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Obituaries

Rita Ann Carmichael, 85, a long time Port Washington resident, died on Sept. 29, 2004. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Albert P. Carmichael and her son Peter James Carmichael. Rita was born Aug. 5, 1918 in Peekskill and grew up in Port Jervis, NY.

She graduated from LI Hospital College as a registered nurse in 1940, subsequently enlisting in 1942 and serving with the 79th General Hospital. Originally stationed in Ireland, she treated the first American paratroopers and other soldiers wounded on and after D-Day. Eventually, Rita was assigned along with the 79th to a hospital in Sissone, France near the front lines. She was discharged in 1945 with the rank of captain.

After marrying in 1949, she and her family moved to Port Washington in 1954. Returning to college, she obtained a master's degree from Hofstra University and worked for over 20 years as a school nurse/teacher in the Port Washington Public School system, retiring in 1983.

Rita was a nature-lover and avid reader who had the gift of storytelling and a tremendous sense of humor. Everyone will miss her smile and laughter. She also had little tolerance for pettiness and a healthy disregard for authority. Most of all, Rita was a devoted, unselfish and loving mother who always put her family before herself. She leaves a son, John, his wife Bland, and two grandchildren, Jack and Maria Carmichael of Richmond, VA, and a granddaughter, Tara Snow and her husband Keith, of NYC. Send donations to the Hemophilia Foundation, 116 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001.

Marjorie Elizabeth (Murray) O'Rourke, 1920 - 2004, loved her family, her faith and life. She brought joy to kin and strangers. Daughter of John and Catherine (Hagen) Murray of Queens, NY, she graduated Douglas College and Rutgers University. She was married to Frank O'Rourke, a NYC fireman and WWII vet, and Port Washington realtor. They retired to Florida in 1969. Marge moved to Amherst, MA, in 1999. Her husband, Frank and her brother, James Murray, preceded her in death. She is survived and loved by five children, three brothers, a sister, 10 grandchildren and over 50 nieces and nephews. Marge was a generous, loving person, a church and hospice volunteer, preschool teacher, scout leader, world traveler, dancer and golfer. In her memory make donations to your local hospice organization. A memorial service will be held in Florida in the spring. Arrangements were made by the Walker Funeral Home, Greenfield, MA.

Suzette Forgues Halasz, renowned cellist and wife of the first music director of the NYC Opera, Laszlo Halasz, died on Dec. 8, 2004 in Port Washington at the age of 82.

Suzette Forgues, a native of Montreal, Canada, started studying piano at age 3, giving her first performance six months later. As a 10-year-old, she commenced her study of the cello and within a year she was giving recitals at the Theatre des Petits Enfants and at the Ball de League de la Jeunesse Feminine in her home town. Later she appeared as principal cellist and soloist with M. Pelletier and the Concert Symphonique of Montreal, and as soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, among others.

She obtained a diploma from the Academy of Music of Quebec and won the Prix d'Europe in 1940.

Ms. Forgues studied with the famous cellist, Emanuel Feuermann from 1938 until 1942. She met Laszlo Halasz, the founder of the NYC Opera, in the mid 1940s while he was on tour in Canada. She subsequently joined the orchestra of the opera as its principal cellist under conductors Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein - one of the few women to serve in that capacity at the time. She performed with the NBC Orchestra as well.

Abandoning her own successful career as a performing artist, Suzette Forgues Halasz dedicated herself to her family and her husband's career. As she stated "If I weren't his wife, I would be his press agent."

In recent years she held a position as professor of cello at the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music and taught privately in her home community of Port Washington, until her death.

Widowed in 2001, Suzette Forgues Halasz is survived by a son, George, and a daughter, Suzanne.

A memorial will be held on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. at St. Jean the Baptiste on Lexington Ave. and 76th St.

Walter W. McKey, an avid sailor and retired teacher, died on Dec. 30, 2004. The cause was an embolism. He was 81 years old and lived in Port Washington.

He graduated from Brooklyn Tech and served in the US Navy during WWII. After an early career as a draftsman and designer for several construction and architectural firms in NYC, Mr. McKey worked as an architectural representative and sales engineer in the 1960s. He found his calling when he entered the field of teaching in 1968. Until his retirement in 1993, he taught a three-year Regents course in Architectural Drafting and Building Contruction at Sewanhaka Central High School in Floral Park.

Mr. McKey was married to Karen Eckert. He also leaves behind Bettina and Suzanne Eckert, Nicola and Robert Palumbo and their children Gabrielle and Emma. He has a daughter, Carol Harrington, and three grandchildren from a prior marriage. Two sons, David and Scott, predeceased him.

A memorial service will be held on Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR), 48 Shelter Rock Rd., Manhasset. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Make a Wish Foundation of Metro NY, Inc., 1111 Marcus Ave., Suite LL22, Lake Success, NY 11042 or Ferry Beach Park Association, 5 Morris Ave., Saco, ME 04072.


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