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Veteran real estate figure Burt Hollenbeck dead at 88


Burton George Hollenbeck, Sr., a veteran of the New York real estate industry and founder of The Hollenbeck Company, died on August 28 at the age of 88.

A son of the Greatest Generation, Burt was born on August 3, 1927 in Jersey City, N.J. to Joseph and Edna Hollenbeck. He was the younger of two sons, with a brother Ralph, now deceased.

At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in the North Atlantic during WWII. Following his military service, Burt attended Seton Hall University, working full time and attending college in the evening to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

He married Mildred Clohessy on December 16, 1950. They settled in Metuchen, NJ and he devoted the next 65 years of his life to loving and providing for his family. He and his beloved wife enjoyed decades of family gatherings at their home in Metuchen, celebrating family events and special occasions with exuberance and unabashed delight.

For more than 40 years, Burt was a prominent figure in commercial real estate brokerage in the New York City. Before entering the commercial real estate field, he worked for Dunn & Bradstreet for five years as a credit investigator.

In 1957, he moved on to work for Helmsley-Spear in commercial rentals in the downtown area. In 1960 at the age of 33, having confidence that Wall Street and the downtown market were in increasing need of revitalization, he started his own commercial real estate firm, The Hollenbeck Company.

His decision was influenced, in part, by the advent of the World Trade Center and Battery Park Houses ( later to become Battery Park City) proposals in the early 1960’s.

Battery Park City circa 1960
Battery Park City circa 1960

During a long and distinguished career, Burt served as the principal and/or executive officer of several prominent real estate brokerage firms including Cross & Brown Company and Helmsley-Noyes Company, Inc.

His notable accomplishments included being named Young Man of the Year in New York Real Estate, and serving as Chairman of the Young Men’s and Women’s Real Estate Association of New York, Governor of the Real Estate Board of New York, Chairman of the Brokerage Division of the Real Estate Board of New York, Governor of the Wall Street Club, Director Emeritus of the Bankers Federal Savings, and Governor of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association.

Upon retirement, Burt served on the vestry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Metuchen, New Jersey and volunteered with his wife, Mildred, for Meals-on-Wheels. He was a Master Mason of the Mount Zion Lodge in NJ. From his service in the Navy, he acquired a love of the sea and he spent decades boating the length of the eastern seaboard.

He and his bwife traveled extensively and hosted numerous family gatherings at their home, in the Caribbean and on Cape Cod. In recent years, Burt  devoted his life to caring for Mildred, who has suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease since 2002.

Burt is survived by his wife,  sons Burton Jr. and Kenneth, their respective spouses, Elizabeth and Lisa, daughter Lynn, and her husband, David Breindel, five grandsons: Zachary and Damon Hollenbeck and Daniel, Jeremy, and Alex Breindel, a cousin Joy Jekelis, her husband, Al, their sons Daniel and Matthew, and 2 nephews: Christopher and Jonathan Hollenbeck.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Metuchen, New Jersey on Saturday, September 12, at 11 a.m.

A reception at the church will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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