Gilman was “an additional father to me,” says former press secretary

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Three legendary Hudson Valley congressmen
in this
1977 photo: Benjamin Gilman (left), Hamilton Fish, Sr.
and Hamilton Fish, Jr. Gilman died over the weekend
at age 94.

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – Newburgh Town Clerk Andrew Zarutskie worked
for Congressman Benjamin Gilman for 28 of his 30 years in Washington,
most of them as his press secretary. “I feel like for the third
time in my life, I lost a parent. He was like an additional father to
me, Zarutskie said.

“He was the most brilliant man I ever knew,” Zarutskie he
told Mid-Hudson News on Monday, reflecting on his mentor and friend. “He
was a phenomenal human being; a very rare human being,” the former
employee said. “I’ve never known anyone like him and I doubt
I ever will again.”

Zarutskie remembered how Gilman was able to juggle worldwide, national
and local issues.

“He accomplished a lot on the international stage, yet the next
morning he would be in a diner in Middletown talking to constituents and
greeting his town’s people. He became an internationally recognized
world leader while at the same time, being the hometown boy from Middletown,”
Zarutskie said. “It was fascinating the way he accomplished that.”
A funeral service for Gilman, who died on Saturday at age 94, will be
held tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10 followed by burial at West Point
Cemetery.