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Obituary: Samuel Schiff

Samuel Schiff passed peacefully in his sleep on July 11 in Catonsville, Maryland at the age of 93. Sam was a long term residence of Soundview Drive, Port Washington, for over 55 years. He is survived by his loving wife Ursula of 70 years and by his children; son, Dennis, daughter, Diane and son-in-law Bob Kramer. 


Sam was born on May 3, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York.  He attended PS 54, in Brooklyn, showed early school ability, and skipped three grades. In those days, children who showed school talent were allowed to skip grades. He went to Boys High School, Brooklyn (today it is Boys & Girls High School). On graduation, he applied for and was accepted at City College of New York, NYC, and a tuition free State University for able students.  He traveled by subway to uptown CCNY, a 2 hour daily journey. “He used to say the subway was his campus”; he managed to do much homework while traveling. He received a B.S. degree at CCNY and entered military service for World War II in 1942. 


Sam married Ursula while in the service before being sent overseas into the European Theatre of operations.  He served in England, France (Normandy), Belgium and Germany. He was an instructor for American soldiers and also served as a French language interpreter for troops preparing for the invasion on D-Day. While in France, he was sent to attend a special Language Institute at the University of Nancy. He was selected as 2nd best student of class on graduation. 


He was discharged from service on Dec. 6th 1945, and moved with his wife into small walkup apartment.  He h eld odd jobs in New York City, including a short stint at the U.S Postal Service, and then decided to take advantage of G.I. Bill of Rights. He enrolled at New York University to pursue courses leading to teacher certification. Sam taught in the New York City public schools for a short period of time, followed by a highly rewarding position at a Junior High School, PS 65, the equivalent of today’s middle school.  The school was located on the lower East Side of Manhattan in a multicultural residential area.  He took part in a successful experimental program under the leadership of New York University’s School of Education. 


After three years at PS 65, Sam was accepted at the highly reputable Great Neck Public Schools. He worked as an English teacher and Reading Specialist. He remained at the same school in Great Neck for 33 years, from 1953 to 1986.  His daughter Diane, and her husband Bob Kramer brought three wonderful children into the world – Daria, Sonya, and Annie. His son, Dennis, is the parent of two children, Aaron and Brittney. Sam was a fine father and Grandpa, helping to raise the children with great early reading habits and setting a fine educational climate throughout their lives. Four great grandchildren, Trev, Bri, Connor and Aubrey Elizabeth complete the family picture. Sam thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his family, watching sports, reading and researching at the Port Washington Public Library. The family has requested in lieu of flowers a donation go to the Port Washington Library Foundation.


The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.

To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.

At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.

The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also.  Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.


The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.

Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”

Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it  paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”

Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.


Park District Swim

Saturday, Dec. 7

Board of Education Meeting

Monday, Dec. 9

Peter Max Exhibit Presentation

Tuesday, December 10


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