OBITUARY

Norman Zelvin

May 26, 1929February 14, 2021

Norman Yale Zelvin May 26, 1929 - February 14, 2021

On February 14th, 2021, Norman Yale Zelvin, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather passed away peacefully at his home in Eastchester, NY at age of 91.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Vivian Shore Zelvin, his three children and their spouses: Lynn Zelvin, Michael Zelvin and wife Martiza Zelvin, Diana Zelvin and husband Jeff Harris; three grandchildren: Jacob Zelvin, Decker Harris and Beatriz Loyd; and great-grandchildren Eliza and Asa Loyd. He is remembered by his brother Joe Zelvin and wife Mimi Koren. His sister, Eleanor Scheiner passed away in 2020 and is survived by husband Don Scheiner.

Norman was born on May 26th, 1929 in New York City. He grew up the eldest of three children in Crown Heights Brooklyn in a brownstone full of generations, to father Arnold Zelvin, an artist, inventor and beloved teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School and his mother Sadie Zelvin, an executive secretary.

Norman graduated among the top of his class, also at Brooklyn Tech, in 1947. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering. He edited the wry school paper, and remained in contact with college friends throughout his life.

He began his career at General Electric company, occupying positions in engineering and marketing, having developed a marketing report and plan for G.E.'s entrance into the commercial aircraft jet engine market.

During the Korean War, Norman served in the U.S. Ordnance Corps as a project engineer, supervising the manufacture of artillery ammunition while stationed at Picatinny arsenal from 1952 to 1954. He is credited with discovering the use of fiberglass for munition military parachutes, as formerly the material used would frequently burn up in the atmosphere, destroying valuable equipment.

It was upon his return from military service to his new family home in Larchmont, New York that he met his neighbor, and bride-to-be, Vivian, whose family was also a recent transplant from Brooklyn. They married in 1957 and moved to Eastchester, New York in 1961, where they raised their three children.

Norman served as an officer of Curtiss-Wright Corporation and later, of its affiliate, Dorr Oliver, Inc., one of the first multinational engineering and manufacturing companies. While working there he traveled to cities such as Amsterdam and Milan bringing back home unusual toys, foriegn comic books and edibles for the family.

In 1976, he opened the first NY branch of Valuation Research, a company specializing in mergers and acquisitions where he was Vice President and Supervising Regional Manager. During his years with them, Norman assisted many Fortune 500 firms in studies dealing with property, equipment, intellectual property, and other intangible assets. Clients ranged from American Airlines, American Express, Barnes and Noble, Chase Manhattan Bank, Cheesborough-Pond’s, Ciba-Geigy, Citibank, Continental Grain, Copperweld, Cyclops, Eastman Kodak, Ethan Allen, Exxon, Forstmann, Gannett, GE, GTE, Honeywell, John Hancock, Howard Johnsn, ITT, Kohlberg, Kennecott, Morgan Stanley, Ozark, Paramount, Pepsi, Random House, Schlumberger, Siemens, Time Warner, US Steel,, TWA, Warburg Pincus, Viacom, Wheelabrator-Frye, and many others. He was closely involved with RH Macy’s many dealings, and called Carl Icahn a valuable client ("he always paid, but he was always the last one to pay").

Among his many accomplishments with Valuation Research, Norman was instrumental in securing an assignment to appraise the Booth Newspaper Chain when it was acquired by the Newhouse Interests. This acquisition was a key step in the events leading to the Newark Morning Ledger vs the U.S., a 1993 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court issued a definitive ruling regarding amortization of intangible assets, such as paid subscribers.

In later life, Norman served as Chairman of the Board of Assessment Review for the Town of Eastchester, as well as lending his expertise on the Rent Guidelines board for Westchester county. It was not unusual for his family to hear from friends and neighbors who had seen him on local television advocating and opining at community board meetings.

He was also on the Board of Genesis Hebrew Center, in Crestwood.

A voracious reader of history and biographies, Norman was also known to pen many letters and commentaries to newspapers, including The New York Times and The Jewish Daily Forward where many of his insights and opinions were shared. And he had a lot of opinions!

He was an opera and classical music aficionado and lover of Jazz with an extensive music collection. Throughout his life he loved taking photos of scenery, trips, family and flowers, and decorated many walls in their house with them.

On weekends he could be found gardening in the yard when he wasn’t joining Vivian in watching her beloved football games. Many family members remember him fondly in his role as pater familias, leading the extended family through the passover seders.

Despite advanced dementia, in the last years of his life, he still retained his sense of humor and happiness when surrounded by family.

He is fondly remembered and greatly missed.

He'll be buried at New Montefiore Cemetery on Wednesday February 17, at 1:45pm from Riverside Memorial Chapel in Mount Vernon.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Memories

Norman Zelvin

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Lewis Schiff

February 16, 2021

Diana, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss and your family's loss. I'm thinking of you today and look forward to hearing stories about your father.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY