2010-01-22 / Obits

Melville Cuban

Hero Rockaway Lifeguard

Melville Cuban died December 6 in Delray Beach, Florida. He was 99 years old.

Cuban, who was born on August 8, 1910, was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York.

He was a Rockaway Beach lifeguard for 11 summers, starting in 1928, working most often at the eastern end of the peninsula.

On his 23rd birthday, August 8, 1933, he became a national hero by rescuing four young orphans from the raging surf in Reynold’s Channel after a large wave wiped out the sand bar on which they were standing. All in all, 33 children were saved by lifeguards that day but seven young boys died in the surf.

He was awarded with a medal for his heroism by Mayor John P. O’Brien.

After working in a defense plant during World War II, Cuban went on to be a science teacher in the New York City public school system, retiring and moving to Florida with his wife.

He is preceded in death by his first wife, Freda Koster, who died in 1954 and his second wife, Sarah Brown, who died in 1994.

He is survived by his two daughters, Susan Rein and Madelyn Halpern; 10 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Interment was in Delray Beach, Florida.

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