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895 Route 82
P.O. Box A
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
Phone: 845-221-2000
Fax: 845-227-1862
Steven Ziskind

Steven Daniel Ziskind

Monday, January 12th, 1998 - Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
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EAST FISHKILL - Steven Daniel Ziskind, 22, a lifelong area resident, died on May 27, 2020 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

Born in Nyack on January 12, 1998, he was the beloved son of Martin and Polly (Sandler) Ziskind. Steven was a 2016 graduate of John Jay High School. He was graduating from SUNY New Paltz this year with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. At New Paltz, he was actively involved in the SAE Baja Club, and had served an internship as a Siemen’s Healthineer. He had also started an internship this week at Atlantic Westchester in Bedford. Prior to attending SUNY New Paltz, he had attended SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica where he was a Graduate Senator in the Business Government Association.

Steven was the Assistant Manager at Speidell Supercars in Poughquag. During high school, he had also been employed in the Garden Department at Lowe’s in Poughkeepsie and earned all three forklift drivers licenses.

Steven was a dedicated volunteer with the Wiccopee Fire Company, where he was lovingly known as “Dora", because he wore a backpack. He loved motorcycles and cars, especially S197 Mustangs. His father let him drive a go kart at the age of 5. Then, together, they built their own. He clocked over 1000 miles drifting around their home. You can see him if you google "Martin Ziskind + gokart". By the age of 8, he was riding dirt bikes and grew through 4 models and a Quad. He enjoyed getting Big Air on whatever he rode. He also enjoyed snowboarding. Since middle school, Steven demonstrated his Dads advanced science projects to students, to interest them in STEM.

In addition to his parents, Steven is also survived by his brother, Adam Charles Ziskind; his grandparents, Bettylee Sandler, and Joan and Raymond Heinzelmann; and his uncles and aunt, Jeffrey Sandler and Richard and Maureen Ziskind.

Private services will be held at this time and a Celebration of Steven’s Life will be held in the future.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wiccopee Fire Company or the charity of your choice.

Please visit Steven’s Book of Memories at


We get a lot of kids who come through the doors of the firehouse wanting to join. Some come with preconceived notions of how easy it's going to be or what they know or who they know. They come in with their war stories already written. Some know it all but are untrainable. Some know nothing but they've got something we can work with. We get every combination of everything in between.

It's no secret that I can be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to dealing with a lot of those kids. I walk in after a long day at work and the last things I really want to hear about are high school problems or why we didn't get started because we didn't know where to start or somebody still like oking for the hose stretcher because another guy told them to. I can deal with people who can deal. I can't with the ones who can't.

But every so often we get a kid who walks through the door and you just know he's different. He's smart, but he doesn't think he's the smartest guy in the room. He's reserved - quiet even - but he's not afraid to get in and get dirty. You can give him a ration of shit and wait just a half a second before a bigger ration comes back your way, served with a smile.

Steven Ziskind was that kid. He walked through the door, quiet, unassuming. Round face. Dark hair. Kind eyes. And a backpack. And so, from the word go, he was "Dora." And he took that on with a smile.

I'm not going to try to convince you that Dora was out top fireman. That he made every call. That he was there every drill night. He wasn't. But that always seemed ok. Because if you knew Dora you knew there wasn't some bullshit excuse behind it. He actually had a lot of good things going on.

I've seen a lot of very kind things said about Steve all day. All of them true. Steve was kind.... he was. He was polite... he was. He was helpful and friendly. Just ask any of the older women in our firehouse. If they say so, you are.

But my favorite thing about Dora was that he was a smart kid. Smart enough to know what he knew and smart enough to know what he didn't. He was a sharp kid. He caught the stuff I threw his way and threw it right back. And when I gave him a look... that "watch it, kid" look... he'd give me back that Dora smile... and his eyes would disappear into half crescents.

My favorite thing to talk to Steve about was Steve. About school and his major. His plans. What he liked. We get a lot of people coming through who, to be frank, find us to be a last stop as they settle in to going nowhere. We don't get a lot of Engineers. Steve was the kind of kid that, as much as you loved him, you hoped that there'd be a day when you just wouldn't see h anymore. Not because you didn't want him around but because you just knew the universe had a much grander plan for him than hanging around with the likes of us. That one day you'd ask to no one in particular "where's Dora been" and they'd say "oh, I heard he went to grad school out of state" or "Dora got a job down in the city and moved out of town. " That's what you wanted. That's what he deserved.

We use the word "brotherhood" a lot in the fire service. That's valid. We go through a lot together. And, like family, we get along, we bond, we argue and fight and make up. But Steve was someone I would have been proud to call my own little brother. He's someone I'd like my own boys to be like.

But the thing about Dora was that he was humble. He didn't like to talk about Steve. I think he knew he had options a lot of the kids around him simply didn't have and he wasn't about to go showing off over it. I remember having a talk with him about it one night. I told him to never, ever be apologetic for his successes. Those were his. He earned them.

