected people I have known in my lifetime and I will certainly miss him.”
Miskin is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lenore; daughters Deborah Lobodzic, Cynthia Lapin and Leslie Cunningham; son Stephen Miskin; as well as several grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Read also “Howard C. Miskin, 89.”