WWII Vet Dies At 100


Robert H. Haggerty died at the age of 100 in Vero Beach, FL. on Saturday, Oct. 12. Haggerty was a long time Manhasset resident, a WWII veteran and a prominent New York attorney.

Born on Feb. 25, 1919, in Brooklyn, Haggerty grew up in Queens. He was the third of four children of Helen Henry Haggerty and Daniel A. Haggerty, a Manhattan advertising executive and later, from the early 1930s on, a longtime leader in the Queens County Democratic Party who also served in the administration of New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner.

Haggerty attendeds Catholic grade school and high school in Queens and then graduated from Manhattan College in 1940. Upon graduation from Manhattan, Haggerty applied for and was selected to participate in the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Training Program in Quantico, VA. Upon graduation in 1941, Haggerty was stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA. He had achieved the rank of captain when in the first week of August 1942 he disembarked with elements of the 1st Marine Division on the Island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands to engage Japanese forces there in the first American offensive of WWII. In his time on Guadalcanal, from Aug. 7, 1942 to early December 1942, Haggerty was engaged in some of the most ferocious fighting of the entire Pacific War. He was one of famed Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller’s regimental commanders. Haggerty is prominently mentioned in the two leading biographies of Puller, Marine and Chesty. For his heroism on Guadalcanal Captain Haggerty was awarded the Silver Star.

It was in the South Pacific during the war that Haggerty met his future wife, U.S. Navy Nurse Lieutenant Mary O Neill. They were married on the island of Guam on Aug. 28, 1945, just 13 days after the war with Japan ended.

Upon his discharge from the Marines in 1946, by which time Haggerty had attained the rank of Major (one of the youngest in the Marine Corps at the time), he took a position as a sales executive with a New England based textile company. His real ambition though was to become a lawyer and in 1950 he entered Harvard Law School and graduated with the class of 1953.

Upon his graduation from Harvard, he joined the Manhattan law firm of former New York State Governor and two-time Republican Party nominee for president Thomas E. Dewey, where he spent almost all of his legal career becoming a partner at the firm and then the head of the firm’s real estate department. Later in his career he served as the village justice and then mayor of the Village of Plandome Manor.

Haggerty was a longtime member of Plandome Country Club as well as a long time parishioner of St. Mary’s Church.

He is survived by three children, Robert Jr. of Manhattan, Nancy Eaton of Milton, MA and Thomas of Los Angeles, CA, as well as by two grandchildren, Matthew Eaton of Milton, MA, and Cathryn Haggerty of Bay Shore. A fourth child, Daniel, predeceased Haggerty.

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