Michael Simon Zarin, who served for many years on the board of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, died on Jan. 9, 2022 on Long Island. He was 89.
Michael was born on March 24, 1932 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Herman and Rose Zarin. He attended the Brooklyn Community School, P.S. 208, and Midwood High School, where he was mayor of the student government. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1953 and from Columbia Law School and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
He married Renee Kroll in 1956, the same year he began a 28-year career at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As the chief of the Finance Div. in the Port Authority’s Law Dept., he was responsible for the development and financing of the World Trade Center. He also worked as an investment banker and as vice president and manager of the New York public finance office of Bank of America.
Mike and his family have been connected to the Outer Cape for generations. Growing up in the 1930s and ’40s, he spent summers with his aunts and uncles at their homes in Truro and Wellfleet. His fond memories of those years provided a solution to a vacation conundrum in 1960.
That summer, he and Renee took their daughter Cynthia to Lake George, where it rained incessantly. Mike suggested that they decamp to Wellfleet, where they rented a cottage near Chequessett Neck for $75 a week. From then on, Renee said this week, Wellfleet became the family’s summer home.
In subsequent years, they rented a cottage on Way 80, off Cove Road, from George and Mary Williams, who owned the liquor store on Main Street. Years later, Mike suggested that Way 80 be renamed Williams Way, and it was. In 1977, the Zarins bought the cottage, which they owned until last year.
When the WHAT theater was young, Renee said, performances were held in local churches and in tents. Mike brought his financial expertise to the theater’s board to help with fundraising, structuring investments, and zoning issues. He also chaired the theater’s investment committee.
Mike learned to sail from Malcolm Smith, who operated a boat rental service on the Wellfleet pier. He and Renee enjoyed many trips to Jeremy Point and Billingsgate in the decades that followed.
Mike taught all his grandchildren to swim at Indian Neck and Gull Pond. Daughter Dina recalled many family dinners at Moby Dick’s and ice cream treats at PJ’s.
In New York, Mike was prominent in both national and local affairs. He advised the Debt and Fiscal Policy Committee of the Government Finance Officers Assoc. and initiated its disclosure guidelines for municipal securities; he was arbitration panel chair for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and chairman of the Law Committee of the International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association.
Until his death, he was CEO of Wellfleet Investments LLC in Great Neck, N.Y. His articles on public finance and municipal bonds appeared in The Bond Buyer and other publications.
He was a trustee of the Great Neck School Board, where he helped raise the school district’s bond rating from BAA to AA. He was an honorary trustee of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, and he led a successful housing development initiative for seniors and people with disabilities.
He is missed by many Outer Cape friends.
Mike is survived by his wife, Renee, and sister, Eve; his three children, Cynthia, Dina and husband Ben, and Daniel; 10 grandchildren, Rose, Anna, Jack, Beasie, Hannah, Ariel, Sammy, Raquel, Carlos, and Kevin; and three great-grandchildren, Abigail, Henry, and Raphael.
Funeral services were held at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, N.Y.