To the Editor,
Eliot Tozer, longtime resident of Tappan, died last week at the age of 95. As Deputy Supervisor of Orangetown from 1996-2009, he chaired the Orangetown Labor-Management Committee, designed to resolve disputes between town employees and management. More than anyone else involved in that committee over the years, Eliot enjoyed the full respect and affection of employees and management alike. More often than not, his calm presence and sincere desire and ability to avoid controversy resulted in a positive resolution of disputes.
Despite a life of great accomplishment – he served in the Navy in World War II, was one of the founders of the Hickory Hill Cooperative, where he and his neighbors literally built that special community by hand and then created rules for running it, and had a long and a distinguished career as a writer and editor – he never boasted and never talked at length about himself. But he also had a strong sense of morality and a firm set of principles. His biting letters to the editor – often communicated in rhyme – called to task anyone in any political party who he felt was letting his community down or hurting its people. He touched many lives during his long life, but I consider myself luckier than most.
From the time I named him my first and only Deputy Supervisor until very recently, he and I would speak nearly every day about town government, life and the world. I treasured those conversations. He leaves behind a large family – including Tappan residents Raleigh and Cathy Tozer and Joel and Mary Ann Tozer – who share his love of country, community and the shared values of equality, learning, music and community service. His unique qualities will live on in them. Those who knew him and remain were fortunate to have been a part of his long and accomplished journey.
The writer was Orangetown Supervisor, 1996-2009