I don't know how things work in the big picture. Why things happen the way they do. I'm used to writing these things up for old men, who were old when I met them. Because that's how life is *supposed * to work. You look back at the good times and the things you learned from them. I guess we do the same thing now. Just stand back and figure out what we learned from Steve. Be kind. Smile. Learn what you can. Be humble. Stretch your legs and go do something greater .

Maybe that it. Maybe my gut was right all along That one day Steve just wouldn't be around and it was, in fact, because the Universe had some much greater plan for him that I simply don't understand right now. I hope that's it. I'd hoped that when it finally happened he'd drop by and see us now and then. Maybe in some way he still will.
But I'll miss you, kid.


College mourns passing of Steven Ziskind, student leader in mechanical engineering
Posted on May 28, 2020
It is with great sadness that the College shares news of the death of Steven Ziskind, an undergraduate student from Hopewell Junction, New York.

New York State Police reported that Steven, 22, died following a motor vehicle crash in Union Vale, New York, on May 27.

Steven was a mechanical engineering major who transferred from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 2018 and lived off campus. He was involved in the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the New Paltz Baja SAE club, and was a founding member of the new Atlas Motorsports club. He was also part of a multidisciplinary team of student entrepreneurs that placed in the spring 2020 School of Business App Competition.

His friends and fellow students in the New Paltz SAE Baja club shared the following:

“Throughout Steve’s tenure in SAE Baja, he proved himself to be caring, outgoing, exuded kindness and above all showed selflessness in all aspects of life, oftentimes putting others before himself. Steve was heavily involved in SAE Baja since its inception and his automotive expertise and knowledge were an invaluable asset to all engineers in the department. He quickly became a leader in the club, from his position of SA coordinator, on account of his ability to bring people together. Prior to news of his passing, it was anticipated that Steve would be notified of his future position of vice president of the SAE Baja club for the fall 2020 semester. While his skills and intellect will be a great loss to our team, the loss of his friendship is far greater.”

The New Paltz chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers also shared a tribute to Steven:

“On the morning of Thursday, May 28, 2020, devastating news had circulated throughout our community that one of our dear club members, Steven Ziskind, had tragically passed away. As part of a close-knit engineering department words cannot properly describe the emotions of losing one of our brothers. Steven was an involved member in our ASME events and was very active in the Baja SAE club. On a personal note, Steven always carried a big smile on his face and brought happiness and joy to everyone he encountered. Our condolences go out to Steven’s family and friends. Steven will be deeply missed but not forgotten.”

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    895 Route 82
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    A livestream will begin on this website at 1pm. Family & friends are invited to join in procession to the Wiccopee Fire House. You may gather in the funeral home parking lot at 1pm, but must remain in your vehicles until the procession has departed.


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Private Condolence

David Betolatti

Posted at 04:47am
Unfortunately it's not uncommon to receive an email from SUNY New Paltz regarding the death of a student. Of all the students I have read about in the emails Steven was the first one whose name I recognized. It really takes you back when you can put a face to a name. I never knew Steven personally but as a Mechanical Engineering student he was in many of my classes. He was always such a well mannered student and he got along great with everyone. Being able to read about what Steven had going on in his life impressed me. He was always keeping busy with the things he enjoyed. SUNY New Paltz will seem just a little emptier without Steven around.

Jeff Kubala

Posted at 08:52am
Marty and family, I am truly saddened to hear of this tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Jeff Kubala

Beven Nedumthakady

Posted at 08:06pm
My name is Beven Nedumthakady and I was an electrical engineering student at SUNY New Paltz and a friend of Steven's. When I transferred to SUNY New Paltz in 2018, I didn't know a single person. Steven was one of the earliest friends I made at the school, we met in SAE Baja and bonded over a mutual love of automobiles. As we progressed along our journey at New Paltz, we both rose to become board members for SAE Baja. In tense situations, Steven would listen to all voices and would often be a voice of reason. He respected everyone and was incredibly polite. Learning about Steven's death was beyond heartbreaking. It's a rare occasion that you meet a soul like his, he was intelligent, heartfelt, and above all selfless. Steven always put others before himself in all aspects of his life and was beloved by the engineering community at New Paltz. I'm going to deeply miss our conversations in the "war room" and all the memories we made. Rest in Peace bro, we're going to miss you. My most deepest heartfelt condolences to Steven's family, you are in my prayers.

Kimberly Anne Brandt

Posted at 03:01pm
Henry and I send our deepest sympathy to you. There is no more tragic loss than that of your child. May God comfort and help you through this grief. Prayers and warmest sympathy Marty, Polly and Adam. Kim and Henry Brandt

Doni Wulandana

Posted at 01:38pm
This is Doni Wulandana, Mechanical Engineering faculty at SUNY New Paltz. Steven attended my class last spring on Fluid Mechanics. I wish I could have spent more time with him as we only physically met for about 10 weeks. After the spring break, the pandemic has forced us to interact via internet. He was very attentive in the class and I could see his potential to grow as a good engineer. He is truly missed. My deepest condolences to the family. May God accept Steven in His house. Amen.

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