Gerard L. DeFina, a longtime educator in the Garden City schools, passed away at age 73 on April 12, 2012 in Delaware. A beloved teacher for the 34 years he worked here, Jerry was constantly involved in creative projects: he was a pioneer in open education and helped design and teach in the “Mod Quad” at Stewart School, which was modeled on the schools he had studied about while in England in conjunction with Oxford University. Later, he helped found the Gifted and Talented program at Stewart, which he taught in for many years, with both programs emphasizing independent as well as group study. He and Frank DeMonaco were also known for their annual musical productions involving the entire graduating class of Stewart School. After an 11-year tenure at Stewart, he moved to the middle school, where he taught collaboratively in various units, finally returning to Stewart in his last year, where a retirement tribute was held in his honor. Many former students returned to surprise him with reprises from Stewart shows they had performed in under his direction. (Since his shows had become such a long-standing tradition, after his retirement he was invited back to continue his yearly productions at both Stewart and Stratford schools).
Mason Manning Los Kamp, 85, of Garden City, passed away at his house from natural causes on April 10, 2012, surrounded by his loving family.
Mason was born Oct. 25, 1926 in Brooklyn to Florence Gertrude Buchner Los Kamp and Perry Valentine Los Kamp. He grew up in St. Albans, Queens, and graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in January 1945. Mason married Carolyn Mary Warner on June 14, 1952. He began a 55-year career as a furniture sales representative with his father with Teepee-Whitney Company and continued until his retirement in 2004. Mason resided in Garden City for 56 years. He was part of four generations to live in town. His hobbies were gardening, fishing and antiques and collectibles. He was a life member of the Garden City Historical Society.
Anthony A. Albanese, the respected real estate developer who co-founded the Albanese Organization and was its chairman emeritus, passed away on Feb. 14, 2012 at the age of 82.
Recognized for his vision, commitment and integrity, Mr. Albanese always viewed real estate development as a vehicle for improving the communities in which the firm worked. He summarized this approach when asked about his work, saying, “In all our projects we want the building to be a positive addition to the community, strengthening the fabric of the neighborhood.”
Olympia “Vicki” Gianelli, 92, formerly of Locust Valley and Garden City, died on Dec 9, 2011. Born in Bronx, NY, she was raised in Sea Cliff. She graduated with a B.A. from Adelphi College in 1940. She married Alfred Gianelli, who predeceased her in 1986, and they raised four daughters in Garden City. Olympia had a long career in education and taught kindergarten at Portledge School in Locust Valley for 20 years. She “retired” to Montclair, NJ, and became director of the Watchung Cooperative Preschool in Montclair. She went on to supervise student teachers at Montclair State University and tutor at Northeast Elementary School, also in Montclair. She is survived by her four daughters, Beatrice Gianelli, Barbara Ritter, Diane Roehm and Deborah Gianelli; her grandchildren, Scott and Geoffrey Roehm and Ashley and Andrea Ritter; her sisters, Helen Benson and Olga Stillman, and her brothers, Jerome and Joseph Vittoria. Her sister, Marie Young, predeceased her in 1998.
Ross Fleisig (Oct.12, 1921 – Dec. 28, 2011), an aerospace engineer for more than 55 years and scientist at three aircraft and spacecraft companies, died in Binghamton, NY, at age 90.
Mr. Fleisig was born in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. He lived in Garden City for nearly 50 years before moving to Binghamton, NY. Mr. Fleisig received a bachelor of aeronautical engineering and a master of science in applied mechanics, both from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. After graduating in 1942, he was employed as a senior aerodynamacist by Chance Vought Aircraft in Stratford, CT, and Dallas, TX, where he contributed to the design of U.S. Navy ﬁghter and bomber aircraft, and guided missiles employed during WWII. In 1950, he joined Sperry Gyroscope Company in Great Neck as a project engineer and was promoted to engineering Section head. Mr. Fleisig supervised technical personnel in missile guidance and control systems, helicopter ﬂight control and lunar spacecraft navigation development ﬁelds.
John C. (Jack) Hayes, age 73, formerly of Garden City and Glen Cove, passed away on Oct. 13, 2011 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Jack began a career in the New York Army National Guard soon after he graduated from high school. Assigned to the Special Forces battalion as a Green Beret, he was the only New York State Army National Guardsman assigned both a helicopter pilot and airborne jump status simultaneously during this time. After retiring from the military Jack was one of the first employees to be hired to work for Federal Express in Binghamton, NY.
Louise Hayes, of Garden City, passed away peacefully at home, Aug. 28, 2011. She was 91 years old. Wife of the late James Hayes. Mother of Susan, Nancy and Janice Davis. Grandmother of Jacquelyn and Alison Davis. Sister of Leonard and John Leaman. Louse was active in the many bridge groups in Garden City. She was an excellent bridge player. Also, Louise enjoyed travel, skiing and golf. She frequented many of the local restaurants. Arrangements were made by Fairchild Chapel, Garden City. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anne’s RC Church. Interment at Holy Rood Cemetery.
Herbert J. Blauert, P.C.C., a longtime resident of Garden City, died peacefully on Aug. 14, 2011. Herb was married to Elizabeth , who predeceased him, and was currently married to Marilyn Schmachtenberg of Merrick. Herb is survived by his daughter Michelle and grandson Michael.
Herb served in combat in Europe during WWII with a 155 N.M. artillery unit. He joined the American Legion and served as a Nassau County commander and a post commander of American Legion William Bradford Turner Post #365 of Garden City over a 36-year membership. As an executive member he undertook the administration of Post #265 Sutcliff Memorial Scholarship Fund which provides a four-year scholarship to a selected Garden City High School senior to Hofstra University. Herb also administrated the review and selection of one or more Garden City juniors to attend Boy’s State, a fully post-funded week’s participation in government study. (Note: Former President Clinton was a Boy’s Stater.)
Sr. Patricia McNamara, S.N.D., died on Dec. 31, 2010. Loving sister of Vincent McNamara. Also survived by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Interment Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Development Program, 1531 Greenspring Valley Rd., Stevenson, MD 21153. Funeral home: www.ruckfuneralhomes.com.
Elmont native and Garden City resident, Paul J. Muscarella, a respected local attorney, died Oct. 11, 2010 of a malignant brain tumor. He was 47.
Best defined by his love of family, community and tradition, Paul is survived by his wife, Lori, and their four children, Jenna 15, Natalie 14, Matthew 12 and Diana 8.
Paul grew up surrounded by family and all the traditions of his Italian heritage. He was the second youngest of seven children by former Hempstead Town Councilman Joseph P. Muscarella and former Hempstead Commissioner for Senior Enrichment Cecelia Nizza. Following the death of his dad when Paul was still young and the remarriage of his mom years later to Matthew G. Nizza the family grew to include his three stepsisters, Claudia, Lisa, and Jeanine.
Shortly after graduating Sewanhaka High School, Paul appeared on Family Feud with four of his brothers, Vincent, Ignatius, Thomas and Michael (the fifth brother, Joseph, and his only sister, Beatrice, had to settle for cheering from the studio audience and decades of good-natured teasing since the five appearing brothers lost).
In 1988 Paul graduated St. John’s University School of Law but was uncertain of his future in the law. Any self-doubt ended, however, after a brief internship in the chambers of NY Supreme Court Judge, Hon. James Brucia convinced him that he could try cases as well as the attorneys he was able to observe each day in court. Paul promptly found a job as a trial attorney for Aetna Casualty Insurance and was defending all aspects of negligence litigation by December of that same year.
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