Magelaner remembered for his friendship, activism, leadership and service.
By SHERRY HALBROOK
Many PEF members and retirees are grieving the loss of Richard Magelaner, 83, who died April 5 in New York City.
Magelaner was president of the New York City Chapter of PEF Retirees and was very active in the PEF Veterans Committee for decades. He was also a dedicated political activist. He was retired from the state Labor Department, where he started in 1970 as a claims examiner. He held a degree in accounting and personnel management from NY University.
“It was a great honor to serve with Richie on the PEF Retirees Executive Board,” said PEF Retirees Buffalo Chapter President Craig Speers. “He gave his all for the retirees and especially for the veterans he so dearly loved. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Those sentiments were echoed by many others. Don Przbyl, said, “Rich was a tireless fighter for our veterans and for all PEF members. I will miss seeing him at the Executive Board meetings and hearing all of his great stories.”
Sometimes Magelaner was the story, as in 2008 when he was profiled in a story in the NY Daily News, titled “A union man’s union man.” In that story by Clem Richardson, John Liu (then a NYC councilman and later the city comptroller) is quoted as saying Magelaner “is at the same time Richie from Queens and a Renaissance man. He has the energy of a teenager. I told him not to retire because he would be twice as busy. He retired and now he’s twice as busy.”
A native of the Bronx, Magelaner joined the U.S. Army in 1953 after a brief stint in his teens as an ice hockey player in Quebec for a Rangers farm team.
Magelaner was active in the Democratic Party and was among those who persuaded the state Health Department to open the St. Albans Veterans Home in Queens in 1993.
“Richie will be missed! He was not only a union activist, but a very wonderful individual,” said PEF Retirees President Jim Carr.
“Whenever I think of Rich, I always see his big hand stretched out to me in friendship,” said PEF Veterans Committee Chair Bruce Jagroop. “He spotted me at a PEF convention and made sure I went to the annual veterans luncheon there. That’s how I got started with the PEF Veterans Committee.”