Melvin Poons, a 62-year resident of Great Neck and former Commissioner of Great Neck's Cub Scouts, died of complications from pneumonia on New Year's Day. Mr. Poons and his late wife, Esme, were married in Kobe, Japan in 1936. They moved to Great Neck in 1942 with their two young sons, Lawrence and Ronald. In 1965 Melvin relocated his commodities business, Poons Company Inc., from Wall Street to Great Neck. He and his son Ron worked from their office at 45 North Station Plaza for 36 years. Mr. Poons could often be seen in town enjoying lunch with friends and he always loved to stroll through town and soak up the beauty of Great Neck.
Mr. Poons was frequently heard bragging about his two children, Larry the artist, and Ron the volunteer fire chief. He was especially proud of Ron's community service because it was part of who Mr. Poons was. His role as Commissioner of all the Cub Scout troops in Great Neck was also a voluntary position. He was a regular in the Memorial Day Parade; proudly marching with his troops as both a Scout Commissioner and a resident of the town he so loved.
Poons traveled the world for both business and pleasure. His Japanese influences were obvious to anyone who entered his home or walked through his yard. The sprawling gardens with running waterfalls and fish-filled ponds were a tribute to his home across the ocean.
In addition to his son Larry and daughter-in-law, Paula, Mr. Poons is also survived by his other son, Ron and daughter-in-law, Kitty, and their three daughters, Debbie, Chrissie and Cathi. The true legacy of Melvin Poons is his seven great-grandchildren who loved him and miss their "Pops" dearly.
Alice Drexler, 74, a resident of Great Neck since 1966, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Jan. 8, 2004. She was visiting the family in Potomac, MD, at the time of her death.
Alice Drexler (nee Gelband) was born in Brooklyn in 1929. She graduated from City College of NY in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She then worked for a Wall Street securities firm for some 10 years before starting a family. The Drexler family moved from Manhattan to Great Neck in 1966. Over the years, Alice was a class mother, a PTA officer and a member of several school district committees. She was always eager to help those who were going through difficult times. During the 1970s, she volunteered her services at Long Island Jewish Hillside Medical Center. Beginning in the 1980s, she helped low-income individuals prepare their tax returns as a volunteer with the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. In recent years, she helped coordinate blood drives at the Great Neck Synagogue. She was a past president of the Bay chapter of B'nai B'rith, and in recent years, she helped an older friend run a Hadassah second-hand store in Great Neck.
Wife of the late Armand Drexler, she is survived by her son Kenneth, his wife Joy, and grandchildren Mia and Adam of Potomac, MD; her daughter, Susan of New York, NY; her brother Joseph Gelband of Larchmont, NY; and her sister, Vicki Gelband, who resides overseas.