Robert A. Amato, a respected industry leader in the eye-care market, died on Sept. 19 at the age of 80 following a stroke, which led to a coma from which he never recovered. He was a longtime resident of Jericho Lane in East Hampton.
Mr. Amato was born in Corona, Queens, on June 17, 1931, and worked in the family’s garage-door business in Maspeth while attending Bayside High School. Upon his return from service with the Air Force in Korea, he “chose a white-collar career,” his son, Robert S. Amato, wrote.
Mr. Amato worked at the General Binding Corporation and the Yellow Pages before landing a job at Jobson Publishing. When Frank Jobson, the founder, retired, Mr. Amato bought the company, which he grew from a 10-person liquor-industry publisher into a leader in the international health-care marketplace, with over 400 employees.
As a co-founder of the Vision Industry Council, now known as the Vision Council, he developed international Vision Expo shows, and was honored for his leadership with an award from the United Jewish Appeal. Mr. Amato retired in 2005, and then split his time between East Hampton, New York City, and Palm Beach, Fla.
He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Nancy Amato. Besides his son Robert, he leaves four other children, Janet Moffit, Ronald J. Amato, Roger C. Amato, and Jill Wilkins. Thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive as well.
A passionate believer in the transformative nature of education, Mr. Amato created the Robert and Nancy Amato Education Foundation to support college education for disadvantaged students.
A memorial service will be held at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home in Manhattan tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. A memorial service will be held by Vision Monday, a Web-based eye-care and eyewear community, at a date to be announced.
The family has suggested donations in Mr. Amato’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, woundedwarriorproject.org, or the Smile Train, smiletrain.org.