Bernard Wasser, owner and operator of the Port Washington Music House for 39 years, died Aug. 19, 2005 at home after a lengthy illness.
As a scholarship student, he graduated from Juilliard School of Music. He received his masters degree from Columbia, and was a dissertation short of his Ph.D. from NYU. Mr. Wasser studied jazz saxophone with Walter Thomas, clarinet with Simion Bellison, then first chair with the NY Philharmonic and bassoon with William Polisi, also first chair with the NY Philharmonic at that time.
He played with the Buffalo Philharmonic under the direction of Joseph Kripps and the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowsky. For several years, he played with the members of the Chicago Symphony in the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. He "subbed" many shows on Broadway, playing the original Two by Two with Danny Kaye, and the full run of The Man from La Mancha. He can be heard on the original recording.
During earlier years, Mr. Wasser substituted for band directors in the music departments of Mineola and Great Neck Schools and freelanced as a bassoonist for many years while running The Port Washington Music House which in 2002 entered its 39th year. Along the way, he often played with the Goldman band, the Little Orchestra Society, the old LI Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Aeolius Woodwind Quintet. He conducted several Summer Stock musicals at the famous Priscilla Beach Theater, in Cape Cod.
It was because of Bernie's commitment to music education and his connections that the best musicians and instructors on Long Island were teaching at The Music House and still are at Wright Music, (the new ownership). Everyone knew of its great faculty.
Bern was extremely active in Rotary for many years acting as president for four separate terms, (one being a two year stint). He was truly looking forward to retiring and possibly accepting a district governorship. He was twice selected as an acting assistant district governor. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire in 2003 because of ill heath, which, of course, prevented him from enjoying even his beloved local Rotary. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and very active in the Gift of Life program.
His family was of the utmost importance to him. He was a loving husband, a diligent provider and a very talented musician with a great sense of humor. He loved to make every one laugh.
He fought a courageous battle with lung cancer and Alzheimer's disease, never loosing his wonderful sense of humor.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kandi; their children, Holli Ross Gibbons of Maplewood, NJ, Ronald B. Wasser of California, Debra Wasser Titus of New Hampshire and Edward M. Wasser also of California; grandchildren, Geoffrey K. Titus and Sarah Ruth Titus, Hannah Elizabeth Gibbons and Evan Nikolas Wasser. His sister, Marilyn Berkowitz and brother, Stanley Wasser both of Florida also survive him.
He will be missed.
Edith L. Smith, 102, died on Sept. 27, 2005 in Bryan, OH. She was an avid artist and collector. She is survived by a daughter Irene Johnson Rohrbaugh of Delray Beach, FL, and a son Robert Smith; grandson Dennis Johnson; and great-granddaughter Kirsten Akam of Port Washington. Arrangements were made by the Smith & Brown Funeral Home, Hicksville, OH.
Dr. Robert Sacks, 64, passed away after a long illness at the Daughters of Israel Nursing Home, West Orange, NJ, on Sept. 27, 2005. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, and lived in Clifton, NJ, and Port Washington before spending his final two and half years at the nursing home.
He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, in 1985 where he received his BS in engineering. He graduated medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1975 where he received his medical degree in psychiatry. He was in private practice in Manhasset and Port Washington for 10 years between 1980 and 1990. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the NY Medical Association and the LI Medical Association.
He is survived by his mother Dorothy Sacks of North Hills; two daughters, Anne Sacks of Port Washington and Victoria Sacks of Japan; and two sisters, Diane Miller of Port Washington and Joan Markovits of Carlsbad, CA.
Services were held at the Jewish Memorial Chapel, Clifton, NJ. Interment Menorah Cemetery, Clifton.
Ann Morrison, 80, of Palm Bay, FL, died on Sept. 29, 2005 at home. Born in Norfolk, VA, she had lived there for 20 years since moving from Port Washington. She belonged to the Protection Engine Company Ladies Auxiliary in Port Washington and was involved with the Great Palm Bay Senior Center. Ann is survived by her son John Morrison of St. Augustine, FL; four daughters, Mary Jan McGowan of Palm Bay, Margaret Salerno of Roslyn Heights, Virginia Leeds of Jacksonville, FL, and Barbara Crawford of Tyler, TX; two sisters, Virginia Mason of San Diego, CA, and Margaret Fitzpatrick of Tyler, TX; 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Arrangements were made by the Fountainhead Memorial Funeral Home, Palm Bay. Entombment Fountainhead Cemetery.