Roskind was engineer, chess player, Riverdalian


David Roskind, Jr., a longtime Riverdale resident, died on Monday at the age of 91. By profession, he was a civil engineer, but he had a wide range of interests including chess, bridge and table tennis, and he excelled at all of them, his son Frank recalled.

Mr. Roskind was born in St. Louis, Mo. on April 9, 1924 and lived in a variety of locales around the country before enrolling at St. Louis University. When World War II broke out, he left school to work in the defense industry and never returned to St. Louis. 

Instead, he came to New York and enrolled in City College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and found a place to live in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. Not long afterwards he was married to Una Furlong, with whom he moved to Riverdale and had three sons, Frank, James and Michael.

His first engineering job was in the borough president’s office, where he was involved in a number of public works projects. From 1964 until his retirement, he put his engineering training to use for the Department of Water Supply. 

An avid member of the Apalachian Mountain Club, he hiked throughout New York State, taking a special interest in visiting all of the city’s Catskill Mountain reservoirs. His son Frank remembers going with him to see the village of Cannonsville — a ghost town waiting to be inundated with water when the west branch of the Delaware River was dammed in 1964 to create a 7 billion gallon reservoir.    

He had a hand in the development of the largest capital construction project in New York City history, Water Tunnel 3 — a project authorized in 1954 that is still underway today. He also worked on Water Tunnel 2 during the 1960s.

Locally, he was an active member of the Riverdale Temple, where he participated in the Men’s Club and performed in a number of Purim shpiels (re-enactments of the biblical story of the Jewish holiday of Purim.) 

A ranked table tennis player on the St. Louis University team, he continued to play competitively into his senior years. At City College, he was a member of the nationally-ranked chess team and he was Assistant Postal Chess Editor at Chess Review magazine.

He shared his knowledge of chess and bridge with his neighbors, teaching classes at the Riverdale Community Center. 

He is survived by his wife and his son, Frank, an economist with the Federal Railroad Administration, and daughter-in-law Kathleen and their children, Kathleen, David Lloyd and Patrick Drew.

Also, James Roskind — an executive at Google — and his wife, Melinda, and their children, Brianna and Dylan.

Also,  Michael Roskind — a communications expert with the Department of Homeland Security — and his wife, Laurie, and their children, Trevor, a midshipman at the Naval Academy,  and Christopher. 

He is predeceased by his granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth.

The family will be receiving well-wishers at the Riverdale on Hudson Funeral Home, 6110 Riverdale Ave., from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 and on Saturday morning prior to interment at Mt. Hope Cemetery. The funeral will be at the Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Ave., at 11 a.m. on Friday.