Robert Zaiman, the president of the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance in 1950, has died at the age of 95. Zaiman passed away on Thursday, Nov. 10.
Zaiman began working at the Hartford Courant as a high school senior at Weaver High. After serving in World War II, he returned to the Courant where he was a golf writer for the paper. He left the paper in 1955 to become vice president of a public relations agency in New York City. He also worked for United Aircraft, now United Technologies, in public relations and advertising.
Robert was born in Hartford on June 14, 1921, son of the late Louis and Bessie Zaiman and attended local schools. In his early teens he started work as an office boy at the Hartford Courant. In his final year at Weaver High School, he was hired full time as a sportswriter, the youngest in New England to hold such a position.
Bob enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1941 and served to the end of World War II, participating in combat campaigns at Guadalcanal, New Georgia and Guam.
He then returned to the Courant and through his coverage and columns on golf helped popularize the game in Connecticut. He was elected president of the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance in 1950. When the Korean Conflict broke out, Bob was dispatched by the Courant as special correspondent with the 43rd National Guard Division, following the unit for two years through the southern U.S. and eventually to Germany, writing a daily column on its activities. He returned to become a featured columnist, authoring a popular piece called The Human Touch while also covering local and national news events as a reporter.
He left the Courant in 1955 to become vice-president of Tyndall Associates, a New York public relations agency where he directed a number of national programs, including the introduction of Tropicana orange Juice.
The advent of the commercial jet age brought him back to Connecticut at the public relations department of United Aircraft (now United Technologies). Bob guided Pratt & Whitney Aircraft’s public relations and advertising endeavors as the company rose rapidly to world domination in commercial and military jet aviation.
Outside of the company, he played an important role in helping his close friend, Democrat William Cotter, earn a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the First District here in Connecticut. He acted as an advisor and confidant of the congressman until Cotter’s death in 1981.
Bob also served in the political campaigns of Connecticut Governor Ella Grasso and William O’Neill. He retired from United Technologies in 1978, devoting much of his time to the game of golf at Wethersfield Country Club.
Besides his parents, Bob was predeceased by his wife Kristi (Kurrikoff) Zaiman and brother John “Jack” Zaiman.