Bobby Zarin, the second generation owner of the Lower East Side’s Zarin Fabrics, has lost a long battle with cancer.
“With the heaviest of hearts,” an announcement posted on Saturday read, “we are devastated to share the news that our beloved Bobby Zarin passed away peacefully today surrounded by family after a courageous battle with cancer. There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are. Thank you, everyone, for all your love and support during this difficult time.”
Bobby Zarin joined his father, Harry, in the store when he was still a kid, and then came to work at Zarin Fabrics full time after the Viet Nam War. He helped turn the business into one of the largest destinations for discount designer fabrics in New York City. In recent years, Zarin gained worldwide fame after his wife, Jill, began starring in the Real Housewives of New York City.
Zarin was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. After having his thyroid removed and receiving radioactive iodine treatment, Zarin though he was cured. But in 2015, the cancer had returned, having spread to his lungs. This past summer, he underwent brain surgery after a tumor was discovered. Ten days ago, Booby and Jill celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary.
In 2007, David Zarin took over management of the business from his dad. In a heartfelt Instagram post, he wrote, “You were taken from us too soon, but you fought your cancer with strength and grace. I learned a lot from you, but reflecting on your life has taught me one last lesson: Don’t take life too seriously and live it well. You certainly lived life to its fullest! You will be missed immensely.”
Bobby Zarin took part in festivities for the fabric store’s 80th anniversary in 2016. We wrote about Zarin’s history at the time, and recounted Bobby’s significant role in building the business over several decades.
Bobby Zarin was 71.