Banker Robert Van
Robert Van Buren of Palm Beach, died Wednesday, Aug. 20
2014 at Good Samaritan Medical Center. He was 89.
A descendant of President Martin Van Buren, he was born
April 23, 1925, in Plainfield, N.J., to Dorothy Way and
William Benjamin Van Buren II. He attended Plainfield
High School, where he was captain of the football team.
He was a veteran of WW II, having served in the U.S.
Mr. Van Buren and his wife, Ann Vanderveer Rapalje, were
married sixty years until her death in 2005.
Mr. Van Buren graduated from Washington & Lee University
in Lexington, Va., with a degree in business
administration. There, he established the Robert Van
Buren Scholarship Endowment.
He received his MBA from the Stern School of Business at
New York University, and he attended the Harvard
Business School 59th advanced management program.
Mr. Van Buren started his banking career at the Chemical
Bank in New York City, rising to executive vice
president. He moved to Midlantic Bank in New Jersey as
president, then chairman of the board.
He was appointed by then-Gov. Thomas Kean as a
commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, serving 15 years. He also served on the board of
directors of Champion Products, the Foster Wheeler
Corp., MGM Grand Corp. and Smith-Corona Corp.; and was
president of the board of The Muhlenberg Hospital in
Plainfield, where he and his wife established the Van
Buren Intensive Care Unit.
He was a board member of Pine Valley Golf Club, a member
of Baltusrol Golf Club, the Plainfield Country Club, the
University Club in New York City, and The Pacific Union
Club in San Francisco.
Mr. Van Buren retired to Palm Beach where he continued
his philanthropy through the Van Buren Family
Foundation. He supported the Society of the Four Arts
(Chairmanís Forum), the Preservation Foundation of Palm
Beach, the Palm Beach Civic Association and the Royal
He was a member of the Everglades Club and Club Colette.
Mr. Van Buren is survived by two daughters, Marcia Van
Buren-Brown and husband Thomas W. Brown of New York
City, and Cynthia Way Rapalje Van Buren of Palm Beach; a
son, Robert Scott Van Buren of North Beach, N.J.; a
brother, William Benjamin Van Buren III of Austin,
Texas; several nieces and nephews; and a companion,
Martha Janet Utterback of Palm Beach Gardens.
A memorial service will be held at a later time in Palm
Memorial donations may be made to The Royal Poinciana
Chapel, 60 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, Fl 33480, and
Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Ave., West Palm
Beach, Fl 33407.
Memorial Funeral Home in Fanwood, N.J., is in charge of