Robert A. Harlem

  • Born: June 14, 1926
  • Died: September 13, 2012
  • Location: Venice, Florida

Tribute & Message From The Family


Robert A. (Bob) Harlem, 86, of Oneonta, New York and a winter resident of Venice, Florida, died September 13, 2012. Bob was born June 14, 1926 in New York, NY to Helen (Goetz) and Leroy Harlem. Born on Flag Day, Bob was very patriotic. He exhibited his love of his country by wearing the US Flag pin almost every day.

Survivors include his wife, Irene; six children: Robert A. Harlem, Jr. (Barbara), of Oneonta, NY, Ramona Palermo (Richard) of Sarasota, FL, Richard Harlem (Debra) of Oneonta, NY, Rebecca Lloyd (John) of Fort Edward, NY, Ruth Ehrets of Oneonta, NY and Rosemary Harlem-Wood (William) of Sarasota, FL; eight grandchildren; brother, Roy Harlem (Joan) of Caldwell, NJ; and four step-children, Charles (Sue) Mann, Donald Mann, Kenneth (Barbara) Mann and Robert (Karen) Mann, seven step-grandchildren, six step-great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 am Monday, September 17, 2012 at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 790 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, Florida. Memorial Donations may be made to The Community Foundation at The Venice Golf & Country Club, PO Box 55, Venice, FL 34284 or to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 790 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285.
He was raised in Yonkers, New York the second oldest of five children. Despite losing his father as a young boy, he did not let that deter him from obtaining his education and pursuing his dreams. He served in the US Army, graduated from Champlain College and Albany Law School. Upon graduation from law school, he joined the law firm of Harrington and Bookhout in Oneonta, NY. His prolific writing abilities, unmatched oratorical skills, ability to think on his feet and passion for the law enabled him to become a most revered litigator; he was a lawyer's lawyer. His legal career spanned over six decades. He continued to try cases into his mid-80's.

A few of his accomplishments include:
• Incorporated the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club in 1955 and has been on the board from then until the present - entry way dedicated to him
• Member of the Fox Hospital Foundation
• Hartwick College - donor and supporter
• Goodyear Lake Association. Attorney for the association and was instrumental in saving the lake.
• Orpheus Theater, Oneonta, NY - donor for many years
• Member of St Mary's Church Roman Catholic Church, Oneonta, NY
• St Mary's School, Oneonta, NY, a donor for many years
• St Mary's, Oneonta, NY - attorney for the Holy Name Society and the Newman House
• Grande Knight (Knights of Columbus)
• Oneonta Country Club - served as both a director and the President, and was very proud that he "shot his age" beginning in his 70's!
• Trustee for the Elks
• Chairman of the Board of the Oneonta Indians Football Team
• Guest conductor for UCCCA
• Town attorney during the 50s, 60s, and 70s for many of the surrounding towns until he became the Surrogate Court Judge
• Served as Otsego County Attorney for several years
• Elected to the Otsego County Surrogate Court in 1974
• Elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 1978
• Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year
• Member of Advisory Board of the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Sarasota County, FL
• Hosted fundraiser for Bon Secours Hospital now known as Venice Regional Hospital, Venice, FL
• Founding member of the Community Foundation at The Venice Golf & Country Club

His personality was such that he fit in with all from bar room to board room. His enthusiasm for life was contagious and will be remembered.