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Our Town's 'Mr. Maywood,' Len Rubin, 99, Remembered Fondly

Andrea Oberst Holmes with Len S. Rubin.
Andrea Oberst Holmes with Len S. Rubin. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Andrea Oberst Holmes
Len Rubin at the Betty Fetzer Maywood Historical Society's First Hall of Fame induction in January.
Len Rubin at the Betty Fetzer Maywood Historical Society's First Hall of Fame induction in January. Video Credit: Linda Bloom

MAYWOOD, N.J. -- To get a sense of what Len Rubin meant to Maywood, consider that news of his death -- at 99 years old -- instantly prompted wishes that a statue of him be erected on Pleasant Avenue or a street be renamed for him.

"The Len Rubin" has already been a staple of the Maywood Inn's Twin Door Tavern.

The legend has endured much longer.

It includes being a highly-ranked ping-player, competing against his grandson in tennis on his 91st birthday and playing no fewer than 100 golf courses in the tri-state area.

Co-publisher for 44 years of the "Our Town" weekly newspaper with his wife, Lilian, Len S. Rubin was "Mr. Maywood," said Andrea Oberst Holmes of Hackensack.

Holmes, who once lived across the street from the couple, said she "used to watch him put on his hat with [the] press card in the brim and ride down the street hurriedly in pursuit of the next hot tip for a story" nearly a half-century ago.

Just last week, Holmes went to see Rubin for advice on self-publishing a memoir.

"I met with Len and his daughter, Debbie, and husband and he was as helpful, humorous and sharp as I remembered," she said.

Rubin recently authored his fifth book and was still reading at least two a week while writing a bi-weekly column for the local Rotary's newsletter, "The Log," despite being blind in one eye -- "a fact he never knew until a doctor told him a short while ago," Holmes said.

Four months ago, he was one of 10 members of the inaugural class inducted into the Maywood Hall of Fame.

Rubin died at home Thursday. His daughter was with him, according to Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors .

Born in the Bronx, the University of North Carolina graduate met "Lil," a Brooklyn girl, at his brother’s wedding reception. They were married in June 1941.

Rubin served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a stateside photographer and writer during World War II, then worked for the Passaic Citizen. He and his wife moved to Maywood in 1948 and launched "Our Town" -- printed on gold-colored paper.

Len was the editor and publisher. "Lil" sold advertising and handled the finances.

"I remember with fondness my mom sending me down to pick up 'Our Town' newspaper," wrote Joe Scillieri. "Maywood has lost a legend."

"I moved to Maywood from the South Bronx in 1972 and the Our Town was the first paper I started reading after settling in," added Mark Torres. "I remember the bowling tournaments at Bowler City that the Our Town sponsored, and I got such a kick out of seeing my name in it when I bowled a high series.

"It's not going to be the same without him."

"Maywood lost a dear friend and a bright light in our community," said state Assembylman Tim Eustace, a former borough mayor. "Len was a true friend, a great Rotarian, an exemplary parent."

The Rubins, who added Rochelle Park to their coverage area, sold the business and retired together in 1992. "Lil" was 96 when she died in September 2014.

Len Rubin was a member of the Maywood Rotary Club for 67 years, served as its president in 1968 and was named the 1990 Rotarian of the Year. He also launched a decades-long annual Christmas toy collection for underprivileged children in Jersey City.

Besides exercising and playing sports into his 90s, he rooted for the Mets and Giants.

Rubin leaves a son, Ted, and daughter-in-law, Janis, of Glen Valley, CA, and daughter, Debbie Ames, and son-in-law, Jeff, of Broad Brook, CT, along with grandchildren Jessica, Abby and Daniel and great-grandchildren Harper and Rowan.

A funeral service was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Home , 402 Park Street, Hackensack. Visiting begins at 9:45 a.m. Interment will be in Beth El Cemetery, 735 Forest Ave, Paramus.

Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Maywood Rotary Kenya Project, 453 Golf Avenue,, Maywood, NJ, 07607.

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